NEW HAVEN -- A Superior Court judicial marshal Wednesday was arrested on charges of bribe receiving, second-degree larceny and second-degree forgery for allegedly "fixing" motor vehicle violation tickets at a reduced rate and pocketing the extra money.
James M. Blakeslee, 43, of 17 Doral Farms Road, North Branford, a lieutenant for the New Haven Fire Department as well as a part-time judicial marshal, was arrested at the office of State's Attorney Michael Dearington.
The alleged offenses occurred in New Haven Superior Court G.A. 23 on Elm Street in April and May. Blakeslee faces six counts on each of the three charges.
After his arrest Wednesday morning, state judicial branch officials placed Blakeslee on administrative leave without pay "pending final determination of disciplinary action."
The action was taken "based on information received alleging serious on-duty misconduct," wrote Maria Kewer, personnel manager for the branch's Court Operations Administration in a letter to Blakeslee.
Blakeslee works 20 hours per week as a judicial marshal at an annual salary of $23,497. He has worked in the court since February 1998.
Fire Chief Michael Grant said Blakeslee was placed on paid administrative leave at the New Haven Fire Department, pending resolution of his case.
After being charged, Blakeslee was released on a written promise to appear in court. He is due in Courtroom A of the building where he has worked, G.A. 23, at 10 a.m. July 19.
"We're reviewing the evidence," said Blakeslee's attorney, Michael Dolan. "We look forward to providing him a full and vigorous defense."
Dearington declined to comment.
Inspector Douglas Jowett, who works in Dearington's office, described in the arrest warrant application the accounts by six men charged with motor vehicle violations such as speeding, going through a red light and operating an unregistered vehicle.
All of them told authorities they had come into contact with a uniformed officer at the courthouse who allegedly told them he could take care of the fine by paying him about half of the amount in cash. Four of the six identified Blakeslee as the man in uniform who had taken their money.
According to Jowett's affidavit, Blakeslee forged the initials of Assistant State's Attorney Marc G. Ramia, who knew nothing of the alleged operation. Blakeslee allegedly wrote "MGR" and "Nolle" on the six disposition sheets.
In the initial case Jowett detailed, Angelo Bodetti, facing a $294 speeding ticket, said he encountered a "chatty" court officer at the courthouse. Bodetti later identified Blakeslee as the officer from a photo board.
Jowett said Blakeslee instructed Bodetti to hand him $150 in cash to get the matter "taken care of." After Bodetti did so, Blakeslee allegedly showed him the prosecutor's supposed initials on the file and the "Nolle" notation.
Another of the six men told Jowett he paid Blakeslee outside the courthouse, which the man said made the transaction "feel like a drug deal."
Contact Randall Beach at 203-789-5766.