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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=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.")


Criminal Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3614

AC41807 - State v. Burton (Murder; criminal possession of firearm; carrying pistol without permit; motion to suppress; hearsay; "The defendant, Jaquwan Burton, appeals from the judgment of conviction, rendered after a jury trial, of murder in violation of General Statutes §§ 53a-54a (a) and 53a-8, criminal possession of a firearm in violation of General Statutes § 53a-217 (a) (1), and carrying a pistol without a permit in violation of General Statutes § 29-35 (a). On appeal, the defendant claims that the trial court improperly (1) denied his motion to suppress items of evidence seized from his girlfriend's bedroom located at her mother's residence because neither his girlfriend nor her mother provided voluntary consent to search therein, (2) excluded evidence concerning the inability of two eyewitnesses to identify extrajudicially the defendant from a photographic array as the shooter, and (3) excluded from evidence a video recording of an interview between an eyewitness and the police. 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=3612

SC20101 - State v. Walker (Felony murder; manslaughter first degree with firearm; attempt to commit robbery first degree; criminal possession of pistol or revolver; certification from Appellate Court; "The sole issue in this certified appeal is whether Appellate Court correctly concluded that the defendant, Eugene L. Walker, failed to establish a violation of his right under the sixth amendment to the United States constitution to confront witnesses against him. Specifically, the defendant asserts that the state violated his right to confrontation by introducing evidence at trial that his DNA profile, which had been generated from a postarrest buccal swab, matched the DNA found on evidence from the crime scene without calling as a witness the analyst who processed the buccal swab and generated the DNA profile used in that comparison.

The defendant's DNA profile was created after his arrest in aid of an ongoing criminal investigation and under circumstances objectively indicating that it was created for the primary purpose of being used as evidence in the defendant's criminal case. In addition, the sole analyst who testified about the DNA evidence at trial neither performed nor observed the analysis of the buccal swab that produced the DNA profile and, therefore, was not a sufficient substitute witness to satisfy the defendant's right to confrontation. We conclude that, under the specific circumstances of this case, the defendant has established a violation of his right to confrontation. As a result, we reverse in part the judgment of the Appellate Court.")


Criminal Law Supreme and Appellate Court Opinions

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3604

SC20177 - State v. Dudley (Petition, pursuant to statute (§ 54-142d), to erase records relating to finding that defendant had violated terms of his probation; whether trial court improperly denied defendant's petition; "In 2011, our General Assembly changed the penalty for possessing less than one-half ounce of marijuana from a potential term of imprisonment and/or a large fine to merely a fine. See Public Acts 2011, No. 11-71 (P.A. 11-71), codified at General Statutes § 21a-279a. Subsequently, in State v. Menditto, 315 Conn. 861, 863, 110 A.3d 410 (2015), this court held that P.A. 11-71 "decriminalized" the possession of less than one-half ounce of marijuana for purposes of this state's erasure statute, General Statutes § 54-142d. In the present case, the defendant asks us to hold that § 54-142d also compels the erasure of a finding of a violation of probation that he claims was premised on the now decriminalized offense of possession of less than one-half ounce of marijuana. The trial court rejected the defendant's argument, and we affirm the trial court's decision.")

AC41806 - State v. Carrasquillo (Murder; criminal possession of firearm; "The defendant, Angel Carrasquillo, appeals from the judgment of conviction, rendered following a jury trial, of two counts of murder as an accessory in violation of General Statutes §§ 53a-8 and 53a-54a, and one count of criminal possession of a firearm in violation of General Statutes § 53a-217. The defendant claims that the trial court (1) deprived him of his right to due process and his right to a jury trial by coercing the jury to reach a verdict, (2) improperly denied his motion for a mistrial and his request for a postverdict inquiry into jury coercion, and (3) deprived him of his right to due process by failing to provide the jury with additional guidance with respect to the principle of accessorial liability. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Criminal Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Zigadto, Janet

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3590

AC40311 - State v. Alicea (Assault in first degree; "The defendant . . . appeals, following a jury trial, from the judgment of conviction of assault in the first degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-59 (a) (1) (intentional assault) and assault in the first degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-59 (a) (3) (reckless assault). The defendant, following a plea of nolo contendere to a part B information, also was convicted of being a persistent dangerous felony offender pursuant to General Statutes § 53a-40 (a) (1) (A). On appeal, the defendant claims that (1) the jury's verdicts of guilty on both intentional and reckless assault were legally inconsistent, (2) the court erred in excluding his statement to the police, given approximately forty-five minutes after the incident at issue, and (3) the state failed to disprove his claim of self-defense. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")

AC40889 - State v. Juan V. (Risk of injury to child; "The defendant . . . appeals from the judgment of conviction, rendered after a jury trial, of two counts of risk of injury to a child in violation of General Statutes § 53-21 (a) (1) 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 the court improperly (1) permitted the jury to have with it during its deliberations a video recording of a forensic interview between the victim and a forensic interviewer, which was admitted as a full exhibit, (2) instructed the jury on inferences in a manner that diluted the state's burden of proof, and (3) denied his motion for a disclosure of the victim's school records. The defendant's first two claims concededly are unpreserved and we conclude that the defendant has failed to demonstrate that this court should review them or that he should prevail pursuant to the doctrines on which he relies. As to the defendant’s third claim of error, we have reviewed the victim's school records and conclude that they do not contain any information that is exculpatory or otherwise bears on the victim’s credibility. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.")

AC40163 - State v. Kerlyn T. (Aggravated sexual assault in first degree; "The defendant . . . appeals from the judgments of conviction, rendered following a trial to the court, of aggravated sexual assault in the first degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-70a (a) (1), home invasion in violation of General Statutes § 53a-100aa (a) (2), risk of injury to a child in violation of General Statutes § 53-21 (a) (1), assault in the second degree with a firearm in violation of General Statutes § 53a-60a (a), unlawful restraint in the first degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-95 (a), and two counts each of threatening in the first degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-61aa (a) (3), and assault in the third degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-61 (a) (1). On appeal, the defendant claims that the court erred (1) in finding that his jury trial waiver was knowing, intelligent and voluntary, and (2) by failing to conduct an adequate inquiry into the underlying facts giving rise to his request to remove his privately retained counsel. Upon review, we conclude that the court did not err when it determined that the defendant's jury trial waiver was knowing, intelligent and voluntary, nor did it err when it denied the defendant's request to remove defense counsel midtrial without a more searching inquiry. Accordingly, we affirm the judgments of conviction.")

AC40305 - State v. Porfil (Possession of narcotics; "The defendant . . . appeals from the judgment of conviction, rendered after a jury trial, of possession of narcotics with intent to sell by a person who is not drug-dependent in violation of General Statutes § 21a-278 (b), sale of narcotics within 1500 feet of a school in violation of General Statutes § 21a-278a (b), possession of drug paraphernalia in violation of General Statutes § 21a-267, and possession of narcotics in violation of General Statutes § 21a-279 (a). The defendant claims on appeal that (1) the evidence was insufficient to establish that he was in constructive possession of narcotics, (2) the trial court deprived him of his constitutional right to present a defense by improperly excluding certain photographic evidence and (3) the trial court deprived him of his constitutional right to present a misidentification defense by preventing him from displaying a scar to the jury. 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=3588

SC20134 - State v. Weatherspoon (Sexual assault in cohabiting relationship; assault third degree; "Upon careful review of the record, we affirm the judgment of conviction. We conclude that the prosecutor's tailoring comment constituted a specific, rather than a generic, tailoring argument because it was substantiated by express reference to evidence from which the jury reasonably could infer that the defendant had tailored his testimony. We therefore decline the defendant's request to decide whether generic tailoring arguments violate the state constitution. With respect to the alleged improprieties under Singh, for the purposes of our analysis, we assume, without deciding, that Singh was violated, but we nonetheless conclude that the defendant was not deprived of his due process right to a fair trial. We therefore affirm the judgment of conviction.")


Criminal Law Supreme and Appellate Court Opinions

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=3581

SC19938 - State v. Petion (Assault first degree; claim of evidentiary insufficiency; certification from Appellate Court; physical injury and serious physical injury, distinguished; disfigurement and serious disfigurement, distinguished; "Whether an assault results in physical injury or serious physical injury can have profound ramifications for the victim. Consequently, substantially greater punishment may be imposed for the latter injury than the former. Although this court has acknowledged "the difficulty of drawing a precise line as to where physical injury leaves off and serious physical injury begins" (internal quotation marks omitted); State v. Ovechka, 292 Conn. 533, 546–47, 975 A.2d 1 (2009); see also State v. Almeda, 211 Conn. 441, 451, 560 A.2d 389 (1989); the present case provides an opportunity to illuminate that distinction. In particular, we use this occasion to examine the parameters that should be used by the trier of fact to assess whether a defendant has inflicted serious physical injury in the form of serious disfigurement. See General Statutes § 53a-3 (4).

The defendant, Divenson Petion, appeals from the Appellate Court's judgment affirming his conviction of two counts of assault in the first degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-59 (a) (1). See State v. Petion, 172 Conn. App. 668, 669–70, 687, 161 A.3d 618 (2017). The defendant claims that the forearm scar sustained by one of the two victims was an insufficient basis for the jury to find the serious physical injury necessary to support that charge. The state disagrees but requests, in the event that we conclude otherwise, that a judgment of acquittal not be rendered on that charge and, instead, that the judgment be modified to reflect a conviction of the lesser included offense of assault in the second degree; see General Statutes § 53a-60 (a) (2); and the case be remanded for resentencing. We conclude that the evidence was insufficient to support the challenged conviction. We further conclude that, under State v. LaFleur, 307 Conn. 115, 51 A.3d 1048 (2012), the state is not entitled to have the defendant's conviction modified. Therefore, we reverse in part the Appellate Court's judgment.")

AC38035 - State v. Scott (Robbery in first degree; "The defendant, Emmit Scott, appeals from the judgment of conviction, rendered following a jury trial, of two counts of robbery in the first degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-134 (a) (4). On appeal, the defendant claims that (1) the trial court deprived him of his right to due process under the federal and state constitutions when it denied his motion to suppress an out-of-court and subsequent in-court identification of him, (2) there was insufficient evidence to support his conviction of robbery as against one of the victims, and (3) the court, Clifford, J., abused its discretion by denying the defendant's motion to disqualify Judge Brian Fischer. 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=3567

AC40875 - State v. Mercer (Sexual assault in first degree; unlawful restraint in first degree; "The defendant, Leon Mercer, appeals from the judgment of conviction, rendered following a jury trial, of sexual assault in the first degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-70 (a) (1) and unlawful restraint in the first degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-95. On appeal, the defendant claims that he was deprived of his constitutional rights to due process and effective assistance of counsel during the plea bargaining stage of the proceedings because the state initially charged him with a crime predicated on its misunderstanding of the victim's age. We are unable to reach the merits of the defendant's appeal due to an inadequate record. Accordingly, 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=3565

SC19783 - State v. Jacques (Murder; "After a jury trial, the trial court convicted the defendant, Jean Jacques, of murdering the victim, Casey Chadwick, in violation of General Statutes § 53a-54a. The defendant now appeals from that conviction. The subject of this appeal is the trial court's denial of his motion to suppress incriminating evidence linking him to the murder, which the police obtained from a search of his apartment without a warrant. The defendant had a month-to-month lease for the apartment and had paid only the first month's rent. Five days into that lease, the defendant was arrested for certain drug offenses and, shortly thereafter, the murder of the victim. The defendant never posted bond or made any arrangements to pay for a second month of rent.

Five days after his rent was due for a second month, the police searched his apartment without a warrant and discovered the victim's cell phone hidden in a bathroom wall. The defendant moved to suppress that evidence on the ground that the search violated his right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures under the fourth amendment to the United States constitution. In denying his motion to suppress, the trial court explained that the defendant had failed to "maintain the apartment as his own" because the lease had expired, the defendant had not made any further rent payments, and the defendant did not make arrangements to secure his belongings in the apartment. Thus, the court concluded that the defendant did not have a subjective expectation of privacy in the apartment at the time of the search.

The question before us is whether the trial court properly denied the defendant's motion to suppress on the ground that he did not have a subjective expectation of privacy in the apartment at the time of the search. We conclude that, under the specific facts of this case, the defendant established that the apartment was his home and that neither his incarceration nor his failure to pay rent five days after it was due divested him of his subjective expectation of privacy in his apartment. Therefore, we further conclude that the trial court improperly denied the defendant's motion to suppress and, accordingly, 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=3558

AC41424 - State v. Chavez (Manslaughter in first degree; "The defendant, Mario Chavez, appeals from the judgment of conviction, rendered following a jury trial, of manslaughter in the first degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-55 (a) (1). On appeal, the defendant claims that the court improperly (1) deprived him of his constitutional right to a fair trial by failing to instruct the jury, sua sponte, about the "inherent shortcomings" of simultaneous foreign language interpretation of trial testimony, and (2) instructed the jury that it could consider, as consciousness of guilt evidence, that the defendant changed his shirt shortly after the victim was stabbed. We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of conviction.")

AC41175 - State v. Clark (Assault in second degree; "The defendant, Terene Clark, appeals from the judgment of conviction, rendered following a jury trial, of one count of assault in the second degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-60 (a) (3). On appeal, the defendant claims that the trial court erred by denying her motion to suppress her statement to the police, which she alleges was obtained in violation of her constitutional rights under Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 478–79, 86 S. Ct. 1602, 16 L. Ed. 2d 694 (1966). We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


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