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New prosecutor on the job at Broad Street courthouse

By Karen Florin

Publication: The Day

Published October 01. 2012 4:00AM

New London - Sarah W. Bowman, who began work last week as an assistant state's attorney at the busy Geographical Area 10 courthouse on Broad Street, stood before a judge Friday with a stack of case files in front of her.

She worked through the pile calmly and steadily, calling defendants with charges ranging from breach of peace to drunken driving and weapons possession to present themselves to Judge John J. Nazzaro.

Later, during an interview in the office she shares with her new colleagues, Bowman, a native of the Baltimore area, said this was the job she had hoped for when she moved to southeastern Connecticut.

"It's a great office," she said. "All of the courthouse staff are friendly and welcoming. I love being in court and the fast-paced presentation of cases."

Bowman is filling a vacancy left by prosecutor Christa L. Baker, who transferred to the Norwich court known as GA21. Her experience as a prosecutor with the Baltimore County State's Attorney's Office has helped her ease into her new job.

"I think she's going to be great," said Michael E. Kennedy, the supervising prosecutor at GA10.

Bowman graduated from the University of Maryland Law School in 1999, then went to work as a judicial law clerk in the Baltimore County Circuit Court. She then worked for 6 ½ years with the Baltimore County State's Attorney's Office before her husband's position as a Coast Guard commander brought the family first to Massachusetts and then Connecticut. Russell Bowman is on the faculty at the Coast Guard Academy.

Bowman said she spent the past few years raising her two children, then began working as a per diem prosecutor in the Middlesex Superior Court. She worked under Kennedy's predecessor at GA10, Middlesex State's Attorney Peter A. McShane, before the New London job became available.

New London State's Attorney Michael L. Regan said more than 60 people applied for the position. Regan and Kennedy interviewed 15 to 20 applicants and referred five finalists to the Criminal Justice Commission, which conducted interviews before selecting Bowman.

"We selected her as one of our finalists because of her prior experience as a prosecutor in Baltimore County," Regan said. "She interviewed well. She's very personable and will have no problem handling the heavy caseload at GA10."

The starting salary for new prosecutors is in the mid-$60,000 a year range.

Regan said the district is still short two prosecutors. Kennedy's position was never filled when he was promoted to replace McShane. At the so-called "Part A" courthouse on Huntington Street, where major crimes are heard, a vacancy has existed since the May 2011 retirement of prosecutor John P. Gravalec-Pannone. Regan said he is hoping for authorization to fill Pannone's position soon in light of the increased workload caused by arrests in cold case murders.

k.florin@theday.com

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