Around New Haven: 2.26.10

Law enforcement officials accidentally cooperate

Yale, New Haven and Connecticut state police caught a burglary suspect early Thursday after chasing him through bushes and water. Just after midnight, New Haven police saw a man carrying a cash register outside Gloria’s Grocery on East Street near I-91. When officers approached the suspect, he fled and attempted to lose officers in nearby underbrush. State police officers arrived with canine units, but the suspect made it into a small inlet before they could catch him. When he emerged from the water a block away, an off-duty YPD officer, who was driving on I-91, spotted him. Police arrested the suspect and recovered the cash register.

—Colin Ross

Rell supports revisions to campaign finance law

Gov. M. Jodi Rell supported a proposal revising state campaign finance law in a letter to the state legislature Monday. The state’s landmark campaign finance law, the Citizen’s Election Program, was adopted in 2005 and took special interest money out of the election process. But recently a federal judge ruled portions of the law were unfair and invalidated them. The proposed revisions to the campaign finance program will hopefully dissipate the uncertainty that has surrounded the program since the court’s ruling, Rell said in a statement Monday.

—Yale Daily News

Blumenthal urges reform of state insurance rate approval process

State Attorney General Richard Blumenthal LAW ’73 said Thursday that the state’s health insurance rate approval process should be radically changed. Blumenthal proposed requiring public hearings for all rate increase requests insurers put forward and requiring that rates be “reasonable,” according to a statement Thursday. Currently, state law only requires that health insurance rates not be “excessive.” Joining Blumenthal in pushing reform were health care advocate Kevin Lembo and numerous legislative leaders.

—Yale Daily News

Man denied DNA test that might absolve him from murder

The state Supreme Court has denied a request by a man serving a 125-year sentence in prison for DNA tests that may prove his innocence. Thomas Marra Jr., who was convicted for killing 15-year-old Bridgeport resident Alex Palmieri in 1984, claimed that the boy is alive and living in Italy and asked that Palmieri’s brothers submit DNA samples to be compared to the victim’s remains. But the court said there is overwhelming evidence against Marra, which suggests that he beat and stuffed the teenager into a refrigerator that was dumped in Bridgeport Harbor. A sneaker and bones were discovered in the water two years later.

—Yale Daily News

Ricci attorney tries to throw out judge

The attorney who represented a group of 20 city firefighters in the U.S. Supreme Court case Ricci v. DeStefano, in which the court ruled that New Haven discriminated against whites in two 2003 firefighter promotions exams, has filed a request to remove the judge tasked to award her clients with reparations. Karen Torre filed a motion Tuesday against U.S. District Judge Janet Arterton, saying that because Arterton has a friendly relationship with David Rosen LAW ’69, who is pushing the court to rule whether the exams also discriminated against blacks, she appears to be harboring a bias. Arterton originally dismissed the Ricci case in 2006.

—Yale Daily News

Two workers cry foul over Middletown explosion

Two workers injured in a Feb. 7 power plant explosion in Middletown, Conn., filed a lawsuit this week claiming that safety protocols were not met. Six workers were killed and 20 were injured in the aftermath of the blast, the effects of which could be felt as far as New Haven. The workers, Glastonbury, Conn., resident Timothy Hilliker and Bolton, Conn., resident Harold Thoma, alleged in the lawsuit that O&G Industries and two other companies failed to contain the natural gas O&G was purging Feb. 7, allowing the gas to escape, ignite and cause the explosion.

—Yale Daily News

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