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Judge, former state senator charged with DUI in Stonington

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Superior Court Judge and former state Sen. Steven Spellman of Noank was charged on Wednesday with driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol in Stonington, according to police.

Spellman, who is seated on the Superior Court in Danielson, was charged with driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol after he was seen leaving McQuade's Marketplace on Clara Drive about 6:12 p.m. and appeared to be intoxicated, according to Stonington Police Department Capt. Todd Olson.

Someone called police to report that they saw Spellman leave the marketplace and thought he was under the influence of alcohol. They said the judge "stumbled over a curb and staggered to the vehicle" after tossing a bottle into a garbage bin, according to police.

Officers responded to Clara Drive and located Spellman just down the road from the marketplace. He was taken into custody and brought to the Stonington Police Department, Olson said.

Spellman, 69, of 32 Cedar Lane has been seated on the court since 2014. His term runs through April 2022, according to the state, but state judges are required to retire at age 70. Spellman will turn 70 in June, according to police.

Prior to his nomination, he served as chief of staff and director of government affairs for the Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection from 1995 to 2014 and served in the Connecticut General Assembly from 1987 to 1992, representing the towns of Groton, Stonington, North Stonington, Ledyard, Voluntown and Griswold in the state Senate.

"I am embarrassed and deeply sorry for this incident," Spellman said Friday in a statement. "I am now seeking the assistance I need to address this problem."

Spellman will be on personal leave from the court, according to the Judicial Branch.

Spellman's brother, City of Groton Police Department Chief Mike Spellman spoke about his brother's arrest over the phone on Friday. 

"He's my brother, and I love him. However, what occurred is unacceptable and he's going to face consequences for his actions," Mike Spellman said. "It's an issue that has reoccurred, and many families struggle. No one is immune, and I hope we support everyone with an issue during these difficult times."

Judge Spellman is scheduled to appear in court in New London on Feb. 2, according to court records.

t.hartz@theday.com

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