Connecticut State Library with state seal

Memorials of Connecticut Judges and Attorneys
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports
volume 217, page(s) 813-814

Justice Santaniello

January 8, 1991

Before we begin to hear the cases scheduled to initiate this year's court calendar, I would like to take this opportunity to honor a very special event in the history of this court. On the first of January, not one but two distinguished members of this court marked an anniversary of unusual distinction: twenty-five years of service as members of the judiciary of this state. Senior Associate Justice Angelo G. Santaniello and Associate Justice David M. Shea: we salute your extraordinary record of exemplary achievement!

Although Justice Santaniello is, as a chronological matter, Justice Shea's junior, I will begin with Justice Santaniello's remarkable judicial record, because, on December 18, 1965, he was the first to be sworn into office. Starting with his appointment to the Circuit Court, as of January 1, 1966, Justice Santaniello rose rapidly through the ranks, to join the Common Pleas court and then the Superior Court, where he achieved a statewide reputation as one of the most respected triers of major civil cases, and a consummate advocate and practitioner of pretrial settlements. During his tenure on the Superior Court, he served both as the administrative judge for New London, and as chief administrative judge for the entire civil division. Then, six years ago, we welcomed him as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.

As a distinguished member of this court, Justice Santaniello has written some eighty majority opinions, and a few concurrences and dissents. Among his most celebrated opinions are State v. Graham, in which this court agreed to abandon the common law rule prohibiting a party from impeaching his own witnesses, and Daily v. New Britain Machine Co., interpreting the open courts provision of our state constitution. In one of his rare dissents, Petyan v. Ellis, he expressed his serious concern about the downside risks associated with affording judicial immunity to employers contesting unemployment compensation claims. During his full-time service on this court, Justice Santaniello undertook considerable responsibilities for our administrative needs, both in Hartford and for the court sessions held elsewhere throughout the state.

Although Justice Santaniello, for reasons of health, took senior status in April, 1987, he continues conscientiously to sit with this court and to write opinions for it. And so, while we continue to be the beneficiaries of his personal kindness, his wise counsel and his deep understanding of human nature, he is spared the long daily drive to and from New London.

From his New London base, Justice Santaniello has, however, been able to exercise once again his formidable talent as a settler of civil cases. Leading a revitalized appellate settlement program, Justice Santaniello has managed to achieve a record of settling, or narrowing the issues, for 50 percent of our appellate civil docket. His patient understanding of the legal and personal issues is matched only by his persistence in meeting personally and repeatedly with counsel and with their clients. The settlement program that he leads is the envy of my judicial counterparts around the country.....

Justice Santaniello and Justice Shea, on behalf of your colleagues on this court and throughout the Judicial Department, I congratulate you on your many achievements. We applaud your many years of dedicated service in the interests of justice for the people of the state of Connecticut. Best of all, we recognize how fortunate we are that we will continue to have the benefit of your judicial services for many years to come! I now declare this brief ceremony closed, and ask the sheriff to open court.