Gov. Lamont's state Supreme Court pick advances despite questions

A 25-year-old murder case resurfaced on Monday as lawmakers questioned Gov. Ned Lamont's latest pick for the Connecticut Supreme Court. Despite the questions, a key legislative committee unanimously advanced Judge Joan Alexander's nomination.
"There are some concerns that have been brought before the committee," said state Sen. Gary Winfield (D-New Haven), the Judiciary Committee co-chair.
At issue? A Hartford murder case that Alexander prosecuted in 1997 before becoming a judge. A jury sentenced Corey Turner to 60 years in prison for shooting another man in the back.
A jailhouse phone call helped convict Turner. During closing arguments, Alexander suggested the defendant coached his girlfriend's testimony – and even bribed her.
"If you know that you have an alibi witness, do you wait until the week after the State's case is done to contact your witness and talk to her the night before she's going to testify to find out if everything is all set?", then-prosecutor Alexander told jurors. "Did he call her that night just to find out if everything was all set? Or did he call her that night to make sure his testimony matched with hers?
The call includes this exchange:
Turner: Eh—you talked to that prosecutor today, right?
Fonda Williams (Girlfriend): Yeah.
Turner: "You—You remember that it was the day after I got out of jail—that a distinct way of remembering?"
Williams: "The—the eleventh, right?
Turner: "Yeah I got out on the tenth—you know I came and seen you the day later."
Williams: That's what I told her – I was like he got out on the 10th and he came to see me on the 11th."
Turner: "Just make sure like around noontime you're down there. And I know this interfering with your work, and I know you need those hours in to pay your bills but baby daddy come home, you know everything going to be all right, I'm [going to] reimburse you for that there."
Jurors never heard the actual recording after Alexander objected. Turner's attorney believes the recording could have meant a different outcome – an argument multiple appeals courts have rejected, including the state Supreme Court.
"If the jury had heard that call ...they would have heard that Mr. Turner never fabricated his alibi," said Alex Taubes, Turner's attorney.
On Monday, Alexander reminded lawmakers the case rested on several witnesses, including the victim himself.
"That evidence includes the victim, Mr. Woods, who had been shot multiple times and was in the process of dying -- he died at the hospital -- saying that Mr. Turner shot me," Alexander said Monday.
Lamont says he picked the right judge.
"We vetted Joan very well," said Lamont. "Very strong reviews. Superior Court judge, then at the appeals court."
The full General Assembly is expected to confirm Alexander to the state Supreme Court later this week. At 59 years old, she could serve up to 11 years. Alexander would replace Justice Christine Keller, who hits the state's mandatory retirement age of 70 this fall.