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.
Recent Opinions

Legal Malpractice Appellate Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=425

AC38181 - Rendahl v. Peluso (Breach of fiduciary duty; legal malpractice; "The plaintiff, Joy M. Rendahl, individually and as administratrix of the estate of her deceased mother, Frances M. Rendahl, brought this action against the defendants, Frank N. Peluso and his law firm, the Law Offices of Frank N. Peluso, P.C. (collectively, the defendant), to recover damages, inter alia, for breach of fiduciary duty, legal malpractice, and wilful, wanton, and reckless misconduct based upon the defendant's alleged mishandling of his responsibilities as the executor of and the attorney for the estate. Following an eight day trial and two days of deliberations, the jury returned a verdict in favor of the defendant on all counts. Thereafter, the plaintiff filed two motions to set aside the verdict, alleging, in the first motion, that the court erred in declining to accept an earlier verdict by the same jury, assertedly awarding her punitive damages on her claim of breach of fiduciary duty, and requiring the jury, under supplemental instructions, to continue its deliberations and make further factual findings before returning its final verdict; and, in the second motion, that the court erred in refusing to admit certain relevant, material evidence at trial. On June 30, 2015, the trial court, Povodator, J., denied both motions. This appeal followed.

On appeal, the plaintiff reasserts the claims presented in her motions to set aside the verdict, and seeks reversal of the court's judgment based upon the denial of those motions. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Attorney Discipline Supreme Court Opinion

   by Mazur, Catherine

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=420

SC19698 - Disciplinary Counsel v. Elder ("The issue that we must decide in this case is whether the six year limitation period set forth in Practice Book § 2-32 (a) (2) (E) constitutes a mandatory bar to grievance complaints brought after that six year limitation period has expired or whether the provision, instead, is discretionary. On April 4, 2014, Wesley S. Spears filed a grievance complaint against the defendant, Attorney Joseph Elder, alleging that the defendant had engaged in professional misconduct in 2004. A reviewing committee of the Statewide Grievance Committee conducted a hearing on the grievance complaint and found by clear and convincing evidence that the defendant had violated certain of the Rules of Professional Conduct. The reviewing committee also directed the plaintiff, the Disciplinary Counsel, to bring this presentment action against the defendant. After the plaintiff brought this action in 2015, the defendant filed a motion to dismiss, claiming that the action was barred by § 2-32 (a) (2) (E). The trial court concluded that the time limitation set forth in § 2-32 (a) (2) (E) is not mandatory and denied the motion to dismiss. After a trial to the court, the trial court concluded that the defendant had violated certain of the Rules of Professional Conduct and ordered that the defendant be suspended from the practice of law for a period of one year. The defendant then filed this appeal. We conclude that § 2-32 (a) (2) (E) bars grievance complaints that are not brought within the six year limitation period unless one of the exceptions set forth in § 2-32 (a) (2) (E) (i) or (ii) applies. Because none of these exceptions applies in the present case, we reverse the judgment of the trial court and remand the case to that court with direction to grant the defendant's motion to dismiss.")


Appellate Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=419

AC38538 - Papallo v. Lefebvre (Fiduciary duty; "On appeal, the plaintiffs claim that the court erred by concluding that (1) the defendant did not breach his fiduciary duty to the plaintiff through his handling of the LLC revenues; (2) the defendant did not have the intent necessary to be found liable for statutory theft; (3) an accounting was not warranted; and (4) the defendant's conduct did not violate CUTPA. The defendant did not participate in this appeal. We agree with the first claim but disagree with the remaining ones. Accordingly, we affirm in part and reverse in part the judgment of the court.")


Contract Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=414

AC38179 - LM Ins. Corp. v. Connecticut Dismanteling, LLC ("The defendant, Connecticut Dismanteling, LLC, appeals from the judgment of the trial court rendered in favor of the plaintiff, LM Insurance Corporation. On appeal, the defendant claims that (1) the court improperly admitted into evidence a certain document under the business records exception to the rule against hearsay, (2) there was insufficient evidence to support the judgment rendered in favor of the plaintiff and (3) the court improperly drew an adverse inference against the defendant for failing to call two witnesses at trial. We disagree with the defendant’s claims, and, accordingly affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Foreclosure Appellate Court Opinions

   by Mazur, Catherine

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=416

AC38413 - Glastonbury v. Sakon ("The defendant John Alan Sakon appeals from the orders of the trial court striking his special defenses and from the judgment of nonsuit entered with respect to his counterclaims. On appeal, the defendant claims that the court improperly granted the plaintiff's motion to strike his original and his substitute special defenses and counterclaims. The appeal is dismissed in part, and the judgment of the trial court is affirmed in part.")

AC38622 - JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. v. Cam ("The defendant Eugene A. Cam appeals from the judgment of strict foreclosure claiming that the trial court erred when it concluded that a settlement agreement he had entered into with the plaintiff, JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., permitted the plaintiff to pay the defendant a certain sum of money within a 'reasonable time' of the payment deadline provided in the agreement. We affirm the judgment of the court.")


Tort Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Mazur, Catherine

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=415

AC38284 - Bruno v. The Travelers Companies ("The plaintiff, Lisa Bruno, appeals from the judgment of the trial court, rendered in favor of the defendants, The Travelers Companies and The Travelers Home and Marine Insurance Company, after the court (1) granted the defendants' second motion to strike counts three through nine of the plaintiff's amended complaint on the ground of absolute immunity, and (2) granted the defendants' motion for summary judgment on counts one and two on the grounds that those counts were brought outside of the two year limitation period contained in the parties' contract of insurance. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court's judgment was improper because (1) 'absolute immunity implicates the court's subject matter jurisdiction,' and, therefore, the court erred in allowing the defendants to raise that issue via a motion to strike, (2) the defendants were not immune to suit on the basis of an absolute privilege, and (3) the plaintiff's claims were not time barred.

"After review, we conclude that the litigation privilege provides an absolute immunity from suit and, thus, implicates the trial court's subject matter jurisdiction. As such, the plaintiff's causes of action against the defendants are barred. We further conclude that the court should have dismissed the plaintiff's original complaint, rather than permit her to replead, after it determined that the doctrine of absolute immunity applied to her entire complaint. Accordingly, the form of judgment is improper, and we, therefore, reverse the judgment of the trial court and remand the matter with direction to render a judgment of dismissal. ")

AC37965 - PMG Land Associates, L.P. v. Harbour Landing Condominium Assn., Inc. ("The plaintiff, PMG Land Associates, L.P., appeals from the judgment of the trial court granting the motion for summary judgment filed by the defendants, Harbour Landing Condominium Association, Inc., David Potter, Vincent DeLauro, and Margareth Butterworth. On appeal, the plaintiff contends that the court improperly held that the action was barred by the applicable statute of limitations. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Family Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Roy, Christopher

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=413

AC38402 - Watkins v. Demos ("The plaintiff, Beverly Watkins, appeals from the postjudgment orders of the court entered after the dissolution of her marriage to the defendant, John Nicholas Demos. The plaintiff challenges the trial court’s denial of her postjudgment motion for contempt and her motion to open the judgment. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")

AC38379 - Horey v. Horey ("The defendant, Joyce A. Horey, appeals from the financial orders relating to the judgment of the trial court dissolving her marriage to the plaintiff, Alan L. Horey. On appeal, the defendant claims that the trial court abused its discretion by entering an alimony order that terminates upon the sale of the plaintiff’s business. She argues that such a time limited alimony order is inconsistent with the facts found by the court, and that the court, therefore, reasonably could not have concluded as it did. For the reasons that follow, we disagree and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Medical Malpractice Law Supreme and Appellate Court Opinions

   by Booth, George

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=412

SC19761 - Pease v. Charlotte Hungerford Hospital (Medical malpractice; motion for contempt; "The dispositive question presented by this appeal is whether a prevailing party in a civil action can enforce an unpaid award of costs through a motion for civil contempt rather than by pursuing the various postjudgment remedies authorized by chapter 906 of the General Statutes. We conclude that, under ordinary circumstances, such as those in this case, the court's inherent contempt power is not an appropriate means of enforcing an award of costs or other monetary judgment. We therefore affirm the judgment of the trial court denying the motion of the named defendant, The Charlotte Hungerford Hospital, to hold the plaintiff, Robert Pease, in contempt of court.")

AC37749 - Ruff v. Yale-New Haven Hospital, Inc. (Medical malpractice; directed verdict; expert witness; "In this medical malpractice case, the plaintiff, Michael Ruff, appeals from the trial court's granting of the motion by the defendant Yale-New Haven Hospital, Inc., for a directed verdict and the judgment rendered in favor of the defendant. On appeal, the plaintiff claims, inter alia, that the court erred in: (1) precluding the expert testimony of his sole standard of care witness, Donna Maselli, a registered nurse; and (2) granting the defendant's motion for a directed verdict based on its preclusion of Maselli's testimony. We disagree and affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Criminal Law Supreme and Appellate Court Opinions

   by Booth, George

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=411

SC19786 - State v. Donald (Assault first degree; robbery first degree; conspiracy to commit robbery first degree; carrying pistol without permit; "The defendant, Ravon Donald, challenges the trial court's denial of his motion to suppress a signed, sworn statement he made to the police in which he confessed to committing a robbery and assault at a grocery store. The defendant claims that the trial court should have granted his motion to suppress his statement because the police initially questioned him concerning his knowledge of the robbery while he was in custody before they provided Miranda warnings and then, after the warnings, proceeded to more thoroughly question him, resulting in the challenged statement. We hold that regardless of whether the trial court's denial of the motion to suppress testimony regarding the initial questioning of the defendant was error, any such error was harmless. The trial court properly denied the motion to suppress the defendant's written statement because under the specific facts of the present case there was sufficient separation between the initial questioning and the subsequent interrogation to render the Miranda warnings effective and, therefore, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.")

AC37884 - State v. Petion (Assault in first degree; "The defendant, Divenson Petion, appeals from the judgment of conviction, rendered after a jury trial, of two counts of assault in the first degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-59 (a) (1). On appeal, the defendant claims that (1) there was insufficient evidence to support a conviction for first degree assault as to one of the two victims because the state failed to demonstrate beyond a reasonable doubt that that victim had suffered a "serious physical injury," and (2) prosecutorial improprieties during closing argument violated his right to a fair trial. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Family Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=410

AC38584 - Richman v. Wallman (Dissolution of marriage; "The self-represented plaintiff, Terri L. Richman, appeals from the judgment of the trial court ordering her to sign the revised qualified domestic relations orders (QDROs) that were prepared to divide the retirement assets of her former husband, the defendant, Scott A. Wallman, between the two parties. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court (1) improperly held her in contempt, and (2) improperly modified the distribution of the parties' property without the requisite subject matter jurisdiction to do so. 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=405

AC37843 - William Raveis Real Estate, Inc. v. Zajaczkowski ("The defendants, Peter Zajaczkowski and Iwona Zajaczkowski, appeal from the judgment of the trial court, rendered after a trial to the court, in favor the plaintiff, William Raveis Real Estate, Inc. On appeal, the defendants claim that the court (1) erred in concluding that they had breached the exclusive agreement they had with the plaintiff, (2) abused its discretion by awarding the plaintiff attorney’s fees and costs in the absence of an evidentiary hearing, and (3) violated General Statutes § 42-150aa with respect to the award of attorney’s fees. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Administrative Appeal Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=404

AC38895 - Prendergast. V. Commissioner of Motor Vehicles ("The plaintiff, Hart Prendergast, appeals from the judgment of the Superior Court dismissing his appeal from the decision of the defendant, the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles, suspending his license to operate a motor vehicle pursuant to General Statutes § 14-227b. The plaintiff claims that the court improperly (1) found that there was substantial evidence in the record to support a finding that there was probable cause to arrest him for operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or intoxicating liquor or drugs, and (2) concluded that his due process rights were not violated when the hearing officer continued the hearing to subpoena the police officers involved in the plaintiff’s arrest. We affirm the judgment of the court.")


Criminal Law Supreme and Appellate Court Opinions

   by Roy, Christopher

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=400

SC19688 - State v. Lee ("The sole issue in this certified appeal is whether, in light of this court’s decision in State v. Wright, 320 Conn. 781, 135 A.3d 1 (2016), the proper remedy for the defendant’s conviction of two counts of conspiracy arising from the same unlawful agreement is vacatur. The defendant, David E. Lee, was convicted of, inter alia, conspiracy to make a false statement in the second degree in violation of General Statutes §§ 53a-157b (a) and 53a-48 (a), and conspiracy to fabricate physical evidence in violation of General Statutes §§ 53a-155 (a) (2) and 53a-48 (a), arising from a single unlawful agreement. The Appellate Court held that the defendant’s conviction of both conspiracy counts on the basis of a single unlawful agreement violated the constitutional prohibition against double jeopardy and, relying on this court’s decision in State v. Chicano, 216 Conn. 699, 724–25, 584 A.2d 425 (1990), cert. denied, 501 U.S. 1254, 111 S. Ct. 2898, 115 L. Ed. 2d 1062 (1991), remanded the case to the trial court with direction to merge the conspiracy to make a false statement in the second degree conviction into the conspiracy to fabricate physical evidence conviction, to vacate the sentence on the conviction of conspiracy to make a false statement in the second degree, and to resentence the defendant. State v. Lee, 138 Conn. App. 420, 450, 454, 52 A.3d 736 (2012). While the defendant’s petition for certification to appeal was pending before this court, we held in State v. Wright, supra, 828–30, that the proper remedy when a defendant is convicted of two counts of conspiracy arising from the same unlawful agreement in violation of double jeopardy is vacatur rather than merger. Both the defendant and the state now claim that pursuant to Wright, the defendant is entitled to have his conspiracy to make a false statement in the second degree conviction vacated. We agree.")

AC37724 - State v. Navarro ("The defendant, Francisco Navarro, appeals from the judgment of conviction, rendered after a jury trial, of attempt to commit burglary in the first degree in violation of General Statutes §§ 53a-49 and 53a-101 (a) (3), threatening in the second degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-62, and interfering with a police officer in violation of General Statutes § 53a-167a. The defendant’s identical twin brother, Jose Navarro (Jose), was charged with, and convicted of, the same offenses as the defendant and, in addition, with assault on a police officer, after the joint trial at which they were jointly represented by defense counsel. On appeal, the defendant claims that (1) the court violated his sixth amendment right to conflict free representation by conducting an inadequate inquiry into whether a conflict of interest had arisen in the joint representation and (2) counsel rendered ineffective assistance by representing him during plea negotiations, trial, and sentencing while burdened by an actual conflict of interest. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")

AC37725 - State v. Navarro ("The defendant, Jose Navarro, appeals from the judgment of conviction, rendered after a jury trial, of attempt to commit burglary in the first degree in violation of General Statutes §§ 53a-49 and 53a-101 (a) (3), threatening in the second degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-62, interfering with a police officer in violation of General Statutes § 53a-167a, and assault on a police officer in violation of General Statutes § 167c (a) (5). The defendant’s identical twin brother, Francisco Navarro (Francisco), was charged with, and convicted of, the same offenses as the defendant, with the exception of the assault on a police officer offense, after the joint trial at which they were jointly represented by defense counsel. On appeal, the defendant claims that (1) the court violated his sixth amendment right to conflict free representation by denying counsel’s request to appoint a special public defender to represent him and (2) counsel rendered ineffective assistance by representing him at trial and sentencing while burdened by an actual conflict of interest. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")

AC39377 - State v. Crenshaw ("The defendant, Darryl Crenshaw, appeals from the judgment of the trial court resentencing him to a total effective sentence of seventy-eight years imprisonment, on remand from the judgment of the Supreme Court, which had reversed, in part, his conviction of kidnapping in the second degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-94 (a). On appeal, the defendant claims that the court improperly resentenced him under the aggregate package theory, violating his right to due process of law. Specifically, the defendant argues that because the trial court did not explicitly state on the record at the original sentencing that it was sentencing the defendant under the aggregate package theory, or words to that effect, it violated the defendant’s right to due process for the court to adopt the aggregate package theory during resentencing. We disagree, and, therefore, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.")

AC37810 - State v. Caballero ("The defendant, Elvin R. Caballero, appeals from the judgment of conviction, rendered after a jury trial, of one count of conspiracy to commit larceny in the third degree in violation of General Statutes §§ 53a-48 and 53a-124, one count of larceny in the third degree as an accessory in violation of General Statutes §§ 53a-8 and 53a-124, and nine counts of forgery in the first degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-138 (a) (1). The defendant contends that the court abused its discretion in failing to grant his motion for a bill of particulars, which left him without adequate notice that he was facing conviction under subdivision (3) of § 53a-124 (a) as to the counts of conspiracy to commit larceny in the third degree and larceny in the third degree as an accessory, and thereby deprived him of his constitutional rights. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Family Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Roy, Christopher

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=403

AC38222 - Robinson v. Robinson ("The defendant, Donald J. Robinson, appeals from the judgment of the trial court denying his postjudgment motion to modify his child support obligation to the plaintiff, Margaret Robinson. The defendant claims that the court erroneously denied his motion for modification because (1) its calculation of presumptive child support was erroneous; (2) it erroneously found shared physical custody; and (3) there was no justification for ordering an upward deviation from the presumptive amount of child support provided for in the guidelines. We do not agree and affirm the judgment of the trial court.")

AC38492 - Righi v. Righi ("This family law appeal requires us to analyze the statutory requirements necessary for a party to succeed on a postjudgment motion to modify, pursuant to General Statutes § 46b-86 (a). The plaintiff, John Righi, appeals from the judgment of the trial court granting the postjudgment motion of the defendant, Allison Righi, to modify a marital dissolution judgment child support order. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court (1) improperly granted the motion to modify after determining there had not been a substantial change in circumstances; and (2) erred by finding that the dissolution court, in creating the original child support order, failed to make a finding that applying the child support guidelines would be inequitable or inappropriate, pursuant to General Statutes §§ 46b-215b (a) and 46b-86 (a). We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=402

AC38509 - State v. Prucker ("This is an action brought by the state of Connecticut, pursuant to General Statutes §§ 17b-93 and 17b-94, to recover unreimbursed public assistance payments that it had made to Tammy Wright, whom the defendant American Legal Services, LLC, successfully represented in a personal injury action arising out of a motor vehicle accident. The state alleges in its action that it was entitled to enforcement of its statutory lien on 50 percent of the net settlement proceeds retained by the defendant after it had settled Wright’s personal
injury claim against a third party.")


Habeas Appellate Court Opinions

   by Roy, Christopher

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=401

AC38431 - Arroyo v. Commissioner of Correction ("The petitioner, Reynaldo Arroyo, appeals following the denial of his petition for certification to appeal from the judgment of the habeas court denying his petition for a writ of habeas corpus. The petitioner claims that the court (1) abused its discretion in denying his petition for certification to appeal and (2) improperly concluded that his trial counsel did not provide ineffective assistance and that his claim of prosecutorial impropriety was procedurally defaulted. Because the petitioner has failed to demonstrate that the habeas court abused its discretion in denying his petition for certification to appeal, we dismiss the appeal.")

AC38359 - Brian S. v. Commissioner of Correction ("The petitioner, Brian S., appeals from the judgment of the habeas court denying his amended petition for a writ of habeas corpus. On appeal, the petitioner claims that the court erred in concluding that he failed to prove that his criminal trial counsel had provided ineffective assistance. We affirm the judgment of the habeas court.")

AC38161 - Abreu v. Commissioner of Correction ("The petitioner, Rafael Abreu, appeals from the judgment of the habeas court denying his amended petition for a writ of habeas corpus, which alleged ineffective assistance of prior habeas counsel. The petitioner claims on appeal that the habeas court improperly rejected his claim that his prior habeas counsel provided ineffective assistance by failing to pursue adequately three claims of ineffective assistance of trial counsel. Specifically, the petitioner claims that trial counsel improperly failed (1) to conduct an adequate investigation regarding a potentially exculpatory witness, (2) to offer certain evidence in support of the petitioner’s self-defense claim, and (3) to advise the petitioner properly regarding his potential sentence exposure should he proceed to trial. We affirm the judgment of the habeas court.")

AC38205 - Green v. Commissioner of Correction ("The petitioner, Courtney Green, appeals from the judgment of the habeas court denying his petition for a writ of habeas corpus. On appeal, the petitioner claims that the habeas court improperly rejected his claims that (1) he received ineffective assistance of counsel due to his attorney’s failure to advise him properly regarding the sentencing consequences of his guilty pleas, and (2) his guilty pleas were not made knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily because the trial court failed to ensure he was not under the influence of any medications that would inhibit his ability to enter guilty pleas. We conclude that the habeas court properly rejected the petitioner’s ineffective assistance of counsel claim on the ground that he failed to demonstrate prejudice as required under the test articulated in Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668, 687, 104 S. Ct. 2052, 80 L. Ed. 2d 674 (1984), as modified by Ebron v. Commissioner of Correction, 307 Conn. 342, 357, 53 A.3d 983 (2012), cert. denied sub nom. Arnone v. Ebron, U.S. , 133 S. Ct. 1726, 185 L. Ed. 2d 802 (2013). We also conclude that the petitioner’s second claim must fail as a matter of law because, although it is common practice in Connecticut and perhaps advisable to do so, the law does not require a court to determine whether a defendant’s faculties are impaired by any medications prior to accepting guilty pleas. See State v. Ocasio, 253 Conn. 375, 378–79, 751 A.2d 825 (2000). Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the habeas court.")

AC38774 - Shipman v. Commissioner of Correction ("Following a grant of certification to appeal, the petitioner, Somen Shipman, appeals from the judgment of the habeas court denying his petition for a writ of habeas corpus. On appeal, the petitioner claims that the habeas court erred by finding that his right to the effective assistance of counsel was not violated. Specifically, the petitioner claims that the court improperly found that his constitutional right to the effective assistance of counsel was not violated by his trial counsel’s failure (1) to adequately raise a Batson challenge, and (2) to present the testimony of two alibi witnesses. We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the habeas court.")


Administrative Appeal Appellate Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=393

AC38146 - Moore v. Commissioner of Motor Vehicles (Administrative appeal; appeal from decision by defendant Commissioner of Motor Vehicles suspending plaintiff's motor vehicle operator's license; "The plaintiff, Larry A. Moore, appeals from the judgment of the Superior Court dismissing his appeal from the decision of the defendant, the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles (commissioner). The decision ordered, pursuant to General Statutes § 14-227b (c), a six month suspension of the plaintiff's license to operate a motor vehicle because of his refusal to submit to chemical alcohol testing following his arrest for driving under the influence. The plaintiff claims that (1) the hearing officer's finding that he refused to submit to the chemical alcohol test was not supported by substantial evidence and (2) his due process right to present a defense was violated. We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the court.")


Criminal Law Supreme and Appellate Court Opinions

   by Booth, George

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=392

SC19375 - State v. Chyung (Murder; manslaughter first degree with firearm; "The primary issue that we must decide in this appeal is whether the trial court properly denied the defendant's motion for a judgment of acquittal and for a new trial after the jury rendered legally inconsistent guilty verdicts on charges of murder and of manslaughter in the first degree with a firearm. The state charged the defendant, Chihan Eric Chyung, with murder in violation of General Statutes § 53a-54a and manslaughter in the first degree with a firearm in violation of General Statutes § 53a-55a (a) in connection with the shooting death of his wife, Paige Chyung (victim). After a trial, the jury rendered verdicts of guilty on both charges. Thereafter, the defendant filed a motion for judgment of acquittal and for a new trial contending that the verdicts were legally inconsistent because, to convict the defendant of murder, the jury had to find that he had a specific intent to kill the victim, whereas, to convict him of manslaughter in the first degree, the jury was required to find that he acted recklessly. The trial court denied the motion on the ground that the defendant had waived the claim by failing to request a jury instruction that he could not be convicted of both charges. The trial court also concluded, however, that the verdict of guilty on the manslaughter charge must be vacated pursuant to case law holding that, when a defendant is convicted of both a greater offense and a lesser included offense, thereby violating constitutional double jeopardy principles, the proper remedy is to vacate the conviction on the lesser included offense. After vacating the guilty verdict of manslaughter in the first degree with a firearm, the trial court sentenced the defendant to forty years imprisonment on the murder charge. This appeal followed. We conclude that the trial court improperly determined that the defendant had waived the claim that the guilty verdicts on the charges of murder and manslaughter in the first degree with a firearm were legally inconsistent by failing to request a jury instruction on the issue. Rather, we conclude that legally inconsistent verdicts involve jury error that may be raised for the first time after the verdicts have been returned or on appeal. Because we conclude that the verdicts were legally inconsistent, and because there is no way for the trial court or this court to know which charge the jury found to be supported by the evidence, neither verdict can stand. Accordingly, we conclude that both guilty verdicts must be vacated and the case must be remanded to the trial court for a new trial.")

SC19492 - State v. Bush (Sale of narcotics by drug-dependent person; sale of narcotics within 1500 feet of school by drug dependent person; conspiracy to sell narcotics; racketeering; "This certified appeal presents two significant issues, namely: (1) whether a court, in determining if sufficient evidence of an enterprise exists to sustain a conviction of racketeering in violation of the Corrupt Organization and Racketeering Activity Act (CORA), General Statutes § 53-393 et seq., may consider the entire record, or is limited to the evidence concerning only those predicate "incidents of racketeering activity" found by the jury in the special verdict required by General Statutes § 53-396 (b); and (2) the degree to which a trial court has discretion to deny a motion for a continuance filed by a criminal defendant that seeks time to prepare for trial after that defendant had elected, pursuant to Faretta v. California, 422 U.S. 806, 95 S. Ct. 2525, 45 L. Ed. 2d 562 (1975), to discharge his attorney and proceed as a self-represented party. The state appeals, upon our grant of its petition for certification, from the judgment of the Appellate Court reversing the judgment of the trial court, rendered after a jury trial, convicting the defendant, Richard Bush, of six counts of the sale of narcotics by a person who is drug-dependent in violation of General Statutes § 21a-277 (a), six counts of sale of narcotics within 1500 feet of a school by a person who is drug-dependent in violation of General Statutes §§ 21a-277 and 21a-278a (b), one count of conspiracy to sell narcotics in violation of General Statutes §§ 53a-48 and 21a-278 (b), and one count of racketeering in violation of General Statutes § 53-395 (c). State v. Bush, 156 Conn. App. 256, 258–59, 112 A.3d 834 (2015). On appeal, the state claims that the Appellate Court improperly concluded that: (1) the defendant was entitled to a judgment of acquittal with respect to the racketeering conviction because the two predicate acts of racketeering, identified by the jury pursuant to § 53-396 (b), did not constitute sufficient evidence of an enterprise; and (2) a new trial was required for the remaining offenses because the denial of a continuance effectively deprived the defendant of his right of self-representation. With respect to the racketeering conviction, we conclude that the Appellate Court improperly circumscribed its sufficiency of the evidence analysis by limiting it to the two predicate acts, but nevertheless properly determined that there was insufficient evidence to support the racketeering conviction. With respect to the other convictions, we conclude that the Appellate Court improperly determined that the denial of a continuance effectively deprived the defendant of his right of self-representation. Accordingly, we affirm in part and reverse in part the judgment of the Appellate Court.")

AC37867 - State v. Morales (Intentional manslaughter in first degree with firearm; criminal possession of firearm; "The defendant, Angel Morales, appeals from the judgment of conviction, rendered after a jury trial, of intentional manslaughter in the first degree with a firearm in violation of General Statutes § 53a-55a (a) and criminal possession of a firearm in violation of General Statutes § 53a-217 (a) (1) (criminal possession). On appeal, the defendant claims that the trial court erred (1) by denying his motion to bifurcate the elements of criminal possession or to sever the murder charges brought against him from the criminal possession charge; (2) in instructing the jury on combat by agreement; and (3) in refusing to instruct the jury on the common-law defense of necessity. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")

AC37285 - Turner v. State (Petition for new trial; "The petitioner, Corey Turner, appeals from the judgment of the trial court denying on statute of limitations grounds his petition for a new trial filed pursuant to General Statutes § 52-270. The petitioner concedes that he filed his petition outside of the three year limitations period set forth in General Statutes § 52-582. Instead, he claims that the trial court improperly failed to exercise its equitable power to toll the statute of limitations, thereby unfairly denying him access to a remedy. We conclude that the petitioner's failure to comply with § 52-582 deprived the court of jurisdiction to consider the petition. Because the court should have dismissed the untimely petition, rather than having denied it, we reverse the judgment of the trial court only as to the form of the judgment and remand with direction to dismiss the petition for new trial.")


Family Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=394

AC38137 - Rubenstein v. Rubenstein ("The defendant, Bonnie Rubenstein, appeals from the judgment of the trial court modifying the periodic alimony order that she previously had been ordered to pay to the plaintiff, her former husband, Jeffrey Rubenstein. Although the defendant’s brief is not a model of clarity, her claims on appeal can be distilled as follows. The defendant claims that the trial court erred in modifying the alimony order because (1) it improperly relied upon the defendant’s receipt of an inheritance as the substantial change in circumstances upon which it based said modification, (2) it erroneously concluded that the plaintiff’s financial circumstances had worsened since 2006, and (3) it improperly changed the character of the alimony award when it ordered an increased periodic order of alimony instead of the lump sum that the plaintiff had requested. We disagree with all of the defendant’s claims, and therefore affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Juvenile Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=387

SC19798 - In re Santiago G. (Termination of parental rights; "The dispositive issue in this appeal is whether the denial of a third party's motion to intervene in a proceeding brought to terminate the parental rights of a minor child's biological mother is an appealable final judgment. The proposed intervenor, Maria G., appeals from the judgment of the trial court, Hon. Barbara M. Quinn, judge trial referee, denying her motion to intervene as of right and permissively. On appeal, Maria G. claims that her guardianship interests over the minor child, Santiago G., will effectively be extinguished if the court terminates the parental rights of the respondent Melissa E., who is Santiago's biological mother. As such, she claims to have a right to intervene or, in the alternative, that she should be granted permissive intervention. We disagree, and conclude that Maria G. does not have a colorable claim of intervention as of right and, as such, is not appealing from a final judgment. Accordingly, we dismiss this appeal for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.")


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