The mission of the Connecticut Judicial Branch is to serve the interests of justice and the public by resolving matters brought before it in a fair, timely, efficient and open manner.


Did You Know? The OLR Map Room

   by Booth, George

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=371

The Office of Legislative Research (OLR) provides invaluable tools for the legal and legislative researcher in Connecticut. In addition to their research Reports, Backgrounders, and other services they provide to the Connecticut legislature, they also have a fascinating and useful legislative committee Map Room that has a wealth of information on committee areas of interest presented in a uniquely visual and memorable way!


Law Library Hours Update: March 28th - March 31st

   by Dowd, Jeffrey

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=370

Tuesday, March 28th

  • Middletown Law Library will close at 4:30 p.m.
  • New London Law Library will close at 3:30 p.m.

Wednesday, March 29th

  • Hartford Law Library will close at 4:45 p.m.
  • Rockville Law Library will close at 3:30 p.m.

Thursday, March 30th

  • Rockville Law Library will be closed.

Friday, March 31st

  • New London Law Library will be open from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

See our regularly scheduled hours.



Employment Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=368

AC37529 - Jones v. Dept. of Children & Families ("In this employment discrimination case, the plaintiff, Michael Jones, appeals from the trial court’s judgment in favor of the defendant, the Department of Children and Families. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court improperly concluded that he did not meet his burden of persuasion with respect to his allegations that the defendant subjected him to unlawful discrimination on the basis of his sexual orientation. See Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act (act), General Statutes § 46a-51 et seq. Specifically, the plaintiff contends that the court: (1) improperly imposed on the plaintiff the burden of proving the falsity of the reason given by the defendant for the termination, (2) improperly applied an adverse inference against the plaintiff (3) failed to correctly apply the 'cat’s paw' theory of liability, (4) erred by failing to make factual findings regarding discriminatory animus held by the plaintiff’s supervisors, and (5) improperly concluded that the plaintiff’s retaliation claim relied on timing alone. We disagree with the plaintiff’s assertions and affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Family Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=367

AC38275 - Jeanette-Blethen v. Jeanette-Blethen ("The plaintiff, Aimee L. Jeanette-Blethen, appeals from the postjudgment orders of the trial court, Carbonneau, J., granting the motion of the defendant, Jeffrey M. Jeanette-Blethen, to modify custody with respect to the primary residence of the parties’ minor children, and granting the motion of Eileen Martin, the maternal grandmother, to intervene pursuant to General Statutes § 46b-593 upon finding that a parent-like relationship existed between her and the minor children. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court’s factual findings are clearly erroneous and that the court abused its discretion in modifying the custody order that was entered at the time of the dissolution judgment. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Contract Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=366

AC38493 - Just Restaurants v. Thames Restaurant Group, LLC ("The defendant, Thames Restaurant Group, LLC, appeals from the judgment of the trial court rendered in favor of the substitute plaintiff, John Russo, doing business as Just Restaurants Business Brokers. The dispositive issue is whether the trial court lacked subject matter jurisdiction over this action. We agree with the parties that the action was commenced by the named plaintiff, Just Restaurants, using a fictitious or assumed business name, or a trade name. Under our law, that name did not create or encompass a person or entity with a legal existence, and, therefore, the named plaintiff had had no capacity to bring an action. The court thus lacked subject matter jurisdiction over its complaint and the action. Accordingly, we reverse the judgment of the trial court and remand the case with direction to dismiss the action.")


Tort Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Mazur, Catherine

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=364

AC38155 - Snell v. Norwalk Yellow Cab, Inc. (Negligence; "In Barry v. Quality Steel Products Inc., 263 Conn. 424, 436–39, 820 A.2d 258 (2003), our Supreme Court abolished the use of the superseding cause doctrine in cases in which the conduct of the intervening actor was merely negligent. This appeal requires us to consider the vitality of the doctrine in circumstances in which the conduct of the intervening actor is criminally reckless. We conclude that the doctrine is alive and well in such cases.")

AC38173 - Stamatopoulos v. ECS North America, LLC (Conversion; "The plaintiff, Evangelos Stamatopoulos, appeals from the judgment of the trial court, rendered after a bench trial, in favor of the defendant, ECS North America, LLC, on both of the plaintiff's claims for conversion and replevin. He claims that the court erroneously concluded that the defendant was a good faith purchaser of the subject property for value under the Uniform Commercial Code, General Statutes § 42a-1-101 et seq. We conclude, however, that this claim is moot because there is an independent, unchallenged ground upon which we may affirm the court's judgment for the defendant on both counts of the complaint. Accordingly, we dismiss this appeal for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.")


Habeas Appellate Court Opinion

   by Townsend, Karen

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=365

AC37129 - Thompson v. Commissioner of Correction (Habeas; "On appeal, the petitioner claims that the habeas court abused its discretion in denying him certification to appeal and improperly concluded that his trial counsel did not provide ineffective assistance. We dismiss the appeal… The principal issue raised by the petitioner in this appeal is that the court erred in not finding counsel ineffective for an alleged failure to present a closing argument that the restraint or abduction of the victim was not a kidnapping, but merely incidental to his other crimes, and to properly file a motion for a judgment of acquittal as to the charge of kidnapping.")


Criminal Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Booth, George

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=363

AC37613 - State v. Killiebrew (Arson; "The defendant, Issiah Killiebrew, appeals from the judgment of conviction, rendered after a jury trial, of one count of arson in the first degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-111 (a) (1). The court further found the defendant guilty of violating his probation. On appeal, the defendant claims that the trial court erred (1) by not canvassing him concerning his right to counsel and right to self-representation after he clearly and unequivocally invoked his right to self-representation and (2) if his invocation of his right to self-representation was not clear and unequivocal, by not canvassing him concerning whether he wanted to invoke his right to self-representation. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")

AC37649 - State v. Cervantes (Sexual assault in first degree; home invasion; custodial interrogation; "Following a conditional plea of nolo contendere, entered pursuant to General Statutes § 54-94a, the defendant, Marcelo Cervantes, appeals from the judgment of conviction of sexual assault in the first degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-70 (a) (1) and home invasion in violation of General Statutes § 53a-100aa (a) (1). The defendant entered his conditional plea following the court's denial of his motion to suppress certain oral statements that he made to members of the Hamden Police Department. He made the statements during, what he claims to have been, a custodial interrogation inside of a police vehicle, without the benefit of having been advised of his constitutional rights under Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 478–79, 86 S. Ct. 1602, 16 L. Ed. 2d 694 (1966). The state argued, and the trial court agreed, that the challenged statements should not be suppressed because, although the defendant, concededly, was interrogated in the vehicle by the police before he made such statements, he was not in custody at that time for purposes of Miranda. On appeal, the defendant claims that the court erred in denying his motion to suppress. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")

AC38309 - State v. Bonds (Felony murder; robbery in first degree; conspiracy to commit robbery in second degree; "The defendant, Darryl Bonds, appeals from the judgment of conviction, rendered after a jury trial, of one count of felony murder in violation of General Statutes § 53a-54c, one count of robbery in the first degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-134 (a) (2), and one count of conspiracy to commit robbery in the second degree in violation of General Statutes §§ 53a-48 (a) and 53a-135. On appeal, the defendant claims that the trial court improperly (1) admitted two separate out-of-court statements under our hearsay exception for statements against penal interest, (2) admitted an out-of-court statement made by the defendant that was not properly authenticated, and (3) denied the defendant's request to instruct the jury on an affirmative defense to felony murder. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Law by Subject: Pardons and Paroles

   by Roy, Christopher

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=362

Our Law by Subject web pages bring together links to statutes, rules, regulations, research reports, and other online materials. Our Law about Pardons and Paroles page has been updated to include a recent Office of Legislative Research report (Inmate Sentence Reduction Methods), Department of Correction Administrative Directives, and recent regulations.


Administrative Appeal Supreme Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=361

SC19622 - Amaral Brothers, Inc. v. Dept. of Labor (Administrative appeal; "General Statutes § 31-60 (b) carves out certain exceptions to Connecticut's minimum wage laws. Among other things, § 31-60 (b) directs the Labor Commissioner, acting through the defendant, the Department of Labor, to adopt regulations that recognize that employers may include gratuities as part of the minimum fair wage for employees in the restaurant and hotel industries who customarily and regularly receive gratuities (tip credit). The primary question raised by this appeal is whether the department's regulations, which limit the tip credit to bartenders and traditional waitstaff and do not allow employers to count gratuities toward the minimum wage for other employees such as restaurant delivery drivers, conflict with the enabling statute. Because we conclude that the regulations are not incompatible with § 31-60 (b), we affirm the judgment of the trial court dismissing the appeal of the plaintiff, Amaral Brothers, Inc., from the commissioner's declaratory ruling that the plaintiff's drivers are not subject to a tip credit.")



Law Library Hours Update: March 27th - March 31st

   by Dowd, Jeffrey

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=359

Monday, March 27th

  • Rockville Law Library will close at 3:30 p.m.

Tuesday, March 28th

  • Middletown Law Library will close at 3:45 p.m.
  • New London Law Library will close at 3:30 p.m.

Wednesday, March 29th

  • Rockville Law Library will close at 3:30 p.m.

Friday, March 31st

  • New London Law Library will be open from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

See our regularly scheduled hours.


Foreclosure Supreme Court Opinion

   by Mazur, Catherine

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=358

SC19560, SC19561 - Burns v. Adler ("The primary issue that we must resolve in this certified appeal is whether the bad faith exception to the bar on the enforcement of home improvement contracts that do not comply with the Home Improvement Act (act), General Statutes § 20-418 et seq., entitled the plaintiff contractor, James E. Burns, Jr., to recover damages from the defendant homeowner, David Y. Adler, for home improvement services despite the plaintiff's noncompliance with that statute. The parties entered into an agreement whereby the plaintiff agreed to furnish materials and supply labor in connection with the renovation of a residence owned by the defendant in the town of Salisbury. After the renovation project was largely complete, a dispute arose regarding amounts that the defendant owed the plaintiff for services performed. Thereafter, the plaintiff brought this action claiming, among other things, breach of contract and unjust enrichment. The defendant raised the special defense that the plaintiff's claims were barred because the agreement did not comply with the requirements of General Statutes (Rev. to 2007) § 20-429. In turn, the plaintiff claimed that the defendant was precluded from relying on § 20-429 because his refusal to pay the plaintiff was in bad faith. After a trial to the court, the trial court concluded that the plaintiff had incurred damages in the amount of $214,039 and that § 20-429 did not bar recovery because the defendant's refusal to pay was in bad faith. Accordingly, the court rendered judgment for the plaintiff in the amount of $214,039. The defendant appealed to the Appellate Court, which affirmed the judgment of the trial court. See Burns v. Adler, 158 Conn. App. 766, 808, 120 A.3d 555 (2015). We then granted the defendant's petition for certification to appeal, limited to the following issues: (1) 'Did . . . § 20-429 (f) abrogate the bad faith exception to the [act] created in Habetz v. Condon, 224 Conn. 231, 240, 618 A.2d 501 (1992)?'; and (2) 'Did the Appellate Court properly affirm the judgment of the trial court in favor of the plaintiff?' Burns v. Adler, 319 Conn. 931, 125 A.3d 205 (2015); see also footnote 7 of this opinion. We conclude that the first certified question is not reviewable because it was not raised in the trial court. We further conclude that the defendant did not act in bad faith and, therefore, the Appellate Court improperly affirmed the judgment of the trial court on the ground that the plaintiff was barred from invoking the protection of the act. Accordingly, we reverse the judgment of the Appellate Court and conclude that the case must be remanded to the trial court with direction to render judgment for the defendant.")


New Office of Legislative Research Reports

   by Booth, George

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=357

The Office of Legislative Research has recently published the following reports:

  • Stun Gun Statutes - 2017-R-0078
    Provide examples of stun gun statutes from states in which people may legally carry stun guns.


Family Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=356

AC37658 - Grant v. Grant ("The defendant, Winston Grant, appeals from the judgment of the trial court dissolving his marriage to the plaintiff, Jennifer Grant, and entering related financial orders. On appeal, the defendant claims that the court abused its discretion in (1) finding him in contempt for violating the court’s automatic orders, (2) ordering him to pay the plaintiff $30,425.98 from his retirement account within thirty days from the judgment and (3) finding that he owned real property in Jamaica and ordering him to pay the plaintiff $20,000 reflecting the plaintiff’s contributions to that property within four years. We agree with the defendant. Accordingly, we reverse in part the judgment of the trial court and remand the matter for further proceedings in accordance with this opinion.")


Criminal Law Supreme and Appellate Court Opinions

   by Booth, George

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=352

SC19759 - State v. Milner (Criminal trespass; interfering with officer; disorderly conduct; motion for disqualification of judicial authority pursuant to rule of practice (§ 1-23); "Following an incident at Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center in Hartford, the defendant, Mack Milner, was convicted of one count of interfering with an officer in violation of General Statutes § 53a-167a (a), one count of criminal trespass in the first degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-107 (a) (1), and two counts of disorderly conduct in violation of General Statutes § 53a-182 (a) (2) and (3). The issue before this court is whether the judge who presided over the criminal trial abused his discretion in denying the defendant's oral motion for disqualification following the judge's disclosure that he previously had been employed by the hospital. We conclude that the limited facts in the record provide no basis to conclude that the trial court abused its discretion.")

AC38788 - State v. Martinez (Felony murder; robbery in first degree, conspiracy to commit robbery in first degree; tampering with evidence; "The defendant, Johnny Martinez, appeals from the judgment of conviction rendered by the trial court, following a jury trial, of felony murder in violation of General Statutes § 53a-54c, robbery in the first degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-134 (a) (1), robbery in the first degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-134 (a) (3), conspiracy to commit robbery in the first degree in violation of General Statutes §§ 53a-48 (a) and 53a-134 (a), and tampering with evidence in violation of General Statutes (Rev. to 2010) § 53a-155 (a) (1). The defendant claims that the court (1) violated his right to present a defense by prohibiting him from presenting evidence concerning an altercation that took place in the hours prior to the events at issue, (2) violated his right to cross-examination by limiting the scope of his cross-examination of a state's witness, (3) improperly instructed the jury with respect to accessorial liability in the course of its instructions concerning the murder count, (4) improperly failed to comply with the jury's request to have certain testimony played back, and (5) improperly denied his request to suppress a written statement that he provided to the police. We dismiss the appeal with respect to the third claim, and with respect to the remainder of the appeal, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.")

AC36834 - State v. Day (Assault of elderly person in first degree; attempt to commit robbery in first degree; criminal possession of firearm; "The defendant, Robert Day, appeals from the judgment of conviction that was rendered against him after a bifurcated trial in the judicial district of Waterbury upon the verdict of a jury finding him guilty of assault of an elderly person in the first degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-59a (a) (1), and attempt to commit robbery in the first degree in violation of General Statutes §§ 53a-49 (a) (2) and 53a-134 (a) (2), and the separate decision of the trial court finding him guilty of criminal possession of a firearm in violation of General Statutes § 53a-217 (a) (1). The defendant's principal claims on appeal concern the state’s use against him in that trial of eyewitness identification testimony from the two victims of the charged offenses, both of whom identified him as the perpetrator.

The defendant first claims that the court violated his state and federal constitutional rights not to be deprived of his liberty without due process of law by denying his pretrial motions to suppress the victims' out-of-court and in-court identifications of him as the perpetrator of the charged offenses. He argues that the challenged identifications should have been suppressed as the unreliable products of unnecessarily suggestive pretrial identification procedures which were used by the state to obtain and reinforce those identifications. Although we agree with the defendant that the procedures by which the state obtained and later bolstered the victims' confidence in their challenged identifications were unnecessarily suggestive, we conclude that such identifications were not rendered so unreliable by those suggestive procedures as to make them constitutionally inadmissible at trial. We therefore conclude that the court did not err by denying the defendant's pretrial motions to suppress such identifications.

The defendant also claims, however, that even if the challenged identifications were properly admitted against him at trial, the court committed two other errors that materially affected the jury's ability to make a proper assessment of the reliability of such identifications when conducting its deliberations. First, he claims that the court erred by precluding expert testimony from Dr. Steven Penrod, a qualified expert witness on the subject of eyewitness identification, as to certain aspects of the photographic identification procedures that were used to obtain the victims' identifications of the defendant in this case that are well known by scientific researchers to decrease the reliability of eyewitness identifications resulting from their use. Second, he claims that the court erred by failing to instruct the jury, in accordance with his timely request to charge, that it could properly consider those reliability factors and several others about which Penrod did testify before the jury as scientifically valid bases for questioning the reliability of the victims' identification testimony in this case. Although we agree with the defendant that the court erred in precluding his expert from testifying as to the tendency of certain aspects of the identification procedures used in this case to produce unreliable eyewitness identifications, we cannot conclude that the limited preclusion of such testimony substantially affected the jury's verdict. We reject the defendant's claim that the court erred by failing to instruct the jury on the subject of eyewitness identifications in accordance with his request to charge. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Habeas Appellate Court Opinion

   by Townsend, Karen

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=354

AC38139 - Carpenter v. Commissioner of Correction (Habeas; "On appeal, the petitioner claims that the court erred in denying her claims of ineffective assistance of counsel with respect to (1) her lost opportunity to pursue a plea bargain and (2) the exclusion of expert witness testimony regarding codependency syndrome. We disagree, and affirm the judgment of the habeas court…With respect to her first claim, that her trial counsel were ineffective by failing to engage in plea negotiations on her behalf, the court concluded that the trial counsel’s performance was not deficient. In support of its conclusion, the court reasoned that the petitioner was adamantly opposed to engaging in plea negotiations throughout the state’s prosecution, she explicitly instructed counsel not to pursue a plea bargain, and the state was not interested in negotiating a plea. The court also concluded that the petitioner failed to demonstrate prejudice. With respect to her second claim, that the petitioner’s trial counsel were ineffective in failing to lay a proper foundation for the introduction of expert testimony regarding codependency syndrome through Dr. Robert Novelly, the habeas court similarly concluded that the petitioner had failed to satisfy her burden under Strickland. Specifically, the court concluded that, because codependency syndrome was a novel concept at the time of the petitioner’s trial, and counsel made a reasonable attempt to introduce Novelly’s testimony by analogizing codependency syndrome evidence to other syndrome evidence, their performance was not deficient.")


Foreclosure Appellate Court Opinion

   by Mazur, Catherine

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=355

AC37764 - Countrywide Home Loans Servicing L.P. v. Peterson ("The named defendant, Alyssa Peterson, who represented herself before the trial court and continues to do so on appeal, challenges the judgment of the court (1) denying her motion to open the court's judgment of strict foreclosure, and (2) denying her motion to reargue the motion to open. The defendant's principal claim, and the only one we need address at length, is that the court improperly declined to open the judgment of strict foreclosure in order to correct an erroneous determination of the debt owed by the defendant. We affirm the judgment of the court.")


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