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.

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.")




Law Library Hours Update: March 15th - March 17th

   by Dowd, Jeffrey

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=350

Wednesday, March 15th

  • Litchfield, New London, and Putnam Law Library are closed today.

Thursday, March 16th

  • New London Law Library will be closed.
  • Rockville Law Library will open at 10:30 a.m.

Friday, March 17th

  • New London Law Library will be closed.

Monday, March 20th

  • New London Law Library will be closed.

See our regularly scheduled hours.


Law Library Hours Update: March 13th - March 17th

   by Dowd, Jeffrey

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=349

Monday, March 13th

  • Litchfield Law Library will close at 12:30 p.m.
  • Waterbury Law Library will close at 12:45 p.m.

Tuesday, March 14th

  • Putnam Law Library and Waterbury Law Library will be closed.

See our regularly scheduled hours.

Please note we are not open when the courthouses are closed. Courthouse closings due to inclement weather are posted prominently on the Judicial Branch website. You can also listen for weather cancellations on the local television and radio stations.


Insurance Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=344

AC37936 - Holmes v. Safeco Ins. Co. of America ("The plaintiffs, Oliver Holmes and Hannah Sokol-Holmes, appeal from the summary judgment rendered in favor of the defendant, Safeco Insurance Company of America, on the plaintiffs’ claim for breach of contract and breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing in connection with the defendant’s failure and refusal to pay their claim for coverage under their homeowners’ insurance policy with the defendant for losses due to ice damming on their property in February of 2011. The court granted the defendant’s motion for summary judgment on the ground that the plaintiffs failed to commence an action within one year of the reported date of loss, as required by the time limitation provision of the subject homeowners’ insurance policy. On appeal, the plaintiffs argue, as they did before the trial court, that the one year time limitation provision of their policy was superseded as a matter of law by the eighteen month limitation provision of Connecticut’s standard fire insurance policy, as set forth in General Statutes (Rev. to 2011) § 38a-307, because the scope of coverage undertheir homeowners’ policy extended to losses caused by fire, which are governed by that statute. For the following reasons, we agree with the trial court that that claim must be rejected in this case, which does not arise from or concern a fire loss, and thus that the court’s judgment for the defendant must be affirmed.")


Contract Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=345

AC38279 - Al Dente, LLC v. Consiglio ("The plaintiffs, Al Dente, LLC, and Carmine Capasso, appeal from the summary judgment rendered by the trial court in favor of the defendants, Robert G. Consiglio, Ruth F. Consiglio, and Richard E. Consiglio, individually, and as executor of the estate of Flora Consiglio. The plaintiffs claim that the court improperly concluded that no genuine issue of material fact existed as to any count of their operative complaint. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Habeas Appellate Court Opinions

   by Townsend, Karen

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=347

AC37508 - Giuca v. Commissioner of Correction (Habeas; " The petitioner claims that the court improperly denied his petition for a writ of habeas corpus by concluding that he failed to establish that his mental state at the time of his guilty plea rendered his plea involuntary, unknowing, and unintelligent in violation of the federal due process clause. We affirm the judgment of the habeas court.")

AC37366 - Duncan v. Commissioner of Correction (Habeas; "On appeal, the petitioner claims that the habeas court (1) abused its discretion in denying certification to appeal, (2) improperly concluded that he had received the effective assistance of counsel and (3) improperly denied his due process claim that his pleas were not made knowingly and voluntarily. Because the petitioner did not demonstrate that the habeas court abused its discretion in denying the petition for certification to appeal, we dismiss the appeal.")

AC38575 - Ampero v. Commissioner of Correction (Habeas; "On appeal, the petitioner claims that the habeas court improperly (1) concluded that his trial counsel provided effective assistance, (2) rejected his claim of actual innocence, and (3) rejected his claim that his due process rights were violated by the use of allegedly perjured testimony. We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the habeas court.")

AC38238 - Rojas v. Commissioner of Correction (Habeas; "The petitioner claims that the habeas court erred by not concluding that his trial counsel was ineffective for failing to negotiate a plea bargain on his behalf, and by not concluding that the petitioner was prejudiced by his trial counsel’s failure to properly investigate his case. We affirm the judgment of the habeas court.")



Administrative Appeal Supreme Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=342

SC19651 - Southwest Appraisal Group, LLC v. Administrator, Unemployment Compensation Act (Unemployment compensation; employer contributions "The sole issue in this appeal is whether part C of the ABC test; see General Statutes § 31-222 (a) (1) (B) (ii); which governs whether an employment relationship exists for purposes of the Unemployment Compensation Act (act), General Statutes § 31-222 et seq., requires proof that the putative employee perform services for third parties other than the putative employer, in order to be deemed an independent contractor. The plaintiff, Southwest Appraisal Group, LLC, appeals from the judgment of the trial court dismissing its appeal from the decision of the Board of Review of the Employment Security Appeals Division (board), which found it liable for unemployment compensation taxes, plus interest, for three of its automobile appraisers following an audit by the defendant, the Administrator of the Unemployment Compensation Act. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the trial court improperly applied part C of the ABC test, which asks whether "such individual is customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, profession or business of the same nature as that involved in the service performed"; General Statutes § 31-222 (a) (1) (B) (ii) (III); in deeming the three appraisers to be employees on the ground that the plaintiff had failed to prove that they had performed appraisal services for anyone other than the plaintiff, despite other evidence indicating that they operated independent businesses. We conclude that evidence of the performance of services for third parties is not required to prove part C of the ABC test but, rather, is a single factor that may be considered under the totality of the circumstances analysis governing that inquiry. Accordingly, we reverse the judgment of the trial court.")


Criminal Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=343

AC38758 - State v. Snowden (Murder; criminal possession of pistol or revolver; reviewability of claim; joinder; "The defendant, Maurice Snowden, appeals from the judgment of conviction, rendered after a jury trial, of murder in violation of General Statutes § 53a-54a and criminal possession of a pistol or revolver in violation of General Statutes (Rev. to 2011) § 53a-217c (a) (1) (criminal possession). On appeal, the defendant claims that (1) the trial court erred in permitting joinder of one information charging murder with a second information charging a separate instance of criminal possession; and (2) this court should adopt a "clear failure of judicial obligation" standard for conducting a harmless error analysis under the facts of this case. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Property Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Zigadto, Janet

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=348

AC39746 - Ledyard v. WMS Gaming, Inc. (Personal property taxes; "The motion before the court challenges our jurisdiction over the appeal of the defendant, WMS Gaming, Inc., from the decision of the trial court rendering summary judgment as to liability only in favor of the plaintiff, the town of Ledyard, with respect to certain attorney's fees incurred by the plaintiff. The plaintiff moves to dismiss the defendant's appeal for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, claiming that the trial court's decision is not an appealable final judgment because the trial court has not determined the amount of the attorney's fees. We conclude that the trial court's decision rendering summary judgment as to liability only in favor of the plaintiff with regard to the attorney's fees at issue is not an appealable final judgment. Accordingly, we grant the plaintiff's motion to dismiss the defendant's appeal.

The record before the court reveals the following facts and procedural history. In 2008, the plaintiff commenced the underlying action to collect unpaid personal property taxes that it had imposed on slot machines that the defendant owned and leased to the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation (Tribal Nation) for use in its gaming facilities.")


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