John A. Connelly was born and raised in Waterbury, Connecticut. He graduated from Crosby High School in 1967, whereupon he enlisted in the United States Navy and served from 1967 to 1971. After being honorably discharged from the Navy, he enrolled in Mattatuck Community College, one of two colleges that merged in 1992 to form Naugatuck Valley Community College, where he received an Associate of Arts degree in 1973. He then went on to Trinity College in Hartford, where he majored in political science and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1975. He attended the University of Connecticut School of Law and received his Juris Doctor degree in 1978.
His first job out of law school was working for the city of Waterbury as the legal advisor to the Waterbury Police Department. He served in this position until 1980, when he was appointed an assistant state’s attorney for the judicial district of Waterbury. In 1983, he was appointed a federal prosecutor and served as Assistant United States Attorney for Connecticut. As a federal prosecutor, he was assigned to work on the President’s Drug Enforcement Task Force. He returned to the Waterbury state’s attorney’s office in 1984, when he was appointed as the state’s attorney for the judicial district of Waterbury succeeding the Honorable Francis M. McDonald, now the retired Chief Justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court.
In 1988, at the request of Governor John G. Rowland, John was appointed Commissioner of Public Safety for the state of Connecticut, where he had general jurisdiction over the affairs of the Division of State Police and Division of Fire Emergency and Building Services for Connecticut. He later returned to his position as state’s attorney for the Waterbury district.
For the past 24 years, John has been a part-time faculty member at Naugatuck Valley Community College, Post University and the University of Connecticut where he has taught various criminal justice courses. He is also a member of several professional organizations including the Council of State’s Attorneys for Connecticut, the National District Attorney Association and the Association of Government Attorneys in Capital Litigation.