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 Court Opinion

by Townsend, Karen


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.”)