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Criminal Law & Procedure

Criminal Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3751

AC41888 - State v. Carpenter (Murder; arson in second degree; "The defendant, Benjamin Chase Carpenter, appeals from the judgment of conviction, rendered after a jury trial, of murder and arson in the second degree.The defendant claims that the trial court erred in failing to instruct the jury, as he requested, on third-party culpability. We disagree with the defendant and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the trial court.")

AC42470 - State v. Pernell (Murder; prosecutorial impropriety; "The defendant, Anthony Pernell, appeals from the judgment of conviction, rendered after a jury trial, of murder in violation of General Statutes § 53a-54a. On appeal, the defendant claims that the prosecutor committed prosecutorial improprieties in his closing argument, which deprived the defendant of his due process right to a fair trial. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")

AC42097 - State v. Cecil (Murder; criminal possession of firearm; "The defendant, Lashawn R. Cecil, appeals from the judgment of conviction, rendered after a jury trial, of murder in violation of General Statutes § 53a-54a (a) and the judgment of conviction, rendered following a trial to the court, of criminal possession of a firearm in violation of General Statutes § 53a-217. On appeal, the defendant claims that the trial court erroneously (1) admitted video recorded statements into evidence under State v. Whelan, 200 Conn. 743, 513 A.2d 86, cert. denied, 479 U.S. 994, 107 S. Ct. 597, 93 L. Ed. 2d 598 (1986), and, simultaneously, admitted those same statements as impeachment evidence without instructing the jury how to evaluate that evidence, and (2) admitted into evidence a handgun magazine that was irrelevant, highly prejudicial, and misleading. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Criminal Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3741

AC40425 - State v. Brooks (Illegal receipt of firearm; "The defendant, Anthony E. Brooks, Jr., appeals from the judgment of conviction, rendered after a jury trial, of illegal receipt of a firearm in violation of General Statutes § 29-33 (b). On appeal, the defendant asserts that there was insufficient evidence to support his conviction of that charge because the state did not prove when or how the defendant received the firearm. We disagree with the defendant's argument but conclude, for another reason, that there was insufficient evidence to support the defendant's conviction of illegal receipt of a firearm. Accordingly, we reverse the judgment of conviction only on this count and remand this case with direction to vacate the conviction of this offense.")

AC41151 - State v Dejesus (Sexual assault in fourth degree; risk of injury to child; unpreserved claim that trial court improperly admitted into evidence expert testimony regarding how child victims of sexual abuse behave and how they disclose their abuse; "The defendant, Osvaldo DeJesus, appeals from the judgment of conviction, rendered after a jury trial, of four counts of risk of injury to a child in violation of General Statutes § 53-21 (a) (2), and two counts of sexual assault in the fourth degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-73a (a) (1) (A). On appeal, the defendant claims that the trial court (1) improperly admitted into evidence expert testimony that amounted to impermissible bolstering of the victim's credibility and (2) erred in concluding, during a pretrial hearing, that the victim was not an adverse party, thereby precluding defense counsel from asking the victim leading questions on direct examination. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")

AC41821 - State v. Patel (Murder; home invasion; burglary in first degree as accessory; robbery in first degree as accessory; conspiracy to commit burglary in first degree; tampering with physical evidence; "The defendant, Hiral M. Patel, appeals from the judgment of conviction of murder in violation of General Statutes § 53a-54a, home invasion in violation of General Statutes § 53a-100aa (a) (1), burglary in the first degree as an accessory in violation of General Statutes §§ 53a-101 (a) (1) and 53a-8 (a), robbery in the first degree as an accessory in violation of General Statutes §§ 53a-134 (a) (2) and 53a-8 (a), conspiracy to commit burglary in the first degree in violation of General Statutes §§ 53a-101 (a) (1) and 53a-48, and tampering with physical evidence in violation of General Statutes § 53a-155 (a) (1). On appeal, the defendant claims that (1) the court erred in admitting into evidence dual inculpatory statements of his coconspirator, Michael Calabrese; (2) the court erred in precluding the defendant from introducing into evidence a statement of Shyam Patel (Shyam), a cousin of the defendant, that was against his penal interest; (3) the court erred in admitting historical cell site location information without conducting a Porter hearing; and (4) there was insufficient evidence adduced at trial to sustain his conviction of murder on a theory of Pinkerton liability. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Criminal Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3735

AC41656 - State v. Carter (Assault in first degree; attempt to commit assault in first degree; risk of injury to child; criminal possession of firearm; mootness; "The self-represented defendant, Anthony Carter, appeals from the trial court's dismissal of his motion to set aside a judgment of conviction imposed on August 2, 2002. On appeal, the defendant claims that (1) the prosecutor committed fraud by writing in the state's response to the defendant's motion for reconsideration, dated June 2, 2017, that it was not "[t]he appropriate mechanism" to secure relief and that a "motion for a new trial or a motion to set aside the judgment" would be; (2) the court's determination that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction over his motion to set aside his judgment of conviction was erroneous; and (3) even if the court did not err in its subject matter jurisdiction determination, the state "[submitted] to the jurisdiction of the court." The state argues, in part, that because the defendant fails to challenge all independent grounds for the court's adverse ruling, his appeal is rendered moot. We agree with the state. Accordingly, we dismiss the defendant's appeal.")

AC40914 - Carter v. State (Petition for new trial; assault in first degree; attempt to commit assault in first degree; risk of injury to child; criminal possession of firearm; summary judgment; "The self-represented petitioner, Anthony Carter, appeals from the judgment of the trial court denying his petition for a new trial. The court granted the motion for summary judgment filed by the state of Connecticut on the ground that the petitioner had filed the petition for a new trial past the applicable statute of limitations. See General Statutes (Rev. to 2001) § 52-582. The petitioner then sought to appeal the trial court's decision. His petition for certification to appeal was untimely, however, and the trial court denied his petition. On appeal, the petitioner claims that the court abused its discretion by denying his late petition for certification to appeal. We disagree and, accordingly, dismiss this appeal.")

AC41520 - State v. Ricks (Motion to correct illegal sentence; "The defendant, Ronald Ricks, appeals from the judgment of the trial court denying his motion to correct an illegal sentence. On appeal, the defendant claims that the trial court improperly concluded that he had breached his initial plea agreement with the state and that his sentence was not illegally imposed. Specifically, the defendant asserts that due process requires the state to prove, by a preponderance of evidence, that he was in breach of the initial plea agreement before the state could enter a second plea agreement. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")

AC41803 - State v. Riddick (Motion to correct judgment mittimus; subject matter jurisdiction; "In this appeal from the denial of a motion to correct a judgment mittimus, the defendant, Jerome Riddick, claims that the trial court improperly denied his motion on the ground that he was not entitled to the presentence confinement credit he claimed. We conclude that the court should have dismissed the motion rather than denied it because, as we previously have determined, a petition for a writ of habeas corpus, rather than a motion directed at the sentencing court, is the proper method to challenge the Commissioner of Correction's application of presentence confinement credit.")

AC40528 - State v. Alexis (Robbery in first degree; threatening in second degree; "The defendant, Garyl Alexis, appeals from the judgment of conviction, rendered following a jury trial, of robbery in the first degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-134 (a) (4) and threatening in the second degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-62 (a) (1). On appeal, the defendant claims that (1) the trial court erred by admitting into evidence an unduly prejudicial photograph of guns that had minimal, if any, probative value, and (2) pursuant to Doyle v. Ohio, 426 U.S. 610, 96 S. Ct. 2240, 49 L. Ed. 2d 91 (1976), the state violated his due process right to a fair trial by eliciting testimony and making a remark during closing arguments about the defendant's silence following his arrest and the advisement of his constitutional rights pursuant to Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 86 S. Ct. 1602, 16 L. Ed. 2d 694 (1966). We conclude that any error relating to the court's admission of the photograph was harmless and that any Doyle violation was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Criminal Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3726

AC40534 - State v. Ward (Motion to correct illegal sentence; manslaughter in first degree; assault in first degree; unpreserved claim that defendant's due process rights, under federal constitution, were violated when trial court failed to refer motion to correct sentence imposed in illegal manner to sentencing judge; "The defendant, Jeffrey K. Ward, appeals from the judgment of the trial court dismissing his motion to correct a sentence imposed in an illegal manner (motion to correct). On appeal, the defendant claims that the court erred in (1) adjudicating the motion to correct, rather than referring the motion to the sentencing court, and (2) concluding that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction over the motion to correct. We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Criminal Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3724

SC20002 - State v. Lewis (Carrying pistol without permit; criminal possession of pistol or revolver; certification from Appellate Court; "The defendant contends that the trial court improperly denied his motion to suppress the gun on the ground that his seizure and subsequent patdown were lawful under both the fourth amendment to the United States constitution and article first, §§ 7 and 9, of the Connecticut constitution. Specifically, he claims that the Appellate Court improperly concluded that the trial court correctly determined that (1) he was not seized until the police officer touched him and performed a patdown search for weapons, (2) the officer had reasonable and articulable suspicion that he had committed a crime, and (3) the officer had reasonable and articulable suspicion that he might be armed and dangerous. Although we recognize the unique challenges that this case raises, we disagree with the defendant's claims and conclude that the seizure and subsequent patdown of the defendant were lawful. We therefore affirm the judgment of the Appellate Court.")


Criminal Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3716

AC41420 - State v. Lynch (Operating motor vehicle while under influence of intoxicating liquor; failure to appear in second degree; criminal trespass in first degree; motion to withdraw guilty pleas; "The self-represented defendant, Kevin Lynch, appeals from the judgments of conviction rendered by the trial court following the denial of his motion to withdraw his guilty pleas. On appeal, the defendant claims that the court improperly (1) failed to conduct an evidentiary hearing on his motion to withdraw his guilty pleas, (2) denied his motion to withdraw his guilty pleas, and (3) failed to conduct an evidentiary hearing prior to terminating his participation in the pretrial alcohol education program (program). We affirm the judgments of the trial court.")


Criminal Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3707

AC40882 - State v. Crewe (Possession of narcotic substance; "The defendant, Jeffrey Orlando Crewe, appeals from the judgment of conviction, rendered after a jury trial, of possession of a narcotic substance in violation of General Statutes § 21a-279 (a). The defendant's sole claim on appeal is that the evidence presented at trial was insufficient to support his conviction. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Criminal Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3700

AC41509 - State v. Palumbo (Sexual assault in first degree; sexual assault in fourth degree; risk of injury to child; ". The defendant, Jeffrey Todd Palumbo, appeals from the judgments of conviction, rendered following a jury trial, of sexual assault in the first degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-70 (a) (2), sexual assault in the fourth degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-73a (a) (1) (A), and two counts of risk of injury to a child in violation of General Statutes § 53-21 (a) (2). On appeal, the defendant claims, pursuant to Doyle v. Ohio, 426 U.S. 610, 619, 96 S. Ct. 2240, 49 L. Ed. 2d 91 (1976), that the state (1) violated his constitutional right to remain silent by introducing evidence of his post-Miranda silence and (2) engaged in prosecutorial impropriety by attempting to elicit evidence of his post-Miranda silence. We affirm the judgments of the trial court.")


Criminal Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3687

AC40848 - State v. Bryan (Murder; conspiracy to commit murder; "The defendant, Carlton Bryan, appeals from the judgment of conviction, rendered after a jury trial, of murder in violation of General Statutes §§ 53a-54a (a) and 53a-8, and conspiracy to commit murder in violation of General Statutes §§ 53a-48 (a) and 53a-54a (a). On appeal, the defendant claims that (1) the trial court erroneously concluded that an unavailable declarant's hearsay statements were admissible as dual inculpatory statements pursuant to § 8-6 (4) of the Connecticut Code of Evidence, and (2) the state, in violation of Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83, 87, 83 S. Ct. 1194, 10 L. Ed. 2d 215 (1963), failed to disclose to him certain internal affairs records relating to Reginald Early, a police sergeant whom the state called as a witness at trial. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")

AC40385 - State v. Shin (Interfering with officer; disorderly conduct; "The self-represented defendant, Yoon Chul Shin, appeals from the judgment of conviction, rendered by the trial court following a jury trial, of three counts of interfering with an officer in violation of General Statutes § 53a-167a and one count of disorderly conduct in violation of General Statutes § 53a-182. On appeal, the defendant raises a plethora of claims. Primarily, he claims that (1) he was illegally seized by the police because he was arrested without probable cause or an arrest warrant; (2) the evidence was insufficient to find him guilty of any of the crimes with which he was charged because testimony elicited from police officers at trial was fabricated; (3) the court improperly admitted testimony from police officers about statements the defendant made in a video he posted on the Internet; (4) the court abused its discretion in denying his request to excuse a prospective juror for cause during voir dire; (5) the court violated his constitutional right to compulsory process by declining to issue a subpoena; (6) the court improperly found him incompetent to stand trial but restorable before later determining that he was competent; and (7) the court improperly imposed on him as part of his conditional discharge a special condition that he stay out of the state of Connecticut. We dismiss the last claim as moot and, with respect to the remaining claims, affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Criminal Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3680

AC41364 - State v. Gomes (Assault in second degree; "The defendant, Wagner Gomes, appeals from the judgment of conviction, rendered after a jury trial, of assault in the second degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-60 (a) (2). On appeal, the defendant claims that the trial court erred in omitting from its jury instruction his proposed sentence, "[h]owever, you may consider evidence of the police investigation as it might relate to any weaknesses in the state's case," and, in doing so, deprived him of his right to present a defense of investigative inadequacy. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")

AC40657 - State v. Cane (Criminal possession of firearm; criminal possession of ammunition; possession of controlled substance with intent to sell; "The defendant, Robert A. Cane, appeals from the judgment of conviction, rendered following a jury trial, of two counts of criminal possession of a firearm in violation of General Statutes § 53a-217 (a) (1), three counts of criminal possession of ammunition in violation of General Statutes § 53a-217 (a) (1), and one count of possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell in violation of General Statutes § 21a-277 (b). On appeal, the defendant claims that the trial court (1) erroneously denied his motion to suppress evidence that was obtained in violation of his right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures, (2) improperly granted the state's motion for joinder of the two separate cases against him for trial, and (3) demonstrated judicial bias, thereby violating his right to due process. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Criminal Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3676

SC19888 - State v. Ayala (Murder; conspiracy to commit murder; "This appeal arises from a judgment of conviction against the defendant, Vincente Ayala, on the charges of murder in violation of General Statutes § 53a-54a and conspiracy to commit murder in violation of General Statutes §§ 53a-48 and 53a-54a. On appeal, the defendant raises two evidentiary claims. First, he claims that the trial court improperly admitted testimony implicating him in the murder under the coconspirator exception to the hearsay rule. Second, he claims that the trial court improperly admitted certain state of mind evidence. We disagree with both claims and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Criminal Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3671

AC40828 - State v. Coltherst (Capital felony; murder; felony murder; kidnapping in first degree; robbery in first degree; robbery in second degree; larceny in first degree; conspiracy to commit kidnapping in first degree; larceny in fourth degree; motion to correct illegal sentence; "The defendant, Jamaal Coltherst, appeals from the judgment of the trial court resentencing him for crimes which he had committed when he was seventeen years old. The defendant claims that the court improperly (1) failed, pursuant to General Statutes § 54-91g, to account adequately for the defendant's youth at the time he committed the underlying crimes, and (2) afforded the defendant an opportunity to provide additional remarks to the court, in violation of his rights to counsel, due process, and allocution. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Criminal Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3667

SC20031 - State v. Elmer G. (Sexual assault second degree; risk of injury to child; criminal violation of restraining order; certification from Appellate Court; "A jury found the defendant, Elmer G., guilty of several offenses stemming from the sexual assault of his minor daughter, including three counts of criminal violation of a restraining order in violation of General Statutes § 53a-223b. The Appellate Court upheld his convictions. State v. Elmer G., 176 Conn. App. 343, 383, 170 A.3d 749 (2017). On further appeal to this court, the defendant claims that the state presented insufficient evidence to convict him of any of the counts of criminal violation of a restraining order. In addition, he claims that he was deprived of a fair trial as a result of certain improprieties committed by the prosecutor. We disagree with both claims and affirm the judgment of the Appellate Court.")


Criminal Law Supreme Court Opinions

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3656

SC19809, SC19811 - State v. Leniart (Capital felony; murder; certification from Appellate Court; "

Following a jury trial, the defendant, George Michael Leniart, was convicted of murder in violation of General Statutes § 53a-54a (a) and three counts of capital felony in violation of General Statutes (Rev. to 1995) § 53a-54b (5), (7), and (9), as amended by Public Acts 1995, No. 95-16, § 4. The Appellate Court reversed the judgment of conviction and remanded the case for a new trial, holding that the trial court improperly excluded (1) a videotape that depicted a police officer interviewing a crucial prosecution witness prior to the administration of a polygraph examination, and (2) certain expert testimony proffered by the defendant regarding the reliability of jailhouse informant testimony. State v. Leniart, 166 Conn. App. 142, 146–47, 140 A.3d 1026 (2016). The Appellate Court also considered and rejected the defendant's claim regarding the sufficiency of the underlying evidence. Id. We granted both the state's and the defendant's petitions for certification to appeal.

In its certified appeal, the state challenges the conclusion of the Appellate Court that the videotape and expert testimony were improperly excluded. In his appeal, the defendant contends that he is entitled to a judgment of acquittal because, under the common-law corpus delicti rule, the state failed to set forth sufficient evidence, independent of the defendant's own admissions, to establish that the alleged victim was, in fact, dead.

We reverse the judgment of the Appellate Court with respect to the state's appeal and affirm the judgment with respect to the defendant's appeal. Specifically, we conclude that (1) although the defendant's corpus delicti claim is not merely evidentiary and, therefore, is reviewable on appeal, the Appellate Court correctly concluded that there was sufficient evidence to support the conviction, (2) although the Appellate Court correctly concluded that the trial court's exclusion of the videotape was improper, the exclusion of that evidence was harmless, and (3) the Appellate Court incorrectly concluded that the trial court had abused its discretion in precluding the expert testimony proffered by the defendant.")

SC19841 - State v. Robert H. (Risk of injury to child; violation of probation; certification from Appellate Court; "The common-law corpus delicti rule "prohibits a prosecutor from proving the [fact of a transgression] based solely on a defendant's extrajudicial statements." (Internal quotation marks omitted.) State v. Leniart, 333 Conn. ___, ___, ___ A.3d ___ (2019). Following a jury trial, the defendant in the present case, Robert H., was convicted of two counts of risk of injury to a child, in violation of General Statutes § 53-21 (a) (1), arising from two alleged incidents of sexual misconduct. On appeal, he argued before the Appellate Court that the only evidence that he committed the second alleged act of misconduct were statements he made to the police and, therefore, that his conviction on that count violated the corpus delicti rule.

The judgment of the Appellate Court is reversed and the case is remanded to that court for further proceedings in accordance with this opinion.")


Criminal Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3645

AC41496 - Berthiaume v. State (Petition for new trial; burglary in first degree; summary judgment; jurisdiction; res judicata; motion for new trial; petition for new trial based on newly discovered evidence; "This is an appeal from the summary judgment rendered by the trial court in favor of the respondent, the state of Connecticut, on a civil petition for a new criminal trial filed by the petitioner, Toby A. Berthiaume. This case presents an issue that our courts have not previously addressed: Whether res judicata precludes a civil petition for a new trial based on a claim of newly discovered evidence when that same claim previously was litigated before the criminal court that had jurisdiction over the criminal matter but nonetheless lacked the authority to adjudicate the claim under our rules of practice. We conclude that, because the criminal court lacked the authority to rule on such a claim, it could not have issued a valid final decision, and, thus, the court's rendering summary judgment on the basis of the preclusive effect of that proceeding was improper. Accordingly, we reverse the judgment of the trial court and remand the case for further proceedings.")

AC41299 - State v. Watson (Strangulation in second degree; assault in third degree; unlawful restraint in first degree; threatening in second degree; "The defendant, James Henry Watson, appeals from the judgment of conviction, rendered following a jury trial, of assault in the third degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-61 (a) (1), unlawful restraint in the first degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-95 (a), strangulation in the second degree in violation of General Statutes (Rev. to 2015) § 53a-64bb (a), and threatening in the second degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-62 (a) (1). The defendant claims that the trial court (1) improperly determined whether the charges of assault in the third degree and unlawful restraint in the first degree were "upon the same incident" as the charge of strangulation in the second degree for the purposes of § 53a-64bb (b); (2) violated § 53a-64bb (b) and his right to be free from double jeopardy when it punished him for assault in the third degree, unlawful restraint in the first degree and strangulation in the second degree; and (3) violated his right to confrontation when it restricted his cross-examination of the victim. We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Habeas Supreme Court Opinions

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3638

SC20137 - Henning v. Commissioner of Correction (Two habeas petitions; “The second habeas petition, which is the subject of this appeal, alleges, among other things, that the state deprived the petitioner of his due process right to a fair trial in violation of Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83, 87, 83 S. Ct. 1194, 10 L. Ed. 2d 215 (1963), and its progeny, which require the state to correct any testimony by a state’s witness when the state knew or should have known that that testimony was materially false or misleading. More specifically, the petitioner claims that his right to due process was violated by virtue of the state’s failure to correct the trial testimony of the then director of the state police forensic laboratory, Henry C. Lee, that a red substance on a towel found in the victim’s home had tested positive for blood when, in fact, no such test had been conducted, and, further, a test of the substance conducted in connection with the present case proved negative for blood. The habeas court, Sferrazza, J., rejected all of the petitioner’s claims, including his claim concerning Lee’s testimony about the towel, and this appeal followed. We agree with the petitioner that, contrary to the determination of the habeas court, he is entitled to a new trial due to the state’s failure to alert the trial court and the petitioner that Lee’s testimony was incorrect, and, therefore, we reverse the judgment of the habeas court.”) See also, Henning v. State below.

SC20139 - Henning v. State ("On appeal from the denial of his petition for a new trial, the petitioner claims that the habeas court incorrectly determined that the newly discovered DNA evidence does not warrant a new trial…the petitioner claims that the three year limitation period of § 52-582 (a) simply does not apply to a petition, like the present one, in which there is newly discovered DNA evidence…In a separate opinion issued today, we have concluded, contrary to the determination of the habeas court, that the petitioner is entitled to a writ of habeas corpus granting him a new trial because the state deprived him of a fair trial in violation of Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83, 87, 83 S. Ct. 1194, 10 L. Ed. 2d 215 (1963)... Because our opinion in that case awarding the petitioner a new trial renders moot the petitioner’s appeal from the denial of his petition for a new trial, we must dismiss the present appeal.”)

SC20136 - Birch v. Commissioner of Correction (“The second petition, which is the subject of this appeal, alleged, among other things, that the state deprived the petitioner of a fair trial in violation of Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83, 87, 83 S. Ct. 1194, 10 L. Ed. 2d 215 (1963), and its progeny, which require the state to correct any testimony that it knows or should know is materially false or misleading. More specifically, the petitioner claims that his right to due process was violated because the assistant state’s attorney (prosecutor) failed to correct certain testimony of the then director of the state police forensic laboratory, Henry C. Lee, concerning a red substance on a towel found in the victim’s home that, according to Lee, had tested positive for blood. In fact, no such test had been conducted, and, moreover, a test of the substance that was done for purposes of the present case proved negative for blood. The habeas court, Sferrazza, J., rejected all of the petitioner’s claims, including his claim with respect to Lee’s testimony about the towel, and this appeal followed. Because we agree with the petitioner that, contrary to the conclusion of the habeas court, he is entitled to a new trial due to the state’s failure to alert the trial court and the petitioner that Lee’s testimony was incorrect, we reverse the judgment of the habeas court.”) See also, Birch v. State below.

SC20138 - Birch v. State (“On appeal from the denial of his petition for a new trial, the petitioner claims that the habeas court incorrectly determined that the newly discovered DNA evidence does not warrant a new trial. The petitioner further claims that this court, in determining whether a new trial is likely to result in a different outcome, should consider the original trial evidence together with all exculpatory evidence, even evidence that would not otherwise support a petition for a new trial because it was discovered by the petitioner after the three year limitation period for filing such a petition had expired…In a separate opinion issued today, we have concluded, contrary to the determination of the habeas court, that the petitioner is entitled to a writ of habeas corpus granting him a new trial because the state deprived him of a fair trial in violation of Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83, 87, 83 S. Ct. 1194, 10 L. Ed. 2d 215 (1963)... Because our opinion in that case awarding the petitioner a new trial renders moot the petitioner’s appeal from the denial of his petition for a new trial, we must dismiss the present appeal.”)

SC20179 - Griffin v. Commissioner of Correction (Public Act 15-183; transfer to criminal docket from juvenile docket; Public Act 15-84; eligibility for parole; evolution of ‘standards of decency’ for punishments for children; “The issue presented in this appeal is whether the transfer of a fourteen year old defendant’s case to the regular criminal docket and his subsequent sentence of forty years imprisonment violate the prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment enshrined in the dual due process provisions of the constitution of Connecticut, article first, §§ 8 and 9… We agree that recent statutory changes to the juvenile justice system—which significantly limit, but do not entirely prohibit, the transfer of a fourteen year old defendant’s case to the regular criminal docket—do not evidence a change in contemporary standards of decency for purposes of the constitutional claim raised by the petitioner in the present case. We also conclude that, because the petitioner is eligible for parole pursuant to P.A. 15-84, his forty year sentence complies with established constitutional safe-guards. Therefore, we affirm the judgment of the habeas court.”)


Criminal Law Supreme Court Opinions

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3639

SC20081 - State v. McCleese ("Under the federal constitution's prohibition of cruel and unusual punishments, a juvenile offender cannot serve a sentence of imprisonment for life, or its functional equivalent, without the possibility of parole, unless his age and the hallmarks of adolescence have been considered as mitigating factors. Miller v. Alabama, 567 U.S. 460, 476–77, 132 S. Ct. 2455, 183 L. Ed. 2d 407 (2012); Casiano v. Commissioner of Correction, 317 Conn. 52, 60–61, 115 A.3d 1031 (2015), cert. denied sub nom. Semple v. Casiano, ___ U.S. ___, 136 S. Ct. 1364, 194 L. Ed. 2d 376 (2016); State v. Riley, 315 Conn. 637, 641, 110 A.3d 1205 (2015), cert. denied, ___ U.S. ___, 136 S. Ct. 1361, 194 L. Ed. 2d 376 (2016). The defendant, William McCleese, a juvenile offender, was originally serving a sentence of imprisonment for the functional equivalent of his life without the possibility of parole, in violation of this constitutional mandate. Because of subsequent legislation, however, he will be eligible for parole in or about 2033. This appeal requires us to decide whether the legislature may remedy the constitutional violation with parole eligibility. We conclude that it may and has done so.")

SC19954 - State v. Williams-Bey ("Under the federal constitution's prohibition on cruel and unusual punishments, a juvenile offender cannot serve a sentence of imprisonment for life, or its functional equivalent, without the possibility of parole, unless his age and the hallmarks of adolescence have been considered as mitigating factors. Miller v. Alabama, 567 U.S. 460, 476–77, 132 S. Ct. 2455, 183 L. Ed. 2d 407 (2012); Casiano v. Commissioner of Correction, 317 Conn. 52, 60–61, 115 A.3d 1031 (2015), cert. denied sub nom. Semple v. Casiano, ___ U.S. ___, 136 S. Ct. 1364, 194 L. Ed. 2d 376 (2016); State v. Riley, 315 Conn. 637, 641, 110 A.3d 1205 (2015), cert. denied, ___ U.S. ___, 136 S. Ct. 1361, 194 L. Ed. 2d 376 (2016). The defendant, Tauren Williams-Bey, is presently serving a sentence of thirty-five years imprisonment, and, pursuant to No. 15-84 of the 2015 Public Acts (P.A. 15-84), codified at General Statutes § 54-125a, has the possibility of parole after twenty-one years in prison. His original sentence of thirty-five years without parole was imposed without consideration of his age or the hallmarks of adolescence. The defendant does not claim that this sentence violates the federal constitution. Rather, he claims that it violates the Connecticut constitution and that he must be resentenced, even after P.A. 15-84 later made him parole eligible. On the basis of our decision in State v. McCleese, 333 Conn. ___, ___ A.3d ___ (2019), which we also release today, we conclude that the defendant is not entitled to resentencing.")


Criminal Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3634

AC42130 - State v. Moon (Felony murder; robbery in first degree; conspiracy to commit robbery in first degree; jury instructions; "The defendant, Rashad Moon, appeals from the judgment of conviction, rendered after 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) (2), and conspiracy to commit robbery in the first degree in violation of General Statutes §§ 53a-48 and 53a-134 (a) (2). On appeal, the defendant claims that the trial court improperly (1) instructed the jury on accomplice liability, (2) failed to poll the jurors on the defendant's affirmative defense, (3) admitted into evidence two spent shell casings that were unconnected to the crime, and (4) instructed the jury on conspiracy to commit robbery in the first degree without instructing it on the intent required for robbery in the first degree. We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the trial court.")

AC40837 - State v. Rodriguez (Public indecency; breach of peace; improper use of marker, registration, or license; illegal operation of motor vehicle while driver's license was under suspension; failure to appear in second degree; "The defendant, Jose Luis Rodriguez, appeals from the judgment of conviction, rendered following a jury trial, of public indecency in violation of General Statutes § 53a-186 (a) (2), breach of the peace in the second degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-181 (a) (5), improper use of a marker, registration, or license in violation of General Statutes § 14-147 (c), illegal operation of a motor vehicle while his driver's license was under suspension in violation of General Statutes § 14-215 (a), and two counts of failure to appear in the second degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-173 (a) (1). The defendant claims on appeal that the court improperly (1) admitted evidence of uncharged misconduct, (2) instructed the jury on the uncharged misconduct evidence, and (3) denied his motion to sever the public indecency, breach of the peace, and motor vehicle charges from the failure to appear charges. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")

AC40578 - State v. Battle (Violation of probation; "The defendant, Reggie Battle, appeals from the judgment of the trial court dismissing his motion to correct an illegal sentence. On appeal, the defendant claims that (1) the court improperly concluded that it lacked jurisdiction to consider his motion to correct an illegal sentence, (2) the court improperly concluded that the use of special parole following the finding of a probation violation did not constitute an illegal sentence and (3) he was denied due process of law when his motion to correct an illegal sentence was not acted upon by the judge who had sentenced him. We conclude that the trial court had jurisdiction to consider the defendant's motion to correct an illegal sentence but are not persuaded by his second and third claims. Accordingly, the form of the judgment is improper, and we reverse the judgment dismissing the defendant's motion to correct an illegal sentence and remand the case with direction to render judgment denying the defendant's motion.")

AC41845 - State v. Brown (Assault in second degree; threatening in first degree; "The self-represented defendant, Kenya Brown, appeals from the trial court's denial of his motion to correct an illegal sentence. On appeal, the defendant claims that (1) General Statutes §§ 53a-37 and 53a-38 are ambiguous and contradictory, and (2) § 53a-38 is unconstitutional because it violates his constitutional rights to due process, to be free from double jeopardy, and to equal protection. We reverse the judgment of the trial court only as it relates to the portion of the defendant's motion to correct that advances arguments that do not implicate the sentencing proceeding itself. The court should have dismissed, rather than denied, this portion of the motion. We affirm the judgment of the trial court in all other respects.")

AC41362 - State v. Tarasiuk (Assault of public safety personnel; criminal trespass; "The defendant, Jacek Tarasiuk, appeals from the judgment of conviction, rendered following a jury trial, of one count of assault of public safety personnel in violation of General Statutes § 53a-167c (a) (1) and one count of criminal trespass in the first degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-107 (a) (1). On appeal, the defendant claims that the trial court abused its discretion by admitting into evidence the defendant's May 24, 2006 unnamed felony conviction for the limited purpose of impeaching the defendant's credibility. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")

AC41009 - State v. Fox (Home invasion; conspiracy to commit home invasion; assault in first degree; conspiracy to commit assault in first degree; "The defendant, Michael Fox, appeals from the judgment of conviction, rendered after a jury trial, of home invasion in violation of General Statutes § 53a-100aa (a) (1), conspiracy to commit home invasion in violation of General Statutes §§ 53a-48 and 53a-100aa (a) (1), assault in the first degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-59 (a) (4), and conspiracy to commit assault in the first degree in violation of General Statutes §§ 53a-48 and 53a-59 (a) (4). On appeal, the defendant claims that (1) the trial court violated the double jeopardy clause of the United States constitution by sentencing the defendant on two counts of conspiracy on the basis of a single agreement with multiple criminal objectives, (2) the state violated the defendant's right to due process under the Connecticut constitution as a result of the destruction or loss of photographs depicting the crime scene, and (3) the trial court erred in denying the defendant's request for an adverse inference jury instruction. We agree with the defendant's first claim only and, accordingly, affirm in part and reverse in part the judgment of the trial court.")


Criminal Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3630

SC19934 - State v. Tony M. (Murder; risk of injury to child; "The defendant, Tony M., appeals from the judgment of conviction, rendered after a jury trial, of murder in violation of General Statutes § 53a-54a and risk of injury to a child in violation of General Statutes § 53-21 (a) (1). On appeal, the defendant makes three claims. First, he claims that the trial court improperly denied his motion to suppress certain evidence arising from statements that he had made to the police while in the hospital on the ground that any waiver of his Miranda rights prior to making those statements was involuntary. In connection with that claim, he argues that his statements were made involuntarily due to his weakened physical condition at the time he made them. Second, he claims that evidence regarding his statements was also inadmissible because the interview was not recorded, as required by General Statutes § 54-1o.Third, he claims that the trial court improperly precluded him from introducing into evidence a letter in which he offered to plead guilty to manslaughter in exchange for twenty-five years incarceration. We disagree with the defendant's claims and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Criminal Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3623

AC40396 - State v. Marsan (Burglary in third degree; larceny in sixth degree; motion to suppress; "The defendant, Kris Marsan, appeals from the judgment of conviction, rendered after a jury trial, of one count of burglary in the third degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-103, and one count of larceny in the sixth degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-125b. On appeal, the defendant claims that (1) the evidence was insufficient to establish that she "unlawfully remained" on the victim's property with respect to burglary in the third degree, and (2) the trial court improperly denied her motion to suppress statements she had made to police officers during an interview in her home without being provided with Miranda warnings. We agree with the defendant's first claim and, therefore, reverse in part the judgment of the trial court.")


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