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Judge & Attorney Biographies

O'Connell, Edward Y.

As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 205, page iii

Appointed to the Appellate Court October 1, 1987, to take effect October 1, 1987.


As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 243, page iii

Chief Judge [of the Appellate Court] effective September 1, 1997. 


As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 253, page iii

Retired March 12, 2000, under constitutional limitation as to age. 

O'Connor, James D.

As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 220, pages 935 - 936

1928 - 1991

The Honorable James D. O'Connor, of West Hartford, a judge of the Superior Court for nine years, passed away on November 11, 1991.

Born on June 17, 1928, Judge O'Connor was a graduate of Trinity College and the Georgetown University Law School. He served in the United States Navy during the Korean War. In 1961, after several years in private practice, he was appointed Assistant United States Attorney. He returned to private practice in 1963. In 1979, he was appointed the state's first chairman of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board. He was nominated and confirmed to be a judge of the Superior Court in 1982.

O'Donnell, Thomas J.

As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 204, pages 813 - 814

1914 - 1987

The Hon. Thomas J. O'Donnell, whose career as a jurist included six years as a judge of the Superior Court, died on April 16, 1987, at the age of 73.

Born on March 23, 1914, Judge O'Donnell was a lifelong resident of Bristol. He received his B.S. degree from Niagara University in 1936 and his J.D. degree from the University of Connecticut School of Law in 1939. He was admitted to the Connecticut bar in 1940.

He served as prosecutor of the City Court of Bristol from 1947 to 1949 and as corporation counsel for the city of Bristol from 1951 to 1952. He also was engaged in the private practice of law from 1947 until his appointment as a Judge of the Circuit Court in 1973. He joined the Court of Common Pleas in 1974 and became a judge of the Superior Court in 1978.

Judge O'Donnell became a senior judge in February, 1984, and a state trial referee in September of that year.

O'Neill, John

As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 89, pages 719 - 720

JOHN O’NEILL was born in Goshen, Connecticut, November 5th, 1841. He came to Waterbury when he was eight years old and lived there, except one year, until he died, August 7th, 1914.

He was a veteran of the Civil War, having enlisted in 1861. He entered the law office of Hon. John W. Webster in Waterbury in 1863, one of the prominent attorneys of Connecticut, and was admitted to the bar in 1866. Immediately thereafter he went to Oil City, Pennsylvania, where he remained one year. At the request of Mr. Webster he returned to Waterbury and the law firm of Webster and O'Neill was formed and continued from 1866 until Mr. Webster’s death in 1896.

The first case that Mr. O'Neill was engaged in, in the Supreme Court of Errors, was Ashburn v. Poulter, 35 Conn. 653 (1869) and his last case in that court was Waterbury v. Connecticut Railway and Lighting Company, 86 Conn. 180 (1912). The intermediate volumes will disclose case after case in which Mr. O’Neill was on one side or the other. About ten years ago he stood second at the bar of this State in the number of cases he tried in the Supreme Court of Errors.

He was forcible and persuasive in argument, and his adroitness in citing authorities on the instant won him many a case before court and jury. He was very kind to members of the bar, especially the younger lawyers. No matter how busy he was or how important the case he was engaged in, he would lay aside his work and give his time and attention to his brethren of the bar who sought his advice. He was an able lawyer, a good trier before court and jury and before the highest court in the State; prepared his cases thoroughly, and when the day of trial came was ready, and the lawyers opposed to him keenly realized the force, strength and resourcefulness of their worthy opponent. He was genial, warm-hearted, and always had a good word to say of his brother members of the bar. He loved the practice of the law. It was his life work and he gave his very best efforts in the interests of his clients. His passion for application seemed the working out of some native invincible force; every case in preparation enveloped and absorbed him. Through tireless industry and research he had acquired the art of instantly applying principles to facts, however intricate.

Mr. O'Neill in his early practice at the bar was Prosecuting Attorney in the City Court of Waterbury, a member of the General Assembly in 1889, and was the father of the bill establishing the inheritance tax law of Connecticut. In 1882 he was elected a member of the board of agents of the Bronson Public Library of Waterbury, and from 1892 until his death was president of that board. John O’Neill was the dean of the Waterbury Bar. He cherished the memory and traditions of the great and good in his profession.

On October 15th, 1867, Mr. O’Neill married Mary E. Fitzpatrick of Waterbury, Connecticut, who survives him. He leaves four children: Mrs. Thomas F. Garvan of Hartford, Connecticut, Susan C., John Joseph, both of Waterbury, and Frank B. of Woodbury. The three last named are members of the bar in the active practice of the law in the offices formerly occupied by their able and distinguished father.

*Prepared by William Kennedy., Esq., of the New Haven County bar.

Orton, Samuel D.

As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 13, appendix page 13

was admitted to the Bar, in the year 1830; having read law with the late Matthew Miner, Esq., of Woodbury, and with Perry Smith, Esq., of this place [New-Milford]. He began practice here, immediately after his admission.

Osborne, Thomas B.

As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 35, pages 603 - 605

THOMAS BURR OSBORNE died at his residence in New Haven on the 2d day of September, 1869, in his seventy-second year.

He was born in that part of Weston which is now Easton, in Fairfield County, July 8th, 1798. He graduated at Yale College in 1817; studied law with the late Seth P. Staples, Esq., and was admitted to the bar at New Haven in 1820. In the same year he commenced the practice of the law in Fairfield, (then and for many years after one of the shire towns of Fairfield County,) and continued to reside there until 1854, when he removed to New Haven. He was thus identified during the whole period of his professional practice with that brilliant era of the Fairfield County bar when Sherman, Bissell, Booth, Hawley, Dutton, and others scarcely less distinguished, were his associates, and among then he took a prominent position as a sound lawyer, an able advocate, and a man of the purist character and of spotless integrity. From the confidence reposed in his ability and character he was made the recipient of many public offices and trusts which withdrew him during a large part of his career from active labors as an advocate. He was appointed clerk of the Superior and County Courts of Fairfield County in 1826 and held that office until 1839. In 1836 he was sent to the legislature as representative from Fairfield. In 1839 he was elected to Congress and re-elected in 1841. In 1844 he represented his senatorial district in the legislature, and was in the same year appointed Judge of the County Court for Fairfield County, which office he held for several years. In 1850 he was again sent to the legislature from Fairfield. In 1855, (the year following his removal to New Haven,) he was appointed Professor of Law in the Yale College, and serve in that capacity with great fidelity and acceptance until, in consequence of advancing years, he found the duties of the station burdensome, when, in 1865 he resigned the office.

Judge Osborne was of rather a retiring disposition, averse to the public struggles and displays by which men generally achieve reputation, but on those occasions (and they were not few in his professional and political career,) when his powers were called into action, he evinced signal vigor and ability. As a judge his reputation, through necessarily loyal, was of the highest, and indeed his qualities of mind and disposition, while they peculiarly fitted him for the bench, also caused him to enjoy its duties far more than the active rivalries of the bar.

In his private and social life Judge Osborne was a model. A man of deep-seated affections he loved the quiet happiness of the domestic circle beyond all other enjoyments, and to his religious character he manifested the same profound but unobtrusive earnestness and devotion. He was married September 26, 1826, to Miss Elizabeth Huntington Dimon of Fairfield, who died August 19, 1851. Two children survive him-Arthur D. Osborne, now clerk of the Superior Court in New Haven county, and Mary Elizabeth, the wife of Hon. Henry B. Harrison, of the New Haven bar.

At the meeting of the New Haven County Bar held after Judge Osborne's death to take appropriate action in view of that event, the following remarks by Charles Ives, Esq., so felicitously express the estimate in which he was held by those who knew him best that they are here inserted.

"Judge Osborne was so fortunately situated that he was not under the necessity of mingling in those forensic strifes that so severely try the nerves, and ruffle and harass the spirit, and which at times, cannot but have a disturbing effect upon the temper. He was able to follow the law as a student, to learn and teach its philosophy; some of use are obliged to be its pack-horses. Thus pursuing the law as a science, his mind was enlarged and disciplined, and it was delightful to see in his old age how pure and calm and philosophic it rose, uncontaminated, above the grosser things of life. As I have met him from day to day, during the last twenty years, and heard him, with his keen, reflective, philosophic mind, discourse in regard to local, state and national affairs, the philosophy of life, man and his destiny, he has reminded me, more than any man I have ever known, of Socrates, whose delight it was to converse with young men in the streets and market-places, upon laws, politics, ethics, religion and other subjects of interest.

"I have know Judge Osborne during his residence in New Haven, a period of some fifteen years, and I think I can safely say that, during that time, so upright has been his life, so calm, so pure, so genial and lovable has he been in all his relations, that he dies without an enemy, and probably not leaving a man behind who has ever heard anything said to his discredit. It is a happy thing for a man to pass through the world and so fill up the measure of a long life, that he may lie down at last in the grave with the blessings of a whole community upon his memory."

*Prepared, at the request of the Reporter, by Henry T. Blake, Esq., of Bridgeport. 

O'Sullivan, Patrick B.

As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 136, page iii

Appointed to Supreme Court June 7, 1949, to take effect March 10, 1950. 


As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 144, page iii

Appointed Chief Justice April 9, 1957, to take effect upon the retirement of Hon. Ernest A. Inglis; retired August 11, 1957, under constitutional limitation as to age. 

O'Sullivan, Thomas J.

As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 237, page 944

The Honorable Thomas J. O'Sullivan, of Orange, died on June 3, 1996, at the age of eighty-two. Judge O'Sullivan was appointed to the Court of Common Pleas in 1967 and was elevated to the Superior Court in 1969. He took senior judge status in 1979 and reached the mandatory retirement age of seventy in 1984.

After receiving his B.A. from Yale College in 1935, Judge O'Sullivan received his L.L.B. from the Yale University School of Law in 1938 and was admitted to the Connecticut bar that same year.

Judge O'Sullivan had a varied legal career, including trial attorney for the New Haven Railroad, corporation counsel for the city of Derby, and prosecutor for the city of Shelton. He began his career on the bench as a judge of the City Court of Derby from 1945 to 1946 and became a judge of the Town Court of Orange from 1950 to 1951 and from 1955 to 1961.

Judge O'Sullivan served on a number of elected boards and commissions in his home town of Orange, including the charter commission of the board of selectmen, the board of tax review, the board of zoning appeals and the Amity regional school board.

Judge O'Sullivan was married to the former Margaret Hession and was the father of five children.

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