Recently retired CT Superior Court Judge Thomas Moukowsher appeared on the Lisa Wexler Show, a live weekday radio show airing in Connecticut and Metro NY on WICC600 on September 28.
Moukawsher joined Wexler to discuss his book, The Common Flaw in American Courts, which outlines the reforms Moukawsher thinks are needed.
The publisher, Brandies University Press, wrote of Moukawsher’s book:
The Common Flaw seeks to rid the American lawsuit of needless complexity.
It argues that Americans are losing faith in their courts because, after long delays, they too often get rid of cases for technical reasons or force them to settle rather than deciding them, and because, when they do decide them, we can’t understand why.
The book proposes fifty changes from the filing of a complaint in court to the drafting of appellate decisions to replace the formalism that prevails in court with a kind of humanism—that decides cases promptly—more on the facts than the law—more for the parties than the lawyers—more for the consequences to the people and the public—and in words we can all understand.
The cost of the E-book is $34.95. For 5 cents more, you can get it in Cloth for $35.
The publisher, Brandeis University Press, is a scholarly publishing house supported by Brandeis University in Massachusetts.
Brandeis University is a private research university located in Waltham, Massachusetts. Named after Louis Brandeis, the first Jewish Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, the university was founded in 1948 and is nonsectarian, while its origins are rooted in the Jewish community.
In January 2023, Moukawsher, as judge of the Middletown Superior Court, disbarred former Hamden attorney Nickola Cunha.
The decision followed what Moukawsher deemed “empty and malicious claims” made by Cunha, including allegations against another judge, Gerard I. Adelman, saying he favored Jewish lawyers and therapists.
Cunha’s disbarment came while representing a party in a contentious divorce case, leaving the defendant, Karen Riordan, without an attorney.
Cunha has maintained her innocence, firing back at Judge Moukawsher, accusing him of judicial bias and abuse.
Connecticut stands out among other states in its process for disbarring attorneys. Unlike other states where a disciplinary board or committee decides to disbar an attorney, judges have the authority to make this decision right in court.
The case of Nickola Cunha has raised questions about this unique aspect of Connecticut’s legal system. Some argue this system puts too much power in the hands of individual judges, potentially leading to chilling attorneys from zealously representing their clients.
Moukawsher was born in 1962 in New London, Connecticut. He graduated from The Citadel military college in 1983 and later from the University of Connecticut School of Law in 1986, where he was affiliated with the Connecticut Law Review and Connecticut Moot Court Board.
Starting in the office of Connecticut Governor William A. O’Neill, a Democrat, Moukawsher transitioned to lobbying for the Connecticut Bankers Association during his law studies. He was elected to the Connecticut General Assembly in 1990 and served on Groton’s Town Council. Later, he shifted to federal-court fiduciary litigation under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act between 1991 and 2013.
Democratic Governor Dannel P. Malloy nominated Moukawsher in 2013 for the Connecticut Superior Court.
From 2015 to 2021, he was a complex civil litigation judge in Hartford. In September 2021, he was appointed presiding judge of the Regional Family Trial Docket.
Nickola Cunha an attorney disbarred by Judge Moukawsher
While appearing on Wexler’s show, Moukawsher didn’t mention Cunha by name. But he reportedly alluded to her referring to attorneys who lie about judges. Toward the end of the interview, he described his two years as a Regional Family Trial Docket judge presiding over family court cases.
Moukawsher said he told family court lawyers to call him directly instead of filing motions to schedule conferences.
Moukawsher repeatedly indicated that “family court cases are the worst!” adding that there’s a chapter in his book everyone should read.
Moukawsher’s website here.