Committee Supreme Court nominee ok after questions about 1997 case



Gov. Ned Lamont’s pick for the state Supreme Court defended his handling of a 1997 murder case under questioning Monday by Judiciary Committee Democrats.

Before the committee unanimously approved his nomination, several lawmakers questioned Judge Joan Alexander about her role as prosecutor in the case of Corey Turner, who is serving a 60-year sentence for murder. Turner’s lawyer tried to derail Alexander’s nomination on Monday, accusing him of lying about a key piece of evidence in his client’s case.

“The key issue in the case was whether or not Corey was telling the truth about his alibi,” attorney Alex Taubes said.

At issue is a phone call Turner made from jail to Fonda Williams. Turner, who maintains his innocence in the case, said he was with Williams, his son’s mother, when the murder took place on August 11, 1995.

“I hope to get my freedom,” Turner, 48, said in a phone interview last week from the Cheshire Correctional Institution where he is incarcerated.

During the trial, Alexander told the jury that Turner tried to influence Williams’ testimony, telling her what to say and offering to pay her, during the phone call. Turner disputes Alexander’s account. The jury was never able to hear the appeal because Alexander objected to it being played into evidence at trial – a decision the judge in the case agreed with.

Taubes said the call was essential to help the jury ‘determine whether or not Mr Turner was telling the truth that he never tried to influence Ms Williams’ testimony, or whether he was lying like they did. were ultimately determined based on one-sided statements by then-State’s Attorney Alexander.

The charges brought tense moments to an otherwise routine review of judicial appointments. Alexander’s nomination must then be approved by the State House and Senate.

Addressing the charges against her on Monday, Alexander, 59, Cromwell, a trial and appellate judge for 22 years, said multiple appeals and reviews of Turner’s case over the years have determined that her allegations are not were unfounded.

“As a prosecutor and as a judge, I believe in a thorough review of a conviction and if a mistake has been made, it should be corrected,” Alexander said. “A total of 37 judges and 18 lawyers analyzed and reviewed his conviction. None found any errors.

The phone call was just one piece of evidence establishing Turner’s guilt, Alexander said. The victim, Woods, who was shot multiple times, told witnesses attending to him at the scene that it was Turner who shot him. He died in hospital the following day. Police said the shooting stemmed from a dispute over drug trafficking.

A jury of eight women and four men found Turner guilty of murder and assault. Her brother, Charles, also charged in the case, was found guilty as an accessory to murder.

At Stamford on Monday, Lamont defended his appointment of Alexander.

“We controlled Joan very well. Very strong reviews,” the governor said. “Judge at the Superior Court, then at the Court of Appeal. I spent quite a bit of time with her. She will be a great addition to the Supreme Court.

Hearst writer Paul Schott contributed to this story.

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