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Criminal Law & Procedure

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.


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.")


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.")


Criminal Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=338

SC19532 - State v. McClean (Murder; assault first degree; carrying pistol without permit; "The principal issue in this certified appeal is whether an implied waiver of a claim of instructional error pursuant to State v. Kitchens, 299 Conn. 447, 482–83, 10 A.3d 942 (2011), precludes review of that claim under the plain error doctrine. The defendant, Tajah McClain, appeals, upon our grant of his petition for certification, from the judgment of the Appellate Court affirming the judgment of conviction, rendered after a jury trial, of, inter alia, murder with a firearm in violation of General Statutes §§ 53a-54a and 53-202k. See State v. McClain, 154 Conn. App. 281, 283, 105 A.3d 924 (2014). On appeal, the defendant contends that the Appellate Court improperly determined that a Kitchens waiver precluded plain error review of his claim of instructional error because the implied acquiescence of counsel cannot waive an error of such magnitude. Further, the defendant claims that the trial court's failure to instruct the jury on consciousness of guilt resulted in manifest injustice necessitating reversal under the plain error doctrine. Although we agree with the defendant that a Kitchens waiver does not necessarily foreclose plain error review of that same claim, we conclude that the trial court's decision not to instruct the jury on consciousness of guilt in the present case was not plain error. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the Appellate Court.")


Criminal Law Supreme and Appellate Court Opinions

   by Booth, George

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=332

SC19511 - State v. Davis (Carrying pistol without permit; unlawful possession of weapon in vehicle; "In this certified appeal, the state appeals from the judgment of the Appellate Court, which reversed in part the judgment of the trial court convicting the defendant, John William Davis, Jr., of, inter alia, carrying a pistol without a permit in violation of General Statutes § 29-35 (a) and unlawful possession of a weapon in a vehicle in violation of General Statutes (Rev. to 2011) § 29-38 (a). State v. Davis, 156 Conn. App. 175, 195, 111 A.3d 567 (2015). The state contends that the Appellate Court improperly concluded that the evidence presented at trial was insufficient to support the defendant's conviction of those offenses because the state failed to offer direct evidence to prove that the defendant lacked a temporary state pistol permit issued by a town in the first instance. Id., 180–81. We agree and, accordingly, reverse in part the judgment of the Appellate Court.")

AC37913 - State v. Berthiaume (Burglary first degree; "The defendant, Toby Arthur Berthiaume, appeals from the judgment of conviction, rendered after a jury trial, of burglary in the first degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-101 (a) (2). On appeal, the defendant claims (1) there was insufficient evidence to convict him of burglary in the first degree, and (2) even if there were sufficient evidence to sustain his conviction, the trial court committed plain error by failing to exclude evidence of an eyewitness identification of the defendant. Unpersuaded by either claim, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.")

AC38397 - State v. Ames (Murder; "The defendant, Mary J. Ames, appeals from the judgment of conviction, rendered after a trial before a three judge court, of murder in violation of General Statutes § 53a-54a. On appeal, the defendant claims that the court improperly (1) concluded that she failed to prove her affirmative defense of extreme emotional disturbance by a fair preponderance of the evidence, (2) concluded that the state had disproven her self-defense claim beyond a reasonable doubt, (3) concluded that the state had established that she possessed the specific intent to cause the victim's death beyond a reasonable doubt, and (4) interrupted and questioned counsel during the parties' closing arguments in violation of her right to the assistance of counsel. We affirm the judgment of the court.")

AC39616 - State v. Carlos P. (Sexual assault in first degree; attempt to commit sexual assault in first degree; risk of injury to child; sexual assault in fourth degree; double jeopardy; "The defendant, Carlos P., appeals from the judgment of conviction, rendered after a trial to the jury, of one count of sexual assault in the first degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-70 (a) (2), one count of attempted sexual assault in the first degree in violation of General Statutes §§ 53a-49 and 53a-70 (a) (2), risk of injury to a child in violation of General Statutes § 53-21 (a) (2), and one count of sexual assault in the fourth degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-73a (a) (1) (A). On appeal, the defendant claims that (1) his convictions of sexual assault in the first degree and attempt to commit sexual assault in the first degree violate the constitutional prohibition against double jeopardy, (2) his convictions of sexual assault in the first degree and sexual assault in the fourth degree violate the constitutional prohibition against double jeopardy, (3) the court erred by rejecting his Batson challenge, and (4) the court abused its discretion by failing to disclose all of the psychiatric and medical records of the state's key witness. We reverse, in part, and affirm, in part, the judgment of the trial court.")


Criminal Law Supreme Court Opinions

   by Booth, George

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=329

SC18862 - State v. Bennett (Murder; "The defendant, Erick Bennett, directly appeals to this court following his conviction of murder in violation of General Statutes (Rev. to 2009) § 53a-54a. The defendant claims that there were numerous defects in his trial, the principal of which was that the trial court violated his constitutional right to present a defense by improperly refusing either to issue a summons to secure the attendance of a material witness in support of a theory of third-party culpability, or to allow the defendant to introduce that witness' statement to the police in lieu of her live testimony. We conclude that defense counsel's failure to locate the out-of-state witness with any reasonable degree of certainty precludes relief regarding the issuance of a summons for the witness and that none of the defendant's remaining claims warrant reversal of the trial court's judgment of conviction.")

SC19559 - State v. Marrero-Alejandro (Murder; "After examining the entire record on appeal and considering the briefs and oral arguments of the parties, we have determined that the appeal in this case should be dismissed on the ground that certification was improvidently granted.

The appeal is dismissed.")


Criminal Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Booth, George

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=322

AC38789 - State v. McCoy (Murder; subject matter jurisdiction; claim that prosecutorial impropriety during state's questioning of witness and in closing argument deprived defendant of constitutional right to fair trial; "The defendant, Kenneth Lee McCoy, appeals from the judgment of conviction, rendered after a jury trial, of murder in violation of General Statutes § 53a-54a (a). The defendant claims that (1) the state engaged in prosecutorial misconduct, thereby depriving him of his due process right to a fair trial, and (2) the court erred in dismissing his motion for a new trial for lack of jurisdiction. We disagree and affirm the judgment of the trial court.")

AC39290 - State v. Johnson (Murder; felony murder; robbery in first degree; carrying pistol without permit; "The defendant, Rashid A. Johnson, appeals from the judgment of conviction, rendered following a jury trial, of murder in violation of General Statutes § 53a-54a (a), felony murder in violation of General Statutes § 53a-54c, robbery in the first degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-134 (a) (2) and carrying a pistol without a permit in violation of General Statutes § 29-35. The defendant claims on appeal that the trial court erred in (1) admitting hearsay testimony into evidence and (2) excluding evidence that the police failed to properly investigate another party whom they considered a suspect. We disagree. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of conviction.")


Criminal Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=317

AC36987 - State v. Rios (Assault in first degree; assault in second degree; reckless endangerment in first degree; "The defendant, Alberto Rios, appeals from the judgment of conviction, rendered after a jury trial, of assault in the first degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-59 (a) (1), assault in the second degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-60 (a) (2), and three counts of reckless endangerment in the first degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-63 (a). On appeal, the defendant claims that (1) the trial court improperly denied his motion to set aside the verdict and for a new trial because the jury's verdict on several counts was legally inconsistent, and he was not afforded sufficient notice of the charges brought against him, (2) the trial court improperly permitted the state to question the defendant about the credibility of another witness and the defendant's tattoos, (3) the trial court improperly instructed the jury regarding the scope of his duty to retreat before engaging in self-defense, (4) prosecutorial improprieties during the trial deprived him of due process, and (5) this court should exercise its supervisory authority over the administration of justice and order a new trial because of the prosecutor's alleged pattern of improper conduct in this case and other cases. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Criminal Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=309

AC37982 - State v. Patterson (Burglary in second degree; attempt to commit larceny in fifth degree; "The defendant, Clarence Malcolm Patterson, appeals from the judgment of conviction, rendered after a jury trial, of one count of burglary in the second degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-102 and one count of attempted larceny in the fifth degree in violation of General Statutes §§ 53a-49 and 53a-125a. On appeal, the defendant claims that (1) the trial court erroneously denied his motion to suppress two photographic lineup identifications and one private actor identification, (2) the state improperly cross-examined his expert witness when it questioned him about the opinions of other experts and about a hypothetical question that included facts not in evidence, and (3) the prosecutor engaged in multiple acts of prosecutorial impropriety. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Criminal Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Mazur, Catherine

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=301

AC38452 - State v. Jumpp ("The defendant, Junior Jumpp, appeals from the denial of his motion for sentence modification made pursuant to General Statutes § 53a-39. The defendant has completed the sentence that was the subject of his motion. This court cannot grant the defendant any practical relief, and therefore his appeal is moot. State v. Bradley, 137 Conn. App. 585, 587 n.1, 49 A.3d 297, cert. denied, 307 Conn. 939, 56 A.3d 950 (2012); see also State v. Boyle, 287 Conn. 478, 485–86, 949 A.2d 460 (2008); State v. Scott, 83 Conn. App. 724, 726–27, 851 A.2d 353 (2004). We also summarily reject the defendant's claim that this case falls within the capable of repetition yet evading review exception to the mootness doctrine. See Loisel v. Rowe, 233 Conn. 370, 382–83, 660 A.2d 323 (1995).

"The appeal is dismissed.")

AC37635 - State v. Roberto Q. ("Following a jury trial, the defendant, Roberto Q., was found guilty of one count of sexual assault in the second degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-71 (a) (1), one count of sexual assault in the third degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-72a (a) (2), one count of sexual assault in the fourth degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-73a (a) (1) (B), and one count of risk of injury to a child in violation of General Statutes § 53-21 (a) (2). The defendant's niece, S.A. (victim), was between the ages of twelve and fourteen years old at the time of the assaults. The court rendered judgment in accordance with the jury verdict and sentenced the defendant to a total effective sentence of twenty years incarceration, suspended after ten years, followed by fifteen years of probation.

"On appeal, the defendant claims that the court improperly instructed the jury on the use of constancy of accusation evidence, and that the court erred by denying his motion for a mistrial after the state inadvertently elicited testimony concerning uncharged prior misconduct by the defendant. The state responds that the court properly instructed the jury on the use of constancy evidence, and that the court issued a curative instruction regarding the uncharged prior misconduct testimony, thereby avoiding the need for a mistrial. We conclude that the court's jury instruction was proper, and that the court did not err in denying the defendant's motion for mistrial. Accordingly, we 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=290

SC19466 - State v. Ayala (Interfering with officer; certification from Appellate Court; "We consider in this appeal whether allowing the state to amend an information after the commencement of trial to charge additional offenses without good cause constitutes per se reversible error. The state appeals, upon our grant of certification, from the judgment of the Appellate Court reversing the judgment of conviction of the defendant, Enrique Ayala, of three counts of interfering with an officer in violation of General Statutes § 53a-167a. See State v. Ayala, 154 Conn. App. 631, 656, 106 A.3d 941 (2015). The state contends that, in the absence of prejudice, the trial court's decision to allow a midtrial amendment charging additional offenses was neither an abuse of discretion nor reversible error. We conclude that, although the trial court abused its discretion in allowing the state to amend the information without good cause to charge additional offenses, that impropriety would not require reversal of the defendant's conviction on the amended charges in the absence of prejudice. We further conclude, however, that the Appellate Court's judgment must be affirmed because the improper amendment was not harmless beyond a reasonable doubt under the circumstances of this case.")

AC38394 - State v. Burgos (Sexual assault in first degree; risk of injury to child; aggravated sexual assault of minor; attempt to escape; "The defendant, Christopher Burgos, appeals from the judgments of conviction, rendered after a jury trial, of one count of sexual assault in the first degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-70 (a) (2), one count of risk of injury to a child in violation of General Statutes § 53-21 (a) (2), one count of aggravated sexual assault of a minor in violation of General Statutes § 53a-70c (a) (1), and, in a separate information, one count of attempt to escape from custody in violation of General Statutes §§ 53a-49 (a) (2) and 53a-171 (a) (1). On appeal, the defendant claims that the trial court erred (1) by not sua sponte ordering pretrial and posttrial competency hearings and canvassing him on his purported right to testify at those hearings; (2) in joining the sexual assault information and the escape information for trial; (3) in denying his motion to suppress evidence seized from his apartment; and (4) in denying his motion to vacate his convictions for sexual assault in the first degree and risk of injury to a child on double jeopardy grounds. We affirm the judgment in part, and we reverse the judgment in part.")

AC36006 - State v. Catchings (Attempt to commit assault in first degree; assault of peace officer; carrying pistol or revolver without permit; sufficiency of evidence; "The defendant, Marcellus Catchings, appeals from the judgment of conviction, rendered after a jury trial, of attempt to commit assault in the first degree in violation of General Statutes §§ 53a-49 (a) (2) and 53a-59 (a) (1). On appeal, the defendant claims that there was insufficient evidence to establish beyond a reasonable doubt his intent to inflict serious physical injury on another person, as required for a conviction of attempt to commit assault in the first degree. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")

AC38932 - State v. Medina (Capital felony; conspiracy to commit murder; "The defendant, Jose E. Medina, appeals from the judgment of conviction, rendered after a jury trial, of capital felony in violation of General Statutes (Rev. 2011) § 53a-54b (7) and General Statutes § 53a-8 (a), and conspiracy to commit murder in violation of General Statutes §§ 53a-48 (a) and 53a-54a (a). On appeal, the defendant claims that the trial court improperly allowed the jury to consider inculpatory statements in violation of his federal constitutional rights where the record is clear that either (1) the detectives failed to advise the defendant of his Miranda rights prior to their custodial interrogation of him, or (2) the Miranda waiver that the defendant gave was not knowing, intelligent, and voluntary because he was under the influence of phencyclidine (PCP). We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")

AC34970 - State v. Connor (Kidnapping first degree; robbery third degree; robbery involving occupied motor vehicle; larceny third degree; determination of competency to stand trial; determination of competency for self-representation; "This case returns to us following a remand by our Supreme Court. On remand, our Supreme Court has directed us to consider whether the trial court improperly determined that the defendant, Jeffrey T. Connor, was competent to represent himself at his criminal trial. State v. Connor, 321 Conn. 350, 375, 138 A.3d 265 (2016). Having considered that question, we conclude that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in determining that the defendant was competent to represent himself. Accordingly, we 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=273

SC19183 - State v. Lester (Sexual assault first degree; sexual assault fourth degree; risk of injury to child; persistent serious sexual offender; "In this case, we are asked to decide whether the trial court improperly excluded evidence of the victim’s prior sexual assault allegation and the subsequent investigation when it was offered by the defendant, Edward Lester, to show the victim’s lack of credibility and an alternative source of the victim’s advanced sexual knowledge. The defendant was charged with two counts of sexual assault in the first degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-70 (a) (2), three counts of sexual assault in the fourth degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-73a (a) (1) (a), and one count of risk of injury to a child in violation of General Statutes § 53-21 (a) (2), based on allegations that on multiple occasions he sexually assaulted his girlfriend’s daughter, who was eight years old at the time of the alleged conduct. During the course of the trial, the trial court granted the state’s motion in limine to exclude evidence of the victim’s prior sexual conduct, including a prior allegation of sexual abuse made by the victim, when she was five years old, against her father’s then wife. The jury found the defendant guilty on all counts and the trial court thereafter rendered judgment in accordance with the verdict. See footnote 3 of this opinion. The defendant appeals to this court, claiming that the trial court improperly excluded evidence of the prior allegation and subsequent investigation. We dismiss the defendant’s appeal as moot because the defendant has not challenged all of the trial court’s bases for its evidentiary ruling.")

AC38567 - State v. Mark (Tampering with evidence; motion for judgment of acquittal; sufficiency of evidence; "The state appeals from the judgment of the trial court setting aside the jury's verdict finding the defendant, Michael Mark, guilty of one count of tampering with evidence in violation of General Statutes (Rev. to 2010) § 53a-155 (a). The state claims that the evidence was sufficient to support the jury's verdict of guilty. We agree with the state and reverse the judgment of the trial court. ")

AC38566 - State v. Mark (Murder; felony murder; robbery in first degree; conspiracy to commit robbery in degree; double jeopardy; third party culpability; "The defendant, Michael Mark, appeals from the judgment of conviction, rendered after a jury trial, of one count each of murder in violation of General Statutes § 53a-54a (a), 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 § 53a-134 (a) (3), and conspiracy to commit robbery in violation of General Statutes §§ 53a-48 (a) and 53a-134. On appeal, the defendant claims that the trial court (1) abused its discretion by excluding evidence that supported his third party culpability defense, and (2) violated his constitutional right against double jeopardy guaranteed by the fifth and fourteenth amendments to the United States constitution and article first, §§ 8 and 9, of the constitution of Connecticut. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")

AC36541, AC36543 - State v. Brito (Possession of narcotics with intent to sell; possession of hallucinogenic substance; motion to suppress; "In this consolidated appeal, the defendant, Edwin Brito, appeals from the judgments of conviction rendered by the trial court following his conditional pleas of nolo contendere made pursuant to General Statutes § 54-94a. In one case, the defendant pleaded guilty to one count of possession of a hallucinogenic substance in violation of General Statutes § 21a-279 (b) and, in the other case, the defendant pleaded guilty to one count of possession of a narcotic substance with intent to sell in violation of General Statutes § 21a-277 (a). The defendant entered the pleas after the court denied his two motions to suppress certain evidence that the police discovered following two warrantless searches. These searches were incident to two unrelated traffic stops involving the defendant. As he did before the trial court, the defendant challenges the constitutionality of these searches. We affirm the judgments of the trial court.")

AC37394 - State v. Mitchell (Sale of narcotic substance; sale of narcotic substance within 1500 feet of public school; "The defendant, Yuwell Mitchell, appeals from the judgment of conviction, rendered following a jury trial, on the charges of sale of a narcotic substance in violation of General Statutes § 21a-278 (b) and sale of a narcotic substance within 1500 feet of a school in violation of General Statutes § 21a-278a (b). On appeal, the defendant claims that the trial court's jury instruction to continue deliberations after the jury reported that it was unable to reach a verdict violated his right to a fair trial by coercing the jurors to reach a unanimous verdict without providing a cautionary reminder of their duties as individual jurors not to agree to a verdict unless they personally agree to it under the court's instructions as applied to the evidence before them. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Criminal Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=263

SC19662 - State v. Holley (Criminal possession of firearm; "EVELEIGH, J. The defendant, Jubar T. Holley, appeals from the judgment of conviction rendered by the trial court following his pleas of nolo contendere; see General Statutes § 54-94a; to four counts of criminal possession of a firearm in violation of General Statutes (Rev. to 2013) § 53a-217 (a). The defendant entered these pleas after the trial court's denial of his motion to suppress certain evidence discovered following the execution of a search warrant at his house. In this appeal, the defendant claims that the trial court improperly denied his motion to suppress certain evidence seized as a result of the search warrant that the defendant claims was issued without a showing of probable cause in violation of the fourth amendment to the United States constitution and article first, § 7, of the Connecticut constitution. We disagree with the defendant and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Criminal Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Townsend, Karen

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=258

AC37200- State v. J.M.F. (“On appeal, the defendant raises the following seven claims: (1) the trial court abused its discretion by imposing a sanction against him that precluded him from raising an affirmative defense of mental disease or defect, ultimately violating his constitutional rights to present a defense and to due process of law; (2) the trial court erroneously concluded that he unequivocally invoked his right to self-representation and that he knowingly, intelligently, and voluntary waived his right to counsel; (3) the trial court deprived him of his right to due process of law by failing to order, sua sponte, that he undergo a competency evaluation; (4) the state unconstitutionally interfered with his right to counsel; (5) the trial court improperly continued to trial despite the existence of an appellate stay, which rendered the results of the trial void ab initio; (6) the trial court abused its discretion by not appointing a special public defender, ultimately violating his constitutional rights to counsel and to due process of law; and (7) the trial court violated his rights to due process of law and to present a defense when it refused his request to instruct the jury on renunciation and diminished capacity. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.”)

AC37552- State v. Juan C. ("On appeal, the defendant claims that the trial court, Bentivegna, J., improperly (1) refused to grant his request for a continuance of his trial, and (2) denied his motion for a judgment of acquittal as to the first count, sexual assault in the first degree. We affirm the trial court’s judgment in part and reverse the judgment in part.")


Criminal Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=253

SC19497 - State v. A.M. ("In this certified appeal, we consider whether the state deprived the defendant, A. M., of his fifth amendment right to remain silent when the prosecutor twice noted during closing arguments that the defendant had not testified in his own defense. After a trial, a jury found the defendant guilty of multiple offenses, including sexual assault in the first degree, attempt to commit sexual assault in the first degree, and risk of injury to a child. The trial court rendered judgment in accordance with the jury’s verdict, and the defendant appealed to the Appellate Court. In his appeal, the defendant claimed, among other things, that the prosecutor’s comments during closing argument were improper because they infringed on his fifth amendment right to remain silent, depriving him of a fair trial. The Appellate Court agreed and reversed the judgment and remanded the case for a new trial. State v. A. M., 156 Conn. App. 138, 156, 111 A.3d 974 (2015). We agree that the prosecutor’s comments were improper and we find that the state has failed in its burden of proof to show that the comments were harmless beyond a reasonable doubt. Therefore, we affirm the judgment of the Appellate Court")


Criminal Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=249

AC37878 - State v. Barber (Violation of probation; "The defendant, Alexander Barber, appeals from the judgment of the trial court finding him in violation of the terms and conditions of his probation, and sentencing him to seven years incarceration after revoking that probation. The defendant asks that we find plain error, vacate his sentence, and order the trial court to resentence him. Specifically, the defendant claims that the court found that he had violated the terms of his probation, in part, merely by being arrested, and then sentenced him on that basis. We 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=239

SC19663 - State v. Delgado (Murder; "Under recent changes to juvenile sentencing law, a court may not sentence a juvenile who has been convicted of murder to life imprisonment without parole unless the court considers mitigating factors associated with the juvenile's young age at the time of the crime. In the present appeal, we must determine how these changes in juvenile sentencing law impact individuals who were sentenced before the changes occurred. The defendant, Melvin Delgado, was sentenced to sixty-five years imprisonment without parole in 1996 for crimes that he committed when he was sixteen years old. Although he is now eligible for parole following the passage of No. 15-84 of the 2015 Public Acts (P.A. 15-84), he filed a motion to correct his allegedly illegal sentence, claiming that he is entitled to be resentenced because the judge who sentenced him failed to consider youth related mitigating factors. The trial court rejected the defendant's claim and dismissed his motion to correct, and the defendant has appealed to this court. We affirm the trial court's dismissal of the motion to correct.")

SC19673 - State v. Boyd (Murder; "The defendant, Ray Boyd, appeals from the trial court's dismissal of his motion to correct an illegal sentence for lack of jurisdiction. The defendant, who was sentenced to fifty years imprisonment without parole in 1992 for a crime that he committed when he was seventeen years old, contends that he is entitled to resentencing on the basis of recent changes to juvenile sentencing law. We discussed this precise issue in State v. Delgado, 323 Conn. ___, ___ A.3d ___ (2016), and our resolution of the defendant's appeal is controlled by our decision in that case. We affirm the trial court's dismissal of the defendant's motion to correct.")

AC38088 - State v. Fernandez (Risk of injury to child; sexual assault in second degree; sexual assault in fourth degree; prosecutorial impropriety; "The defendant, Ruffino Fernandez, appeals following his conviction of one count each of risk of injury to a child in violation of General Statutes § 53-21 (a) (2), sexual assault in the second degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-71 (a) (1), and sexual assault in the fourth degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-73a (a) (1) (B). The defendant claims that (1) the trial court abused its discretion by not permitting him to make a missing witness argument during closing remarks; (2) the state committed prosecutorial impropriety by basing part of its closing argument on facts not in evidence; and (3) he was deprived of his rights to an impartial tribunal and a fair trial when the trial court made comments in front of the jury that bolstered the credibility of the victim. We disagree with the defendant and affirm the judgment of conviction.")

AC37464 - State v. Fernando V. (Sexual assault in second degree; risk of injury to child; "The defendant, Fernando V., appeals from the judgment of conviction, rendered following a jury trial, of one count of sexual assault in the second degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-71 (a) (1), one count of sexual assault in the second degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-71 (a) (4), and two counts of risk of injury to a child in violation of General Statutes § 53-21 (a) (2). The defendant claims on appeal that the trial court improperly precluded him from presenting testimony from the complainant's boyfriend of four years. In particular, the defendant argues that the boyfriend's testimony was relevant to counter the state's evidence that she had become more withdrawn or exhibited other characteristics generally associated with sexually abused young adults, as testified to by the state's expert witness, as well as to impeach testimony that the defendant had tried to prevent the complainant from associating with boys of her own age. We agree that the boyfriend's testimony improperly was excluded by the court and that its exclusion was not harmless error under the circumstances of this case. Accordingly, we reverse the judgment of conviction and order a new trial.")


Criminal Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=241

SC19578 - State v. Samuel M. (Juvenile summons; automatic transfer of case from juvenile docket to regular criminal docket of Superior Court pursuant to statute ([Rev. to 2009] § 46b-127 [a]) because defendant was fourteen years old at time of alleged offenses; sexual assault in first degree; risk of injury to child; "In this certified appeal, we are asked to determine whether the state has satisfied its burden to prove that a defendant whose case was automatically transferred from the juvenile docket to the regular criminal docket of the Superior Court was at least fourteen years of age at the time he allegedly engaged in the criminal conduct underlying the charged offenses. The defendant, Samuel M., was charged by juvenile information with the crimes of sexual assault in the first degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-70 and risk of injury to a child in violation of General Statutes § 53-21, based on seven incidents involving his minor cousin (victim), which the state alleged to have occurred "on or about June, 2009." Based on the seriousness of the offenses and the allegation that the defendant's criminal conduct occurred in June, 2009, when the defendant was fourteen years old, the case was automatically transferred from the juvenile docket to the regular criminal docket of the Superior Court pursuant to General Statutes (Rev. to 2009) § 46b-127 (a). After a jury trial, the defendant was convicted of two counts of sexual assault in the first degree and one count of risk of injury to a child based on two separate incidents. The Appellate Court vacated the defendant's convictions, holding that the trial court had improperly denied the defendant's posttrial motion to dismiss the amended information because the state had failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the two incidents had occurred after the defendant's fourteenth birthday. State v. Samuel M., 159 Conn. App. 242, 284–85, 123 A.3d 44 (2015). Because we agree with the Appellate Court that the state did not establish under any burden of proof that the defendant was fourteen years of age at the time he committed the offenses of which he was convicted, we affirm the judgment of the Appellate Court.")


Criminal Law Supreme Court Opinions

   by Booth, George

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=237

SC19627 - State v. Spielberg (Petition for order of erasure of records of decriminalized offense pursuant to statute (§ 54-142d); "In this appeal, we are asked to decide whether the defendant, Max Spielberg, is entitled to erasure of the records of his conviction of possession of less than four ounces of marijuana in violation of General Statutes (Rev. to 2009) § 21a-279 (c), despite the lack of any factual record as to the amount of marijuana he possessed at the time of his arrest. The defendant appeals from the judgment of the trial court denying his petition for an order of erasure. He contends that because possession of less than one-half ounce of marijuana has been decriminalized; see Public Acts 2011, No. 11-71, § 2 (P.A. 11-71); the trial court improperly concluded that he was not entitled to erasure of the records of this conviction pursuant to General Statutes § 54-142d. Because this court’s decision in State v. Menditto, 315 Conn. 861, 110 A.3d 410 (2015), clarified Connecticut case law while this appeal was pending, the judgment of the trial court is reversed and the case is remanded to that court to conduct an evidentiary hearing on the defendant’s petition for an order of erasure.")

SC19503 - State v. Tilus (Robbery in first degree; "After examining the entire record on appeal and considering the briefs and oral arguments of the parties, we have determined that the appeal in this case should be dismissed on the ground that certification was improvidently granted.

The appeal is dismissed.")


Criminal Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Booth, George

 http://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=231

AC36257 - State v. Hayward (Larceny in first degree; "The defendant, Mark Hayward, appeals from the judgment of conviction, rendered after a jury trial, of larceny in the first degree in violation of General Statutes §§ 53a-119 and 53a-122 (a) (2). On appeal, the defendant claims that there was insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he intended to permanently deprive the victim of his property. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")

AC38916 - State v. Walker (Murder; conspiracy to commit murder; robbery in first degree; conspiracy to commit robbery in first degree; "The defendant, Joseph Walker, appeals from the judgment of conviction, rendered after a jury trial, of murder in violation of General Statutes § 53a-54a (a), conspiracy to commit murder in violation of General Statutes §§ 53a-48 and 53a-54a (a), robbery in the first degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-134 (a) (2), conspiracy to commit robbery in the first degree in violation of General Statutes §§ 53a-48 and 53a-134 (a) (2), and criminal possession of a firearm in violation of General Statutes § 53a-217 (a) (1). On appeal, the defendant claims (1) there was insufficient evidence to support his conviction for robbery in the first degree and conspiracy to commit robbery in the first degree; (2) the court improperly instructed the jury on the elements of conspiracy to commit robbery in the first degree; and (3) the court committed plain error by failing to instruct the jury on accomplice or informant testimony. We affirm in part and reverse in part the judgment of the trial court.")


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