Son's DUI transfer raises inquiry
Case moved to father's court
DANIEL TEPFER firstname.lastname@example.org
Article Last Updated: 02/03/2007 12:33:43 AM EST
BRIDGEPORT — Court officials are investigating how the drunken driving case of a judge's son was transferred to his father's court in Derby.
"The judicial branch did contact us, and the material they sent us we are reviewing and will take appropriate action on," said Mark Dupuis, spokesman for the Chief State's Attorney's Office.
On Dec. 11, Joseph H. Sylvester Jr., 49, of Meadow Street in Ansonia, was arrested by Bridgeport police and charged with driving while intoxicated and reckless driving. He is the son of Superior Court Judge Joseph Sylvester. The case was pending in the Superior Court at Golden Hill Street when, sometime this week, it was transferred to Derby Superior Court, where Sylvester has been the long-time presiding judge, judicial branch officials confirmed.
Chief Court Administrator William J. Lavery, in a written statement, said he learned Thursday afternoon about the transfer and had the case moved back "to Bridgeport Court where it belongs." Lavery said he then contacted the state's attorneys in Bridgeport and Milford and later Chief State's Attorney Kevin Kane.
Judicial branch spokeswoman Melissa Farley said an investigation of the case transfer is under way. She would not comment on whether any action will be taken against the elder Sylvester.
Court sources said the case was transferred from Bridgeport to Derby at the request of a prosecutor in the Milford State's Attorney's Office, which oversees the prosecution of criminal cases in Derby.
"I have been made aware of this situation and it is being looked into," said Milford State's Attorney Kevin Lawlor.
Court officials said criminal cases are sometimes transferred from one jurisdiction to another if the defendant has other cases pending in the other jurisdiction. But a review of court records showed that Joseph H. Sylvester has no other pending cases.
Judge Joseph Sylvester, who was appointed to the Superior Court in 1978, was unavailable for comment Friday.