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William H. Bright Jr. appointed as chief judge of state Appellate Court

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Judge William H. Bright Jr. of Columbia has been appointed the next chief judge of the state Appellate Court.

Chief Justice Richard A. Robinson on Friday announced the appointment, which is effective Aug. 1, 2020.

Bright, who has served on the Appellate Court since November 2017, will replace Judge Alexandra D. DiPentima, who has served as chief judge of the Appellate Court since March 2010. DiPentima is taking senior status effective July 31, 2020, and will continue to hear Appellate Court cases on a part-time basis.

"It is impossible to fully capture the impact Judge DiPentima has had on the Appellate Court over the past decade," Robinson said in a news release. "She is a brilliant jurist and respected leader. She has an easygoing nature that puts people at ease immediately yet at the same time, she gets things done. It is no exaggeration to say that she exemplifies the qualities for which every judge should strive."

"So too does Judge Bright, and I am thrilled that he has accepted the position," Robinson added. "As is Judge DiPentima, he is universally respected, and I have great confidence in his ability to lead this court."

The Appellate Court is the state's first court of appeals of cases heard in Superior Court.

Former Gov. Dannel P. Malloy nominated Bright to the Appellate Court on Oct. 4, 2017, and he was sworn in on Nov. 1, 2017.  Prior to his appointment, Bright served as a judge of the Superior Court, having been nominated by then-Gov. M. Jodi Rell in January 2008. While a Superior Court judge, he served as the chief administrative judge for the civil division and as the administrative and presiding judge for the Tolland/Rockville Judicial District, where he heard civil, criminal and habeas corpus matters.

"It is truly an honor to be chosen by Chief Justice Robinson to serve as the next chief judge of the Appellate Court," Bright said. "I have the privilege of working every day with a collegial group of smart, hard-working and experienced judges, as well as with our talented and dedicated staff. I look forward to many years of continuing our work together for the people of Connecticut."

He added: "The idea of following Judge DiPentima as chief judge is somewhat daunting as she has set the gold standard for the job. She has very competently and astutely served as our chief judge for over a decade. We are all grateful for her tireless efforts on behalf of the court and Judicial Branch, and I will do my best to carry on her leadership qualities during my tenure."

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