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Criminal Law & Procedure

Criminal Law Supreme Court Slip Opinion

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4815

SC20531 - State v. Belcher (Criminal; Juvenile Sentencing; "The defendant, Keith Belcher, a juvenile offender, appeals from the trial court’s denial of his motion to correct an illegal sentence. After his conviction, the defendant received a total effective sentence of sixty years of incarceration. He claims, inter alia, that the trial court improperly denied his motion to correct on the basis of the court’s conclusion that the sentencing court did not impose the sentence in an illegal manner by relying on materially false information.

Our review of the record reveals that the defendant established that the sentencing court substantially relied on materially false information in imposing his sentence, specifically, on the court’s view that the defendant was a ‘‘charter member’’ of a mythical group of teenage ‘‘superpredators.’’ Therefore, we conclude that the trial court abused its discretion in denying the defendant’s motion to correct. Accordingly, we reverse the judgment of the trial court, and the case is remanded with direction to grant the defendant’s motion and for resentencing.")


Criminal Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4807

AC43352 - State v. Cusson (Cruelty to persons; disorderly conduct; competency; "The defendant, Mark Cusson, appeals from the judgment of conviction, rendered after a jury trial, of three counts of cruelty to persons in violation of General Statutes § 53-20 (a) (1), and five counts of disorderly conduct in violation of General Statutes § 53a-182 (a) (2). On appeal, the defendant claims that (1) the trial court violated his sixth amendment right to present a defense by failing to take adequate procedural measures before ruling that the victim was incompetent to testify, (2) the trial court violated his due process right to offer witness testimony by failing to sanction the prosecution for intimidating potential defense witnesses from testifying at trial, and (3) the state engaged in prosecutorial impropriety by alerting the trial court as to potential fifth amendment concerns with a defense witness' expected testimony during a pretrial hearing, effectively precluding the witness from testifying and denying the defendant his due process right to a fair trial. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")

AC43302 - State v. Prudhomme (Assault in first degree; cruelty to persons; tampering with physical evidence; "The defendant, Kristopher Joseph Prudhomme, appeals from the judgment of conviction, rendered after a jury trial, of charges of assault in the first degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-59 (a) (3), cruelty to persons in violation of General Statutes § 53-20 (a) (1), and tampering with evidence in violation of General Statutes § 53a-155. On appeal, the defendant claims that the trial court improperly (1) failed to instruct the jury that it properly could consider evidence of inadequacies in the police investigation that led to his arrest and prosecution as a basis for discrediting the state's evidence against him and entertaining reasonable doubt as to his guilt, (2) admitted into evidence, over his objection, a police disciplinary report containing hearsay statements from nontestifying police officers that tended to undermine his theory of defense, and (3) denied his motion for a new trial pursuant to his claim that the jury's verdict was against the manifest weight of the evidence. We agree with the defendant's first claim of error, and accordingly, on that basis, reverse the judgment of conviction of all charges and remand this case for a new trial thereon. We also agree with the defendant's second claim of error, which we have reviewed because it is likely to arise again at retrial. We do not reach the defendant's third claim of error because it is unnecessary for the ultimate disposition of this appeal.")

AC42674 - State v. Jones (Possession of narcotics with intent to sell; criminal possession of pistol; carrying pistol without permit; ''The defendant, Theodore Jones, appeals from the judgment of conviction, rendered after a jury trial, of possession of narcotics with intent to sell in violation of General Statutes § 21a-278 (b), criminal possession of a pistol in violation of General Statutes § 53a-217c (a) (1), and carrying a pistol without a permit in violation of General Statutes § 29-35. On appeal, the defendant claims that (1) there was insufficient evidence to support his conviction of criminal possession of a pistol (handgun or firearm), (2) there was insufficient evidence to support his conviction of carrying a pistol without a permit, (3) the court committed plain error with respect to its jury instructions concerning criminal possession of a pistol, and (4) the court erred by allowing impermissible opinion testimony regarding his intent to sell narcotics. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Criminal Law Supreme Court Slip Opinion

   by Zigadto, Janet

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4804

SC20601 - State v. Lopez ("The primary issue in this appeal is whether the state presented sufficient evidence at a violation of probation hearing to establish that an airsoft pellet gun is a firearm within the meaning of the criminal possession of a firearm statute, General Statutes § 53a-217. The defendant, Ramon Lopez, claims that the airsoft pellet gun seized from his residence is not a 'firearm,' as defined by General Statutes § 53a-3 (19), because it is not a 'weapon . . . from which a shot may be discharged' but, rather, a recreational toy that dispenses plastic pellets. The state responds that an airsoft pellet gun is a firearm pursuant to State v. Grant, 294 Conn. 151, 161, 982 A.2d 169 (2009), which held that a BB gun is a firearm for purposes of § 53a-3 (19). We conclude that the evidence in the present case was insufficient to establish that the airsoft pellet gun found in the defendant's residence is a firearm, as defined by § 53a-3 (19), and, therefore, we reverse the judgment of the trial court.")


Criminal Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4796

AC43785 - State v. McCarthy (Kidnapping in second degree; conspiracy to commit robbery in second degree; larceny in second degree; "The defendant, Lamar McCarthy, appeals from the judgment of conviction, rendered following a jury trial, of one count of conspiracy to commit robbery in the second degree in violation of General Statutes §§ 53a-48 and 53a-135 (a) (1) (A), one count of larceny in the second degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-123 (a) (1), and three counts of kidnapping in the second degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-94. The defendant claims that (1) the trial court improperly failed to instruct the jury in accordance with State v. Salamon, 287 Conn. 509, 550, 949 A.2d 1092 (2008); (2) there was insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he intended to prevent the liberation of the victims beyond that which was incidental and necessary to commit the larceny and that he used or threatened to use physical force or intimidation to restrain the victims; and (3) the court violated his constitutional right to due process by denying his requests to remove his leg shackles. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")

AC43973 - State v. Lamotte (Robbery in first degree; "The defendant, John H. LaMotte, appeals from the judgment 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 denied his request for an evidentiary hearing on his motion to withdraw those pleas. We disagree and, accordingly, 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=4784

AC42914 - State v. Wilson ("The defendant, Bryant Wilson, appeals from the judgment of conviction, rendered after a jury trial, of murder in violation of General Statutes § 53a-54a (a) and carrying a pistol without a permit in violation of General Statutes § 29-35 (a). On appeal, the defendant claims that (1) the trial court's investigative inadequacy jury instruction deprived him of his right to present a defense, and (2) the trial court erred in admitting uncharged misconduct evidence. We reverse the judgment of conviction.")

AC42509 - State v. Reed ("The defendant, Doraine Reed, appeals from the judgment of conviction, rendered following a jury trial, of larceny in the first degree in violation of General Statutes §§ 53a-119 and 53a-122 (a) (2), attempt to commit larceny in the first degree in violation of General Statutes §§ 53a-49 (a) (2), 53a-119, and 53a-122 (a) (3), larceny in the second degree in violation of General Statutes §§ 53a-119 (1) and (2) and 53a-123 (a) (5), and conspiracy to commit larceny in the first degree in violation of General Statutes §§ 53a-48, 53a-119, and 53a-122 (a) (2). On appeal, the defendant raises two claims of instructional error. First, the defendant asserts that the trial court failed to instruct the jury that the specific intent requirement for any taking or appropriation of property in the charge of larceny must also apply to the "wrongfulness" element of the offense. The defendant also claims that the court improperly instructed the jury regarding the victim's possible mental incapacity and his ability to consent to the transfer of his property to the defendant. We affirm the judgment of the trial court. ")



Criminal Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Zigadto, Janet

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4773

AC42827 - State v. Rosario (Larceny in second degree, motion for extension of time, restitution, due process; "The defendant, Sigfredo Rosario, appeals from the judgment of conviction, rendered following a jury trial, of larceny in the second degree in violation of General Statutes §§ 53a-119 (1) and 53a-123 (a) (2). On appeal, the defendant claims that the court (1) improperly ordered that he pay restitution without first considering the factors enumerated in General Statutes § 53a-28 (c), (2) abused its discretion in denying his motion for an extension of time within which to begin making restitution payments and (3) violated his due process right to a fair and impartial trial when it questioned him and two of the state's witnesses. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Criminal Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4764

AC42872 - State v. James K. ("The defendant, James K., appeals from the judgment of conviction, rendered following a jury trial, of risk of injury to a child in violation of General Statutes § 53-21 (a) (2). The defendant claims that (1) the trial court violated his right to a fair trial and to be tried before an impartial jury by restricting defense counsel's examination of prospective jurors, (2) the trial court improperly admitted into evidence a videotaped forensic interview of the victim, (3) the trial court violated his rights to due process, to a fair and impartial trial, and to be convicted by means of a unanimous verdict because the deadlocked jury instructions that it provided to the jury were coercive and misleading, and (4) this court, in the exercise of its supervisory authority over the administration of justice, should require trial courts, when delivering deadlocked jury instructions, to instruct the jury that it need not reach a verdict and that jurors have the right to disagree with respect to the proper verdict. 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=4756

AC43611 - State v. McKinney (Assault of elderly person in second degree; violation of probation; "The defendant, William McKinney, appeals from the judgment of conviction, rendered after a jury trial, of one count of assault of an elderly person in the second degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-60b (a) (1). The defendant also appeals from the court's judgment finding him in violation of his probation pursuant to General Statutes § 53a-32. The defendant claims that the court erred in (1) denying his first motion to correct an illegal sentence that he filed and (2) its rulings on several evidentiary objections during trial. 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=4747

AC43632 - State v. Holmes (Manslaughter in first degree with firearm; felony murder; motion to correct illegal sentence; "The defendant, Evan Jaron Holmes, appeals from the judgment of the trial court dismissing in part and denying in part his motion to correct an illegal sentence. On appeal, the defendant claims that the court improperly determined (1) that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction over his claim that the charging document listed multiple homicide offenses in violation of his federal constitutional right against double jeopardy and (2) that the sentencing court properly vacated the manslaughter conviction and sentenced him on the felony murder conviction. We conclude that the court properly dismissed in part and denied in part the defendant’s motion to correct an illegal sentence and affirm its judgment.")

AC43529 - State v. Carrillo (Sexual assault in third degree; sexual assault in fourth degree; risk of injury to child; "The defendant, Gilberto Patricio Carrillo, appeals from the judgment of conviction, rendered after a jury trial, of two counts of sexual assault in the third degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-72a (a) (1) (A), two counts of 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 that he is entitled to a new trial on the grounds that the prosecutor, in his closing and rebuttal arguments to the jury, violated the defendant's right to a fair trial by improperly (1) referring to facts not in evidence, (2) vouching for the credibility of witnesses, (3) appealing to the passions, emotions, and prejudices of the jurors, and (4) impugning the integrity and institutional role of defense counsel. We conclude that, although some of the prosecutor's comments constituted improprieties, nevertheless, those improprieties did not deprive the defendant of his due process right to a fair trial. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of conviction.")

AC43506 - State v. Alvarez (Sexual assault in fourth degree; risk of injury to child; "The defendant, Ulyses R. Alvarez, appeals from the judgment of conviction, rendered by the court following a jury trial, of sexual assault in the fourth degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-73a (a) (1) (E) and (8), and risk of injury to a child in violation of General Statutes § 53-21 (a) (1) and (2). On appeal, the defendant claims that the trial court abused its discretion by (1) allowing the state to introduce evidence of uncharged misconduct, (2) withholding relevant sealed records from the defendant, and (3) barring defense counsel from inquiring into the sexual history of the complaining witness, K. We agree with the defendant's second claim and, accordingly, reverse the judgment of the trial court and remand the case for a new trial. We also address the defendant's first claim because the issues underlying the claim are likely to arise on remand.")

AC44263 - State v. Omar (Possession of narcotics with intent to sell by person who is not drug-dependent; sale of narcotics by person who is not drug-dependent; conspiracy to sell narcotics by person who is not drug-dependent; sale of controlled substance within 1500 feet of school; possession of controlled substance within 1500 feet of school; motion to correct illegal sentence; "This is an appeal from the judgment of the trial court denying the amended motion to correct an illegal sentence filed by the defendant, Ben B. Omar, pursuant to Practice Book § 43-22. On appeal, the defendant claims that the court erred in concluding that certain amendments to Connecticut's special parole statute, embodied in No. 18-63, §§ 1 and 2, of the 2018 Public Acts (P.A. 18-63), which became effective on October 1, 2018, did not apply retroactively to render his 2016 modified sentence imposing special parole void. We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the trial court.")

AC44156 - State v. Smith (Possession of narcotics with intent to sell; motion to correct illegal sentence; "This is an appeal from the judgment of the trial court denying the amended motion to correct an illegal sentence filed by the defendant, Dejon A. Smith, pursuant to Practice Book § 43-22. On appeal, the defendant claims that the court erred in concluding that certain amendments to Connecticut's special parole statute, embodied in No. 18-63, §§ 1 and 2, of the 2018 Public Acts (P.A. 18-63), which became effective on October 1, 2018, did not apply retroactively to render his 2013 sentence imposing special parole void. We disagree and, accordingly, 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=4737

AC42430 - State v. Bouvier (Operating motor vehicle while under influence of intoxicating liquor; reckless driving; "The defendant, Michael Bryant Bouvier, appeals from the judgment of conviction, rendered following a jury trial, of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol in violation of General Statutes § 14-227a (a) (1) and reckless driving in violation of General Statutes § 14-222. He also appeals from the judgment of conviction, following a trial to the court on a part B information, of being a third time offender in violation of § 14-227a (g) (3). The defendant claims that the trial court improperly (1) denied his motion to suppress statements he made to the police during a post arrest interview because he allegedly had failed to voluntarily, knowingly, and intelligently waive his Miranda rights prior to responding to questioning, (2) denied his motion in limine that sought to preclude the testimony of the arresting state troopers as a sanction for one of the troopers having turned off his body microphone during the motor vehicle stop, and (3) sustained the state’s objection to questions regarding a finding made by a Department of Motor Vehicles hearing officer that no probable cause existed to arrest him. We affirm the judgment of the court.")

AC43812 - State v. Butler (Risk of injury to child; breach of peace in second degree; statutory (§ 54-56l) supervised diversionary program for persons with psychiatric disabilities; subject matter jurisdiction; "This appeal requires us to determine, as a matter of first impression, whether a criminal court has the power to open a judgment of dismissal rendered by the court after concluding that a defendant satisfactorily has completed a statutorily authorized diversionary program. Specifically, the defendant, Carlton Butler, appeals from the judgment of the trial court granting the state’s motion to open a judgment of dismissal that the court rendered following a determination that he satisfactorily had completed a two year, supervised diversionary program for persons with psychiatric disabilities in accordance with General Statutes § 54-56l. The defendant claims that the trial court lacked the power to open the judgment of dismissal once renderedand that, by doing so, it violated important liberty and finality of judgment interests. The state responds that the trial court possessed both subject matter jurisdiction and the authority to open the judgment of dismissal because the state filed its motion to open the judgment 'within four months [of rendering the judgment of dismissal] and the dismissal was predicated on a material misrepresentation made to the court.' We agree with the defendant that the court lacked the power to grant the state’s motion to open the judgment. Accordingly, we reverse the judgment of the trial court.")


Criminal Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4730

AC43081 - State v. Andres C. (Sexual assault in third degree; risk of injury to child; motion to allow introduction of uncharged misconduct evidence; claim that trial court improperly admitted uncharged misconduct evidence; reviewability of claim that trial court erred in permitting state to present uncharged misconduct evidence; "The defendant, Andres C., appeals from the judgment of conviction, rendered after a court trial, of sexual assault in the third degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-72a (a) (1) and risk of injury to a child in violation of General Statutes § 53-21 (a) (2). On appeal, the defendant claims that (1) the court improperly admitted uncharged misconduct evidence, (2) his right to a fair trial was violated by prosecutorial impropriety, (3) the court improperly denied him access to the victim's journals, and (4) his rights under Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83, 87, 83 S. Ct. 1194, 10 L. Ed. 2d 215 (1983), were violated. We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Criminal Law Supreme Court Slip Opinion

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4727

SC20268 - State v. Hughes (Manslaughter; self-defense; juror misconduct; whether there was sufficient evidence to disprove defendant's claim of self defense; "Following a jury trial, the defendant, Dante Alexander Hughes, was convicted of manslaughter in the first degree with a firearm in violation of General Statutes § 53a-55a, after the jury found him not guilty of murder but rejected his claim of self-defense. In a subsequent trial to the court, the defendant was found guilty of criminal possession of a firearm in violation of General Statutes § 53a-217 in connection with the same incident. On appeal, the defendant claims that the evidence presented at trial was insufficient to disprove, beyond a reasonable doubt, any of the elements of self-defense because the state failed to present affirmative evidence that discredited the defendant’s testimonial account of the incident. The defendant also claims that the trial court improperly denied his motion for a new trial on the ground of juror misconduct, specifically, a juror’s consultation of a dictionary definition of ‘‘manslaughter,’’ because the court applied an incorrect legal standard and misallocated the burden of proof. We affirm the judgment of conviction.")


Criminal Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Zigadto, Janet

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4705

AC42450 - State v. Cowen ("The self-represented defendant, Jermaine Lee Cowan, appeals from the judgment of conviction, rendered after a jury trial, of robbery in the second degree, larceny in the third degree, and conspiracy to commit larceny in the third degree. On appeal, the defendant claims that his due process rights were violated because his conviction was obtained on the basis of false testimony, which the state failed to correct. We conclude that this claim lacks merit and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the trial court.")

AC43485, AC43504- State v. Michael F. ("In these consolidated appeals, the defendant, Michael F., appeals from the judgments of the trial court dismissing for lack of subject matter jurisdiction his motions to open three disposed criminal cases. On appeal, the defendant claims that the court (1) improperly concluded that it lacked jurisdiction to consider the motions, (2) abused its discretion in failing to retain jurisdiction to rule on the motions, and (3) violated his right to due process when it dismissed the motions without providing him notice and an opportunity to be heard on the issue of jurisdiction. We affirm the judgments of the trial court.")

AC43859 - State v. Suzanne P. ("The defendant, Suzanne P., appeals from the judgment of the trial court denying her amended motion to modify a special condition of her probation. On appeal, the defendant claims that the court improperly (1) determined that the special condition prohibited her from having any contact with her children, and (2) denied her amended motion for modification despite the fact that the special condition prohibiting contact with her children violates her right to due process. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Criminal Law Supreme Court Slip Opinion

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4704

SC20461 - State v. Bermudez (Felony murder; Whether evidence that defendant was a gang member and that state's chief witness was relocated out of state was properly admitted; Whether trial court's erroneous preclusion of sexually explicit letters written by state's chief witness to defendant was harmless; Whether trial court's rulings limiting defendant's cross-examination of state's chief witness on topics regarding her credibility were proper; "The defendant, Noel Bermudez, appeals, following our grant of certification, from the judgment of the Appellate Court affirming the judgment of conviction, rendered after a jury trial, of felony murder in violation of General Statutes § 53a-54c. On appeal, the defendant claims that the Appellate Court should have reversed the judgment of conviction and ordered a new trial in light of the trial court’s rulings (1) admitting testimony regarding the gang affiliations of the defendant and his two brothers and the state’s relocation of its chief witness, Damaris Algarin-Santiago (Algarin),1 after she provided a statement to the police incriminating the defendant and the brothers in the murder, (2) excluding from evidence salacious letters written by Algarin to the defendant while he was imprisoned, and (3) preventing the defendant from questioning Algarin about the circumstances surrounding the termination of her employment from Waterbury Hospital and her birth control practices. The defendant contends that the trial court’s rulings excluding Algarin’s letters and precluding his inquiry into her termination and birth control practices violated his rights to confrontation and to present a defense under the sixth and fourteenth amendments to the United States constitution, and that all of the rulings constituted harmful error requiring a new trial. We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the Appellate Court.")


Criminal Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4697

AC41554 - State v. Espinal (Manslaughter in second degree; "The defendant, Tony Espinal, appeals from the judgment of conviction, rendered following a jury trial, of manslaughter in the second degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-56 (a) (1). The defendant claims that (1) the trial court deprived him of his due process rights to present a defense and to a fair trial by precluding him from introducing evidence that was vital to his defense, (2) the court committed error with respect to its jury instructions concerning the defense of self-defense, and (3) this court, in the exercise of its supervisory authority over the administration of justice, should require trial courts, in cases in which self-defense is asserted as a defense, to instruct juries to consider the defense prior to considering whether the defendant is guilty of the charged offense and any lesser included offenses. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")

AC40970 - State v. Kennibrew (Motion to correct illegal sentence; "The defendant, Robert Kennibrew, appeals from the judgment of the trial court denying his motion to correct an illegal sentence. On appeal, the defendant claims that his convictions and sentences for murder and felony murder, arising from the killing of a single victim, violate the double jeopardy clause of the fifth amendment to the United States constitution and the Connecticut constitution. The state, in its appellate brief, concedes that the defendant "remains burdened by multiple punishments for the same offense" and agrees with the defendant that this court should remand the case to the trial court with direction to vacate the defendant's felony murder conviction and to resentence the defendant. We agree with the parties.")


Criminal Law Supreme Court Slip Opinion

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4693

SC20336 - State v. Streit ("In this appeal, we consider whether evidence that the victim had conducted Internet searches for dangerous weapons in the days preceding the altercation at issue is admissible in support of a criminal defendant’s claim of self-defense. … On appeal, the defendant claims that the trial court abused its discretion in determining that evidence that the victim had searched an Internet shopping site for weapons in the days leading up to the altercation in which the defendant fatally stabbed the victim was both irrelevant and not admissible as uncharged misconduct evidence under § 4-5 (c) of the Connecticut Code of Evidence. We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the trial court.”)




Criminal Law Supreme Court Slip Opinion

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4692

SC20427 - State v. Ward (Manslaughter; Assault; Whether trial court lacked jurisdiction over motion to correct illegal sentence because defendant failed to set forth colorable claim that he was incompetent at time of sentencing; "The defendant, Jeffrey K. Ward, appeals from the judgment of the Appellate Court affirming the trial court's dismissal of his motion to correct a sentence imposed in an illegal manner. Specifically, he claims that the Appellate Court incorrectly concluded that the trial court lacked subject matter jurisdiction to correct his sentence because he failed to allege a colorable claim within the scope of Practice Book § 43-22. We agree and, accordingly, reverse the judgment of the Appellate Court.")


Criminal Law Supreme Court Slip Opinion

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4680

SC20401 - State v. Coltherst (Capital felony; Murder; Juvenile sentencing; Whether the Appellate Court correctly concluded that the trial court had followed the statutory requirements set forth in General Statutes § 54-91g in resentencing the defendant to eighty years of incarceration. "In this certified appeal, the defendant, Jamaal Coltherst, appeals from the judgment of the Appellate Court affirming the judgment of the trial court, which resentenced him for crimes he committed in 1999, when he was seventeen years old. In his original brief to this court, the defendant claimed that the Appellate Court incorrectly concluded that the trial court followed the statutory requirements of General Statutes § 54-91g in resentencing him to eighty years of incarceration. He argued that the statute created a presumption against the imposition of an effective life sentence, which can be overcome only upon the court's finding that the defendant is incorrigible. Because we conclude, as we explain in this opinion, that § 54-91g does not apply to the defendant, we do not reach the issue of whether the Appellate Court correctly concluded that the trial court followed the statutory requirements of § 54-91g in resentencing the defendant to a term of eighty years of incarceration.

Following oral argument, this court ordered the parties to file supplemental briefs addressing two issues: First, "[d]oes [§] 54-91g apply in cases where, as here, the defendant was not charged as a child and transferred from the docket for juvenile matters to the regular criminal docket of the Superior Court pursuant to [General Statutes §] 46b-127 but, rather, [was] charged as an adult under the regular criminal docket of the Superior Court?" Second, "[i]s the defendant eligible for parole when he received two distinct total effective sentences of 85 years and 80 years, respectively, to run consecutively, and, if so, when is he eligible for parole on each case?" As to the second issue, we conclude, consistent with an affidavit submitted by Richard Sparaco, the executive director of the Connecticut Board of Pardons and Paroles (board), that the defendant will be eligible for parole after serving 30 years of the 165 year aggregate term of the two distinct total effective sentences that he is currently serving. As to the first issue, we conclude that § 54-91g does not apply to the defendant. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the Appellate Court.")


Criminal Law Supreme Court Slip Opinion

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4671

SC20450 - State v. Bradley (Standing; whether Appellate Court properly held Caucasian defendant convicted under General Statutes § 21a-277 (b) did not have standing to bring due process challenge based on claim that statute was enacted to discriminate against minority groups; If not, whether § 21a-277 (b) was enacted to discriminate against African Americans and/or Mexican Americans; "Today we are called on to decide whether a defendant has standing to assert a violation of his right to due process based on his conviction under a statute that he claims is unconstitutional. The twist in that otherwise straightforward question is that the defendant, who is Caucasian, claims that Connecticut's statute criminalizing the sale of marijuana violates the equal protection clause of the United States constitution because it was enacted to discriminate against African Americans and Mexican Americans.

The defendant, William Hyde Bradley, appeals from the judgment of the Appellate Court affirming the trial court's judgments following his conditional pleas of nolo contendere to charges of sale of a controlled substance and violation of probation. The defendant's principal claim on appeal is that the Appellate Court incorrectly concluded that he lacked standing to argue that his conviction for sale of a controlled substance in violation of General Statutes (Rev. to 2017) § 21a-277 (b) violated his due process rights because he was convicted under an unconstitutional statute. Specifically, he contends that the Appellate Court erroneously held that a defendant cannot bring a constitutional challenge, in his individual capacity, based on an alleged violation of others' equal protection rights. Because the defendant cannot meet the requirements to establish classical aggrievement, we affirm the judgment of the Appellate Court. Accordingly, we do not reach the merits of the defendant's equal protection claim in this appeal.")


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