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 Supreme and Appellate Court Opinions

by Roy, Christopher


SC19649 - State v. Harris ("The sole issue presented by this appeal is whether the trial court deprived the defendant, Ernest Harris, 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 by an eyewitness to the crimes of which the defendant was convicted. The defendant was charged with felony murder and first degree robbery, among other crimes, after he and an accomplice, Emmitt Scott, allegedly robbed Ruben Gonzalez (victim) and Jose Rivera at gunpoint and Scott shot and killed the victim. The trial court denied the defendant's pretrial motion to suppress an identification that Rivera had made of the defendant while the defendant was being arraigned in an unrelated robbery case, as well as any in-court identification that Rivera might later be asked to make of the defendant. Following a trial, the jury found the defendant guilty of one count each of felony murder and conspiracy to commit robbery in the first degree, and two counts of robbery in the first degree. On appeal, the defendant claims that the trial court violated his due process rights under the federal constitution by denying his motion to suppress Rivera's out-of-court and in-court identifications of him because, contrary to the conclusion of the trial court, the former was the product of an unnecessarily suggestive procedure and neither was reliable. The defendant further claims that, even if the state's use of Rivera's out-of-court and in-court identifications did not violate his due process rights under the federal constitution, the admission of those identifications violated his due process rights under the state constitution, which, the defendant contends, are more protective than his federal due process rights. Although we agree with the defendant that the out-of-court identification procedure was unnecessarily suggestive, we also conclude that Rivera's identification of the defendant was nevertheless sufficiently reliable to satisfy federal due process requirements. Accordingly, for purposes of the federal constitution, the defendant was not entitled to suppression of those identifications. We further conclude that the due process guarantee of the state constitution in article first, § 8, provides somewhat broader protection than the federal constitution with respect to the admissibility of eyewitness identification testimony but that, in the present case, the trial court's failure to apply the state constitutional standard that we adopt today was harmless because the court reasonably could not have reached a different conclusion under that more demanding standard. We therefore affirm the judgment of the trial court."

AC40512 - State v. Carney ("The defendant, Jonathan W. Carney, appeals from the judgment of the trial court denying his motion to correct an illegal sentence. The defendant claims that the court improperly (1) concluded that the sentencing court properly construed General Statutes § 17a-566 as limiting the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) to a recommendation as to the appropriate place of confinement only and, therefore, properly declined to consider information provided by Whiting Forensic Division (Whiting) at the § 17a-566 hearing when it imposed the sentence; and (2) failed to conclude that the sentencing court relied on inaccurate information provided by Whiting. We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the trial court.")

AC40995 - State v. Durdek ("The defendant, Steven Robert Durdek, appeals from the judgment of conviction, rendered after a jury trial, of murder in violation of General Statutes § 53a-54a, felony murder in violation of General Statutes § 53a-54c, burglary in the first degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-101 (a) (2), sexual assault in the first degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-70 (a) (1), arson in the first degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-111 (a) (1), and tampering with physical evidence in violation of General Statutes § 53a-155 (a) (1). The defendant’s sole claim on appeal is that the trial court improperly restricted his cross-examination of a state’s witness by preventing him, for purposes of impeachment, from asking the witness about misconduct that he allegedly had committed as a juvenile. Because the defendant failed to make an offer of proof regarding how the witness would have responded to any question about the alleged misconduct, we conclude that the record is inadequate to review that claim and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of conviction.")