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Cool Justice
Thoughts While Shaving

By ANDY THIBAULT, Columnist
Law Tribune Newspapers
March 15, 2004

This week I pay my annual homage to former Boston Globe sports columnist Ernie Roberts, the progenitor of Thoughts While Shaving. While Roberts actually shaved and thought, I am doing less of both and enjoying it more.

Groton Shows Greenwich
Greenwich has been slow now and then to admit it is part of the state of Connecticut, especially in terms of access to public information. The town kept a lot of lawyers in business trying to deny access to its emergency service records. Then came the case that opened all of Connecticut's beaches to the masses. Now, Greenwich is trying to block public access to the town's computerized records.

Groton, meanwhile, is justifiably touting the launch of its geographic information system (GIS) online. See www.town.groton.ct.us

Many municipalities and agencies are using GIS systems as a means to deliver better service to the public. It's also cheaper, saving staff time. Items in such sites include aerial snapshots of neighborhoods, boundaries and watercourses.

Greenwich officials admit the information already is available on paper. But they cite security concerns. Somehow Groton, home of the U.S. Naval Submarine Base, overcame that security hurdle while still serving the public.

Good Luck, Iyaba
Iyaba Mandingo, the Stamford poet and artist facing deportation, gets his day in court on March 19. His wife and five children were expected to attend the hearing with him at U.S. District Court in Hartford.

As he prepared for court, Mandingo worked a 750-foot mural commissioned by the New Haven public schools.

Jailed on false charges last year, Mandingo spent seven weeks in the Hartford jail with a pedophile and a heroin addict. The government later admitted it had never delivered a hearing notice Mandingo was accused of ignoring. He had been arrested a few days after he gave a controversial poetry reading in Stamford.

Mandingo is seeking permanent residency, something he helped other members of his family from Antigua attain. His wife and children were born in the United States.

While at college in Iowa he was wrongly accused of a crime. His lawyer did not want him to go before a local jury, so he accepted a plea bargain. That item on his record has plagued his quest to gain permanent residency.

"The idea of America is beautiful," Mandingo said, "but no one in power has allowed it to grow."

The court could pay some restitution to Mandingo and make things right by apologizing.

Garber Pulls Out All Stops
Hiring Ross Garber as legal counsel has to be one of the decisions Gov. John Rowland is not second-guessing himself about. Garber has persuaded many who would like to burn Johnny at the stake that impeachment is a sticky process with significant hurdles.

My favorite part of Garber's submission to the Select Committee of Inquiry is probably irrelevant; nonetheless, it is entertaining. He said more than half the gubernatorial impeachments in American history were politically-motivated, notably the Tammany Hall political machine's orchestration of the removal of a New York governor. This makes me want to watch the film Gangs of New York again, and maybe even read the book by Herbert Asbury. It could be a primer for impeachment, Connecticut style.

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