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Former Connecticut Prosecutor Pleads No Contest To Larceny And Forgery Charges

L. Mark Hurley, 48, of Trumbull, who was a prosecutor in the Milford courthouse, pleaded no contest to two charges of first-degree larceny and one count of forgery in Superior Court in Middletown. Hartford Courant, 08/06/2008

Normally, I don’t blog about Connecticut criminal law. I prefer to leave that to Gideon at A Public Defender. But I couldn’t resist this topic.

When I started reading the story I thought it was going to be just another story about a government official abusing the public trust – which it was. Then this jumped out at me:

Tolland State’s Attorney Matthew C. Gedansky said that Hurley frequently volunteered to handle the infraction docket and then would direct people to obtain a postal money order at a post office next door to the courthouse and leave it blank. Gedansky said Hurley would endorse the blank money orders to himself and make payments to his credit cards.

During law school, I interned in the State’s Attorneys Office in Meriden at G.A. 7.  I had the opportunity to work with some excellent prosecutors and I am very grateful to have had the experience.

One of my jobs as interns was to negotiate pleas on the infraction docket. I did this on anything from speeding tickets to someone playing their speakers too loud.  Interns frequently assisted States’ Attorneys in handling this dockets.

For a States’ Attorney to wind up handling the docket it was usually because they drew short straw or it was their turn in a rotation. Nobody volunteered to handle the infraction docket.

To use a baseball analogy, a prosecutor of over 20 years volunteering to handle the infraction docket is like Josh Beckett routinely begging Terry Francona to be the Red Sox batting practice pitcher, in a word: “strange”.

I’m surprised that Mr. Hurley’s eagerness to handle the docket didn’t raise some eye brows earlier than it did.