PETER T. ZARELLA received his Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from Northeastern University in 1972 and his Juris Doctor from Suffolk University Law School in 1975. He received an Honorary Doctor of Law degree from Suffolk University Law School in 2007. Justice Zarella is admitted to the state bars of Massachusetts and Connecticut, and the U.S. District Courts of Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Southern District of New York, the U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit, and the U.S. Supreme Court. He was in the private practice of law from 1977 to 1996 and was a partner in the Hartford firm of Brown, Paindiris & Zarella from 1978 until his appointment as a Superior Court Judge in 1996.
Justice Zarella served as a Judge of the Superior Court from 1996 to 2000 and was elevated to Judge of the Appellate Court in 2000. He was nominated by Governor John G. Rowland as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court on January 4, 2001 and was sworn in on January 22, 2001. While serving on the Supreme Court, Justice Zarella authored over 300 majority opinions in addition to numerous concurring and dissenting opinions. These opinions included significant opinions in many areas of the law including products liability, class actions, property rights, family law, and constitutional law.
Justice Zarella’s professional affiliations include his service on the Connecticut Bar Association, Commercial Law and Bankruptcy Section, Executive Committee, from 1985 to 1990; the Connecticut Bar Association, Banking Law Committee from 1990 to 1994; the American Cancer Society, Banquets and Donations Committee from 1985 to 1989; Incorporator of the Stowe Day Foundation from 1985 to 1995; the Ethics Commission of the Town of West Hartford from 1992 to 1995; and the Town of West Hartford, Charter Revision Commission from 1995 to 1996. Justice Zarella was the Town Chairman, Republican Party, Town of West Hartford from 1992 to 1996, Connecticut Counsel to the “Dole for President” Committee from 1995 to 1996; Delegate from Connecticut to the Republican National Convention in 1996; and Commissioner of the Metropolitan District Commission from 1995 to 1996.
Justice Zarella previously served as Chair of the Criminal Justice Commission from 2001 to 2006; Chair of the Rules Committee of the Superior Court from 2001 to 2010; Fellow of the Connecticut Bar Foundation from 2000 to the present. He is the author of “Kelo Ten Years Later: A City’s Unrealized Dream and the Destruction of a Neighborhood”, Volume 48, Number 5, July 2016 Connecticut Law Review, and co-author of “Judicial Independence at a Crossroads”, Volume 77, No.1, Feb. 2003, Connecticut Bar Journal; Founder and Member of the Connecticut Supreme Court Historical Society, Jul. 2005-present; Supreme Court Liaison to Probate Court on Probate Court Rules, 2011 to present; Executive Committee, Judges of Superior Court, 2013-December 2016; and Administrative Judge of the Appellate System, from October 2013 to December 2016, State Library Board, from September 2014 to December 2016.
He has lectured on Appellate Practice, Judicial Independence, Legal and Societal Consequences of Drug & Alcohol Abuse, Separation of Powers, Democracy and the Judicial System, as well as numerous other topics.