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Criminal Law & Procedure

Criminal Law Supreme Court Slip Opinion

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5245

SC210039 Order on Motion - State v. Pan (“The defendant, Qinxuan Pan, seeks review of the trial court’s denial of his motion for modification of the $20 million bond that was set in connection with murder charges against him. The defendant claims that the trial court, Harmon, J., abused its discretion in denying his motion to modify the $20 million bond set at his arraignment by the trial court, B. Fischer, J., because (1) the bail amount is unreasonably high, and (2) the trial court incorrectly concluded that it lacked the authority under Practice Book § 38-8 to grant the defendant’s request for a 10 percent cash option. Although we conclude that the $20 million bond amount was not an abuse of the trial court’s discretion given the extraordinary flight risk and public safety considerations presented in this case, we agree with the defendant’s second claim and conclude that remand to the trial court is necessary for that court to consider its authority to grant a 10 percent cash option. Because this case highlights the existence of several substantive and procedural issues concerning the information on which the judges of the Superior Court rely in setting reasonable bond amounts, we also address the procedures applicable to any future bond modification proceedings. Accordingly, we grant the defendant’s petition for review, and we grant the relief requested in part.”)


Criminal Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5237

SC20367 - State v. Ares ( Criminal; Whether evidence insufficient for conviction under act prong of risk of injury to a child in violation of General Statutes § 53-21 (a) (1); Whether risk of injury statute unconstitutionally vague as applied; Whether defendant improperly convicted under situation prong of risk of injury statute for which he was not charged; "After a bench trial, the defendant, Angel Ares, was convicted of one count of arson in the first degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-111, eight counts of reckless endangerment in the first degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-63, and four counts of risk of injury to a child in violation of General Statutes § 53-21 (a) (1). In the present appeal, the defendant challenges only his convictions of risk of injury to a child by raising the following three claims of error: (1) there was insufficient evidence to support a conviction under the act prong of § 53-21 (a) (1) because the state had failed to adduce any proof that he had "perpetrated an act directly on the person of a minor" as required by the judicial gloss first imposed by this court in State v. Schriver, 207 Conn. 456, 542 A.2d 686 (1988); (2) the act prong of § 53-21 (a) (1) is unconstitutionally vague as applied to him because the conduct proven by the state falls outside of that very same gloss; and (3) the trial court improperly convicted him under the situation prong of § 53-21 (a) (1) when the state's allegations against him were limited to only the act prong of that statute. Although our reading of Schriver and its progeny leads us to reject the defendant's first two claims on this record, we agree with the defendant that the trial court committed reversible error by applying the incorrect elements and convicting the defendant under the situation prong, a provision he was not formally charged with violating. Accordingly, we reverse the trial court's judgment of conviction with respect to the counts of risk of injury to a child and remand the case for a new trial only as to those four counts.")


Criminal Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5234

SC20495 - State v. Washington (“On appeal, the defendant claims that (1) the trial court erred when it in admitted into evidence recordings of phone calls that the defendant made while incarcerated, thereby permitting the state to use the defendant’s postarrest silence against him, (2) the trial court erred when it instructed the jury regarding adoptive admissions and combat by agreement, respectively, (3) the prosecutor committed improprieties during certain portions of his closing argument, and (4) the trial court erred in denying the defendant’s motion for a new trial, in light of fact that the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the jury’s deliberations. Although we conclude that the majority of the defendant’s claims are without merit, we agree with his contention that the trial court improperly instructed the jury on combat by agreement, as there was insufficient evidence presented at trial to warrant the instruction. We nevertheless conclude that the error was harmless and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of conviction.”)


Criminal Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5223

SC20235 - State v. Ortega (Tender years exception to the hearsay rule, § 54-86l (a) (1); Conn. Code Evid. § 8-10; “On appeal, the defendant claims that the trial court abused its discretion by, inter alia, (1) admitting into evidence certain out-of-court statements of the victim, N,2 under the tender years exception to the hearsay rule, (2) admitting a transcript, which had been modified by N’s mother, Joselin, of a recorded conversation between N and Joselin, and (3) denying the defendant’s request for a continuance during trial. We conclude that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in admitting the out-of-court statements of N under the tender years exception. We further conclude that the defendant failed to preserve his claim that the court abused its discretion in admitting the modified transcript and that the record does not support the defendant’s claim that the court denied his request for a continuance. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.”)



Criminal Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5213

SC20437 - State v. Johnson (“On appeal, the defendant claims that (1) the admission of the testimony of a forensic biologist and a DNA analyst violated his rights under the confrontation clause of the sixth amendment to the United States constitution, (2) the state violated his due process rights by failing to correct the false or substantially misleading testimony of its witnesses, and (3) the use of the term ‘victim’ by the prosecutor and some of the state’s witnesses during the trial prejudiced him. We conclude that the defendant’s claims fail and, accordingly, affirm the judgment.”)


Criminal Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5201

AC44238 - State v. Ardizzone (Application for discharge from jurisdiction of Psychiatric Security Review Board; “On appeal, the acquittee claims that there is no evidence in the record to support the court’s finding that he suffered from a qualifying mental illness that caused him to be a danger to himself or others. We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the trial court.”)

AC44211 - State v. Marcello E. (Assault first degree; uncharged misconduct; Connecticut Code of Evidence § 4-5 (c); “On appeal, the defendant claims that the trial court improperly admitted uncharged misconduct evidence. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.”)


Criminal Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5197

SC20520 - State v. Lori T. (“In this certified appeal, we must examine the meaning of certain language used in General Statutes § 53a-98 (a) (3), a provision that criminalizes custodial interference. Specifically, we must determine whether the actions, or inactions, of the defendant, Lori T., were sufficient to satisfy the ‘‘otherwise refuses to return a child’’ aspect of custodial interference in the second degree. General Statutes § 53a-98 (a) (3). The defendant appeals from the judgment of the Appellate Court, affirming the judgment of conviction, rendered after a jury trial, of three counts of custodial interference in the second degree. See State v. Lori T., 197 Conn. App. 675, 677, 696, 232 A.3d 13 (2020). On appeal, the defendant claims that the Appellate Court incorrectly concluded that § 53a-98 (a) (3) is not unconstitutionally vague as applied to her and that the evidence was sufficient to support her conviction. See id., 677. We affirm the judgment of the Appellate Court.”)


Criminal Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5188

AC44736 - Myers v. State (“On appeal, the petitioner claims that the habeas court improperly (1) concluded that he failed to show that his trial counsel had performed deficiently, (2) rejected his actual innocence claim, and (3) determined that his due process rights were not violated. The petitioner further claims that the habeas court erred in denying his request for a capias and a continuance so that the petitioner could secure the appearance of an exculpatory witness at his habeas trial. In Docket No. AC 44736, the petitioner appeals, following the denial of his petition for certification to appeal, from the judgment of the trial court dismissing his petition for a new trial. The petitioner claims on appeal that the trial court erred in determining that his petition for a new trial was time barred pursuant to General Statutes § 52-582. As to AC 44679, we affirm the judgment of the habeas court. As to AC 44736, we dismiss the petitioner’s appeal.”)


Criminal Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5176

SC20447 - State v. Graham (“On appeal, the defendant claims that (1) the trial court erred in admitting the statement of an accomplice that inculpated the defendant, in violation of § 8-6 (4) of the Connecticut Code of Evidence and the defendant’s sixth amendment right to confrontation, (2) the prosecutor committed impropriety by presenting a generic tailoring argument during closing argument, which violated the defendant’s confrontation rights under our state constitution, and (3) the prosecutor committed impropriety by eliciting certain information contained in two witnesses’ cooperation agreements and by presenting closing argument related to those materials. We affirm the judgment of conviction.”)


Criminal Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5167

SC20512 - State v. Flores (Home invasion; burglary in the first degree; attempt to commit robbery in the first; conspiracy to commit home invasion; “On appeal, he claims that (1) the trial court improperly denied his motion to suppress his written statement to the police, who failed to comply with the requirements of General Statutes § 54-1o, (2) the trial court improperly admitted into evidence the entirety of the cooperation agreement between the state and his accomplice, Benjamin J. Bellavance, including portions regarding Bellavance’s obligation to testify truthfully, and (3) there was insufficient evidence to convict him of attempt to commit robbery in the first degree, home invasion predicated on attempt to commit robbery in the first degree, burglary in the first degree, home invasion predicated on burglary in the first degree, and conspiracy to commit home invasion. We affirm the judgment of conviction.”)


Criminal Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5164

AC44179 - State v. Gamer (“On appeal, the defendant principally claims that (1) there was insufficient evidence to support the court’s finding that he wilfully failed to pay restitution and (2) the court abused its discretion by imposing a term of imprisonment in light of his purported inability to pay restitution. We conclude that the court neither erred in finding that the defendant wilfully failed to pay restitution nor abused its discretion in revoking the defendant’s probation and sentencing him to a term of imprisonment. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.”)

AC44242 - State v. White (“On appeal, the defendant claims that (1) there was insufficient evidence to support his conviction of assault in the first degree as an accessory, and (2) the trial court improperly instructed the jury by omitting an essential element of the offense, namely, the defendant’s intent or knowledge that the principal would discharge a firearm during the offense. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.”)


Criminal Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5154

SC20442 - State v. Mekoshvili (“The question presented by this appeal is whether jurors, in order to reject a criminal defendant’s claim of self-defense, must unanimously agree as to which component or factor of that defense the state has disproven beyond a reasonable doubt. The Appellate Court, which affirmed the murder conviction of the defendant, Shota Mekoshvili, answered that question in the negative. State v. Mekoshvili, 195 Conn. App. 154, 164, 170, 223 A.3d 834 (2020). The Appellate Court read this court’s precedents in State v. Bailey, 209 Conn. 322, 551 A.2d 1206 (1988), and State v. Diggs, 219 Conn. 295, 592 A.2d 949 (1991), to mean that, although a jury must reject a self-defense claim unanimously before it may find a defendant guilty, there is generally no requirement that jurors agree on which specific factor of Connecticut’s four factor test for self-defense the state has disproven. See State v. Mekoshvili, supra, 167–70. We agree and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the Appellate Court.”)


Criminal Law Supreme Court Slip Opinion

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5149

SC20476 - State v. Patrick M. (“On appeal, the defendant raises four claims: (1) the evidence was insufficient to establish his identity as the perpetrator of the crimes of conviction; (2) the prosecutor violated the proscriptions set forth in Doyle v. Ohio, 426 U.S. 610, 96 S. Ct. 2240, 49 L. Ed. 2d 91 (1976), by improperly commenting on the defendant’s exercise of his right to remain silent following his arrest and advisement of rights pursuant to Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 86 S. Ct. 1602, 16 L. Ed. 2d 694 (1966); (3) the prosecutor’s comments during closing argument on the defendant’s post-Miranda silence and pretrial incarceration constituted prosecutorial improprieties that deprived the defendant of his due process right to a fair trial; and (4) the trial court improperly admitted evidence of the defendant’s prior uncharged misconduct in violation of our rules of evidence. We conclude that the evidence was sufficient to support the defendant’s conviction but that the prosecutor improperly commented on the defendant’s post-Miranda silence. We therefore reverse the conviction and remand the case for a new trial.”)


Criminal Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5142

AC44472 - In re Police Case Numbers: Meriden PD 20-003903, 20-005055 & Berlin PD 2020-11662 (Motions to quash search and seizure warrant; subject matter jurisdiction; mootness; "Anthony Lazzari appeals from the judgment of the trial court dismissing his emergency motions seeking, inter alia, to quash a search and seizure warrant. The court determined that, because there was no pending criminal action against Lazzari, it lacked subject matter jurisdiction over the motions. On appeal, Lazzari claims that the court had jurisdiction over the motions despite the absence of a pending criminal action. Since Lazzari filed this appeal, however, events have rendered the appeal moot. Accordingly, we dismiss the appeal for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.")


Criminal Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5136

SC20555 - State vs. Hinds (Conviction of murder, carrying a dangerous weapon; “Following a jury trial, the defendant, Metese Hinds, was convicted of murder in violation of General Statutes § 53a-54a (a) and carrying a dangerous weapon in violation of General Statutes § 53-206 (a). On appeal, he claims that two instances of prosecutorial impropriety, which occurred during the state’s closing and rebuttal arguments, deprived him of his due process right to a fair trial. We disagree and affirm the judgment of conviction.”)


Criminal Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5135

SC20554 - State v. Freeman (“The sole issue on appeal is whether the prosecution of the defendant was time barred by the five year statute of limitations set forth in General Statutes (Rev. to 2017) § 54-193 (b)1 on the ground that the state failed to establish that the warrant for the defendant’s arrest was executed without unreasonable delay. See State v. Swebilius, 325 Conn. 793, 802, 159 A.3d 1099 (2017); State v. Crawford, 202 Conn. 443, 451, 521 A.2d 1034 (1987). We conclude that the state failed to produce sufficient evidence to establish that the arrest warrant was executed with due diligence, and, accordingly, we reverse the judgment of the Appellate Court.”)


Criminal Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Oumano, Emily

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5134

AC44427 - State v. Sweet (“The defendant, Derek R. Sweet, appeals from the judgment of conviction, rendered after a jury trial, of one count of larceny in the third degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-124 (a) (2), and one count of identity theft in the third degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-129d (a).On appeal, the defendant claims that (1) there was insufficient evidence to sustain the jury's verdict of guilty of larceny in the third degree and (2) the court erred in admitting certain hearsay evidence.We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of conviction.”)


Criminal Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5123

SC20550 - State v. Schimanski (Whether Appellate Court properly upheld trial court's denial of defendant's motion to dismiss charge of operating motor vehicle with suspended license under General Statutes § 14-215 (c) (1); "The defendant, Anastasia Schimanski, appeals from the judgment of the Appellate Court upholding the trial court's denial of the defendant's motion to dismiss the charge of operating a motor vehicle while her license was under suspension in violation of General Statutes § 14-215 (c) (1). The defendant claims that the Appellate Court incorrectly determined that the forty-five day license suspension period imposed by General Statutes (Rev. to 2017) § 14-227b (i) (1) on persons who refuse to submit to a chemical analysis of their blood, breath, or urine, as required by § 14-227b (b), does not terminate upon the expiration of the forty-five days specified in the statute but, rather, continues indefinitely until such time as the persons subject to the suspension install an ignition interlock device (IID) on their vehicles. The defendant contends that, because the conduct underlying her conviction occurred after the expiration of the forty-five day suspension period authorized by § 14-227b (i) (1), the state could not lawfully charge her pursuant to § 14-215 (c) (1). We agree with the defendant and, accordingly, reverse in part the judgment of the Appellate Court.")


Criminal Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5121

AC44630 - State v. Gonzalez (“On appeal, the defendant claims that the court improperly determined that No. 18-63, § 2, of the 2018 Public Acts (P.A. 18-63), which amended General Statutes (Rev. to 2017) § 54-125e (b) to require that a trial court determine that a period of special parole is necessary to ensure public safety before imposing a period of special parole, did not retroactively apply to his 2017 sentence. See General Statutes § 54-125e (b) (1). Specifically, the defendant claims that (1) § 54-125e, as amended by § 2 of P.A. 18-63, is a procedural statute presumed to apply retroactively, and (2) the legislature, through passing § 2 of P.A. 18-63, intended to clarify § 54-125e, rather than change the law. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.”)

AC44806 - State v. Turner (“On appeal, the defendant claims (1) that the court erred in dismissing his motion to correct an illegal sentence, in which he alleged that the sentencing court made materially false assumptions about his potential for rehabilitation, for failure to state a colorable claim, and (2) he is entitled to an evidentiary hearing to present expert testimony on juvenile brain science in support of his motion to correct. We agree with the defendant’s contention that the court improperly dismissed his motion to correct on the ground that he failed to state a colorable claim but, nevertheless, conclude that the defendant was not entitled to a new sentencing hearing on the basis of the ground alleged in his motion. Additionally, we disagree with the defendant’s assertion that he was entitled to an evidentiary hearing. Accordingly, the form of the trial court’s judgment is improper in that the court should have denied, rather than dismissed, the defendant’s motion to correct an illegal sentence.”)


Criminal Law Supreme Court Slip Opinion

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5116

SC20303 - State vs. Peluso (“On appeal to this court, the defendant contends that the Appellate Court incorrectly concluded that the state had demonstrated good cause to amend its information during trial and that the defendant’s substantive rights would not be prejudiced by the late amendment. See id., 501. We agree with the defendant and, accordingly, reverse the judgment of the Appellate Court and order a new trial.”)