Attorney General: Mitchell R. Harris, State Marshal Commission, 2002-035 Formal Opinion, Attorney General of Connecticut

Attorney General's Opinion

Attorney General, Richard Blumenthal

October 22, 2002

Mitchell R. Harris
Chairman
State Marshal Commission
765 Asylum Avenue
260 Constitution Plaza
Hartford, CT 06105

Dear Chairman Harris:

You have requested our advice as to the required number of State Marshals in each county pursuant to the provisions of Conn. Gen. Stat.  6-38. Specifically, you have requested a formal opinion of the Attorney General as to "whether the Commission has the discretion to determine whether to fill these vacancies or whether the Commission is required [to] fill all vacancies in every county up to the statutory maximum." We conclude that the Commission may, but is not required to, appoint state marshals to the maximum number allowed in each county by statute.

Conn. Gen. Stat.  6-38 provides that

Sec. 6-38. Number of state marshals. The number of state marshals to be appointed for Hartford County shall not exceed seventy-two; for New Haven County, sixty-two; for New London County, thirty-eight; for Fairfield County, fifty-five; for Windham County, eighteen; for Litchfield County, thirty; for Middlesex Count, twenty-one; for Tolland County, twenty-two.

The plain meaning of the phrase "shall not exceed" in Section 6-38 is simply that no more than the statutory limit may be appointed. This section does not require a minimum number of appointments. The General Assembly could have required a specific number of State Marshals simply by stating that number. The use of the phrase "shall not exceed" strongly suggests that a lesser number may be appointed, but not more than the maximum. Furthermore, the phrase "shall not exceed" would be rendered superfluous if  6-38 were to be read as requiring the appointment of the exact number of State Marshals listed for each county. Statutes should be construed so that no word, clause or sentence shall be superfluous, void or insignificant. Robinson v. Unemployment Security Board of Review, 181 Conn. 1, 7 (1980).

Accordingly, it is our opinion that the Commission is not required to appoint State Marshals to the maximum number allowed in each county by statute.

Very truly yours,


RICHARD BLUMENTHAL
ATTORNEY GENERAL


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