The mission of the Connecticut Judicial Branch is to serve the interests of justice and the public by resolving matters brought before it in a fair, timely, efficient and open manner.
Criminal Law & Procedure

Criminal Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5039

AC43748 - State v. Russaw ("The defendant, Deykevious Russaw, appeals from the judgment of conviction, rendered after a jury trial, of conspiracy to commit murder in violation of General Statutes §§ 53a-54a and 53a-48. The defendant's conviction stems from an incident involving a drive-by shooting that resulted in the death of an unintended third person rather than the intended victim. On appeal, he claims, first, that his conviction of conspiracy to commit murder is legally insufficient because the doctrine of transferred intent, upon which he contends the state relied, does not apply to the crime of conspiracy, and second, that the trial court improperly denied his motion to suppress certain statements that he made to the police while he was in custody and after he had invoked his right to counsel. We reject both of the defendant's claims and, therefore, affirm the judgment of conviction.")


Criminal Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5034

SC20539 - State v. Rivera (Murder, conspiracy to commit assault in the first degree; unlawful restraint in the first degree; unlawful discharge of a firearm; carrying a pistol or revolver without a permit ; “In the present appeal, the defendant claims that the Appellate Court incorrectly concluded that the trial court had not abused its discretion by (1) admitting an audio recording allegedly containing his confession into evidence, and (2) directing the jury to disregard portions of defense counsel’s closing argument relating to the absence of an in-court identification from one of the state’s witnesses. For the reasons that follow, we reject both of those claims and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the Appellate Court.”)


Criminal Law Supreme and Appellate Court Opinions

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5025

SC20517 - State v. Hargett (“On appeal, the defendant claims that the Appellate Court incorrectly determined that the trial court had not (1) violated his sixth amendment right to present a defense by excluding from evidence (a) a statement purportedly made by an unknown female bystander and (b) an autopsy toxicology report, (2) violated his right to due process by declining to give a jury instruction on self-defense, and (3) abused its discretion by declining to sanction the state for its late disclosure of the murder weapon and related expert reports by excluding this evidence or dismissing the murder charge. We affirm the Appellate Court’s judgment but not without strongly cautioning the state regarding the late disclosure of evidence.”)

AC44024 - State v. Norris (Risk of injury to a child; breach of the peace in the second degree; assault in the third degree; interfering with an officer; “On appeal, the defendant claims that the court abused its discretion by (1) failing to conduct an adequate independent inquiry into the defendant’s competency to stand trial and order a competency hearing pursuant to General Statutes § 54-56d1 and (2) improperly granting the state’s motion for joinder for trial of the charge of interfering with an officer with the other charges the defendant faced. We affirm the judgments of the trial court.”)


Criminal Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Agati, Taryn

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5023

SC20348 - State v. Ortiz ("The defendant, Rafael Ortiz, appeals from the judgment of conviction, rendered following a jury trial, of murder in violation of General Statutes § 53a-54a (a). The defendant claims that (1) prosecutorial impropriety deprived him of his right to a fair trial, (2) the trial court committed evidentiary and constitutional error by precluding defense counsel from using certain prior felony convictions to impeach two of the state's witnesses, and (3) the trial court erred in its charge to the jury. We disagree with each of these claims and, accordingly, 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=5011

SC20316 - State v. Alexander (Conviction of felony murder, attempt to commit robbery in the first degree, conspiracy to commit robbery in the first degree, carrying a pistol without a permit ; “After the defendant was found guilty, but before sentencing, this court decided State v. Purcell, 331 Conn. 318, 203 A.3d 542 (2019), which held, under our state constitution, that ‘if a suspect makes an equivocal statement that arguably can be construed as a request for counsel, interrogation must cease except for narrow questions designed to clarify the earlier statement and the suspect’s desire for counsel.’ (Internal quotation marks omitted.) Id., 362. The defendant sought a new trial based on our holding in Purcell, on the ground that the state’s evidence at trial had included a video recorded statement in which the defendant had made an equivocal request for counsel. The trial court agreed with the defendant’s Purcell claim but, with the exception of a single count of conviction, concluded that the error was harmless. We affirm the judgment.”)


Risk Protection Orders and Risk Protection Order Investigations

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5010

The Judicial Branch has published a pamphlet, Risk Protection Orders and Risk Protection Order Investigations, with associated forms to "...satisfy the requirements of General Statutes §§ 29-38c and 46b-15e(a)(2) and Public Act 21-67 §2. It is based on the Connecticut General Statutes and the Judicial Branch procedures in effect at the time the Judicial Branch created this brochure."

A Risk Protection Order is an order that the police can ask the court to issue that prevents a person who is at immediate risk of causing personal injury to themselves or another person from having or getting firearms, deadly weapons, or ammunition. As part of this process, the court can also order the police to take any firearms, deadly weapons, or ammunition that the person at risk has away from them.

The following forms are available:


Criminal Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5007

SC20314 - State v. Abraham (Home invasion, attempt to commit assault in the first degree, reckless endangerment in the first degree, two counts of risk of injury to a child; “ On appeal, the defendant raises three claims: (1) the evidence was insufficient to establish his identity as the perpetrator of the crimes of conviction; (2) the jury’s verdict of guilty of attempt to commit assault in the first degree and reckless endangerment was legally inconsistent; and (3) his conviction of home invasion and attempt to commit assault in the first degree violates the double jeopardy clause of the United States constitution. We affirm the judgment of conviction.”)


Criminal Law Supreme and Appellate Court Opinions

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5005

SC20525 - State v. Marrero (Conviction of home invasion, burglary in the first degree, assault in the second degree; “On appeal, the defendant contends that the Appellate Court incorrectly concluded that the prosecutor had not engaged in prosecutorial impropriety by using leading questions during his direct examination of a hostile witness. 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.”)

AC44146 - State v. Ghant (Unlawful restraint in the first degree, assault in the third degree, threatening in the second degree; “On appeal, the defendant claims that the trial court (1) violated his right to self-representation under the sixth amendment to the United States constitution and article first, § 8, of the Connecticut constitution1 by denying his request to represent himself and (2) violated his right to confront the witnesses against him under the sixth amendment by improperly limiting cross-examination of the state’s key witness. 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=4996

SC20563 - State v. Myers ("On appeal, the defendant claims that the trial court incorrectly concluded that it lacked jurisdiction over the claims in his motions to correct and that (1) he was entitled to resentencing in both cases because the sentencing court failed to consider his youth as a mitigating factor, in violation of Miller v. Alabama, 567 U.S. 460, 476–77, 132 S. Ct. 2455, 183 L. Ed. 2d 407 (2012), and General Statutes § 54-91g, (2) the structure of his two sentences deprived him of a meaningful opportunity for parole because it resulted in a later parole eligibility date than he otherwise would have been entitled to under General Statutes § 54-125a (f) (1), and (3) his parole eligibility date violated his right to equal protection under the fourteenth amendment to the United States constitution and article first, § 20, of the Connecticut constitution. The defendant further contends that the trial court improperly denied his claim that his parole eligibility date, as calculated by the board, violated the terms of his plea agreement, in violation of his right to due process under the fourteenth amendment to the United States constitution and article first, §§ 8 and 9, of the Connecticut constitution. We affirm in part the judgment of the trial court.")


Criminal Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4995

AC44317 - State v. Herman K. (“Before this court is the defendant’s appeal from the judgment of conviction, rendered following a jury trial, of assault in the first degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-59 (a) (1) and carrying a dangerous weapon in violation of General Statutes § 53-206 (a). On appeal, the defendant claims that the trial court, Vitale, J., improperly denied the defendant’s motion for disqualification at his sentencing hearing based upon what he contends was the appearance of partiality. We disagree and 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=4969

SC20528 - State v. Police (Statute of limitations; judgment reversed and case remanded with direction to render judgment dismissing the information; “This appeal presents a significant issue of first impression not only for this state but, to our knowledge, the rest of the country as well: whether a John Doe arrest warrant that identified the suspect on the basis of a general physical description and several mixed partial DNA profiles to which the suspect may or may not have been a contributor, and that did not state the probability that a random person would match any of those profiles, satisfies the particularity requirement of the fourth amendment to the United States constitution for purposes of commencing a prosecution within the applicable statute of limitations.”)


Criminal Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4966

SC20572 - State v. Morel-Vargas (“On appeal, the defendant, who did not testify at trial, challenges defense counsel’s purported waiver of his right to testify. Specifically, the defendant contends that defense counsel’s representation on the record, in the presence of a defendant, that the defendant has waived his right to testify, together with the defendant’s coincident silence, is insufficient to constitute a waiver of that right. We disagree with the defendant and conclude that the constitution does not require that a defendant, himself, personally assert the waiver of his right to testify on the record. Nevertheless, we acknowledge that an on-the-record canvass of a defendant is the best practice to ensure that the defendant’s waiver of his constitutional right to testify is made knowingly, intelligently and voluntarily. Therefore, we exercise our supervisory authority to require, prospectively, that a trial court either canvass the defendant or, in certain circumstances, inquire of defense counsel directly to determine whether counsel properly advised the defendant regarding the waiver of his right to testify.”)


Criminal Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4964

SC20306 - State v. Torres (Whether trial court improperly excluded evidence of alleged altercation between witness and third parties at time of defendant's first trial; Whether alleged prosecutorial improprieties deprived defendant of fair trial; Whether trial court erred in excluding evidence of conduct underlying witness' misdemeanor convictions "The defendant, Quavon Torres, appeals from the judgment of the trial court convicting him of the crimes of murder in violation of General Statutes § 53a-54a (a) and carrying a pistol without a permit in violation of General Statutes § 29-35. The defendant's principal claim is that the trial court improperly excluded evidence of an assault of one of the state's witnesses, Tasia Milton. The defendant also claims that the trial court improperly prevented him from impeaching another state's witness, Teresa Jones, with evidence of certain previous criminal offenses. We disagree with both of these claims and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Criminal Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4963

    AC43339 - State v. Gray (“On appeal, the defendant claims that the trial court (1) improperly denied his motion to dismiss the charges against him or, in the alternative, to suppress any evidence relating to currency seized during his arrest, thereby violating his right to due process under article first, § 8, of the Connecticut constitution, (2) abused its discretion by denying the defendant’s postverdict motion for a new trial or, in the alternative, for a mistrial based on the state’s late disclosure of forensic lab photographs, and (3) abused its discretion by permitting the state, on rebuttal, to present an enlarged copy of a lab photograph already in evidence and witness testimony on that photograph. We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the trial court.”)

    AC43377 - State v. Kyle A. (Burglary in the first degree, criminal mischief in the first degree, threatening in the second degree, criminal violation of a protective order, tampering with a witness in violation, attempt to commit criminal violation of a protective order. “The defendant’s appellate claims pertain solely to his burglary conviction. The defendant claims that, because the state did not present sufficient evidence that he committed the burglary offense, he is entitled to a judgment of acquittal with respect to that offense. Alternatively, the defendant claims that, because the court’s instruction concerning the burglary offense constituted plain error, the conviction for burglary should be overturned and the case remanded for a new trial with respect to that offense. We affirm the judgments of the trial court.”)


    Criminal Law Supreme Court Opinion

       by Townsend, Karen

     https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4936

    SC20462 - State v. Tyrus (Murder; In this appeal, the defendant claims that (1) the Appellate Court incorrectly concluded that the trial court had not abused its discretion in joining the defendant’s case with that of his codefendant, Darius Armadore, because the evidence in both cases was cross admissible, (2) his fourth amendment rights were violated under Carpenter v. United States, U.S. , 138 S. Ct. 2206, 201 L. Ed. 2d 507 (2018), when the police obtained his cell site location information (CSLI) without a warrant supported by probable cause, and (3) the Appellate Court incorrectly concluded that the defendant’s right to confrontation was not violated when the trial court allowed a state’s firearms examiner to testify about the findings of a second firearms examiner, who was deceased and, thus, unavailable to testify at trial. The state disagrees with each of these claims and asserts, in the alternative, that any error was harmless. For the reasons that follow, we agree that the Appellate Court correctly concluded that the trial court had not abused its discretion in joining the defendant’s case with the codefendant’s case and that the violations of the defendant’s constitutional rights were harmless beyond a reasonable doubt. Accordingly, 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=4928

    AC44324 - State v. Gerald J. (Conviction of sexual assault in the first degree and risk of injury to a child involving a relative; “After this case was argued, however, defense counsel notified this court that the defendant died on or about March 3, 2022. Because defense counsel did not request any specific disposition of this appeal as a result of the defendant’s death, we dismiss the appeal as moot, consistent with the past precedent of our Supreme Court. See State v. Graham, 337 Conn. 857, 858, 256 A.3d 151 (2021), and cases cited therein. The appeal is dismissed.”)


    Criminal Law Supreme Court Opinion

       by Townsend, Karen

     https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4917

    SC20368 - State v. Gray (Felony murder; attempt to commit robbery first degree; conspiracy to commit robbery first degree; carrying pistol without permit; whether the detention of witnesses for trial constitutes coercion; “On appeal, the defendant claims that the trial court (1) violated his federal due process rights by detaining three eyewitnesses to secure their attendance at trial because those detentions resulted in coerced and involuntary testimony in the state’s favor, and (2) abused its discretion by permitting the prosecutor to read both inconsistent and consistent passages from the witnesses’ grand jury transcripts to the jury for substantive purposes pursuant to State v. Whelan, 200 Conn. 743, 753, 513 A.2d 86, cert. denied, 479 U.S. 994, 107 S. Ct. 597, 93 L. Ed. 2d 598 (1986). We conclude that (1) with respect to the defendant’s first claim, which is unpreserved, he has not established a due process violation under the third prong of State v. Golding, 213 Conn. 233, 239–40, 567 A.2d 823 (1989), as modified by In re Yasiel R. 317 Conn. 773, 781, 120 A.3d 1188 (2015), and (2) the trial court’s Whelan ruling was not an abuse of its discretion. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.”)


    Criminal Law Supreme and Appellate Court Opinions

       by Townsend, Karen

     https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4916

    SC20496 - State v. Taveras (Breach of peace at a preschool; “In this certified appeal, the state claims that the Appellate Court incorrectly concluded that the evidence contained in the record precluded application of the true threats exception and, as a result, improperly reversed the judgments of the trial court revoking the defendant’s probation pursuant to General Statutes § 53a-32 on the basis of that evidence. The defendant, in response, argues that the Appellate Court’s analysis on the point was sound, and that his conduct on the day of the incident in question warrants first amendment protection. For the reasons that follow, we agree with the state and, accordingly, reverse the judgment of the Appellate Court.”)

    AC43765 - State v. Goode (“On appeal, the defendant claims that the court erred by (1) denying his request for new counsel, (2) requiring him to remain shackled in the courtroom during his trial, and (3) not inquiring into a potential conflict of interest with his counsel. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.”)

    AC43250 - State v. Tony O. (Robbery in the third degree; unlawful restraint in the first degree; assault in the third degree; attempt to commit larceny; “In the second part of the trial, the same jury found the defendant guilty on both counts of a part B information charging him, respectively, with being a serious persistent felony offender in violation of General Statutes § 53a-40 (c), as a basis for enhancing his impending sentence on the charge of unlawful restraint in the first degree, and being a persistent offender of crimes involving assault, stalking, threatening, harassment, and criminal violation of a protective order in violation of General Statutes § 53a-40d, as a basis for enhancing his impending sentence on the charge of assault in the third degree…We agree with the defendant that the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction of robbery in the third degree, and thus we reverse the judgment of conviction on that charge and remand this case to the trial court with direction to enter a judgment of acquittal thereon. We disagree with the defendant, however, as to his other claims of error, and thus affirm the judgment in all other respects.”)


    Criminal Law Supreme Court Opinion

       by Townsend, Karen

     https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4907

    SC20376 - State v. Daniels (Intentional manslaughter, manslaughter in the first degree/reckless manslaughter and misconduct with a motor vehicle/criminally negligent operation), "On appeal to this court, the state argues that the Appellate Court improperly ordered a new trial on all three charges rather than reinstating the defendant’s intentional manslaughter conviction. We agree with the state and, accordingly, reverse in part the judgment of the Appellate Court.")


    Criminal Law Supreme Court Opinion

       by Townsend, Karen

     https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4902

    SC20332 - State v. Jose A. B. (Three counts of sexual assault or attempt to commit sexual assault and two counts of risk of injury to a child; “On appeal, the defendant claims that (1) the trial court improperly overruled his Batson3 objection to the prosecutor’s exercise of peremptory challenges to two venirepersons, and (2) his conviction of two counts of risk of injury to a child violates his right to be free from double jeopardy. We disagree, and, accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.”)