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.

Habeas Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4108

AC41867 - Budziszewski v. Connecticut Judicial Branch ("The petitioner, Piotr Budziszewski, appeals from the judgment of the habeas court denying his petition for a writ of habeas corpus. The petitioner claims on appeal that the habeas court improperly rejected his claim that his right to effective assistance of counsel was violated by his criminal trial counsel’s failure to properly advise him of the immigration consequences of entering a guilty plea. We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the habeas court.")


Probate Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4107

AC42922 - In re Probate Appeal of Nguyen ("The plaintiff, Michael Nguyen (respondent), appeals from the judgment of the Superior Court affirming the decision of the Probate Court for the district of Hartford ordering the involuntary commitment of the respondent to The Institute of Living (institute) for treatment of his psychiatric disabilities. On appeal,the respondent claims that the Superior Court erred in determining that his substantial rights were not prejudiced when the Probate Court (1) lacked jurisdiction and exceeded its statutory authority because the institute failed to comply with the notice requirements of General Statutes § 17a-498 (e), (2) improperly admitted a police report and two physician’s certificates into evidence, and (3) entered an order that was clearly erroneous, arbitrary or capricious, characterized by an abuse of discretion, or a clearly unwarranted exercise of discretion because it was based on inadmissible evidence. We affirm the judgment of the Superior Court.")


Criminal Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4106

SC18190 - State v. Ashby (Murder; Sexual Assault; Whether Trial Court Properly Denied Request for Third-Party Culpability Instruction; Whether Trial Court Properly Excluded Evidence That Police Conducted an Inadequate Investigation; Whether Testimony from Jailhouse Informant Violated Defendant's Right to Counsel. "The principal issue in this appeal is whether the state violated its affirmative obligation under Massiah v. United States, 377 U.S. 201, 206, 84 S. Ct. 1199, 12 L. Ed. 2d 246 (1964), and its progeny to respect and preserve an invocation of the right to counsel under the sixth amendment to the United States constitution by using a jailhouse informant, Kenneth Pladsen, Jr., to deliberately elicit certain incriminating statements from the defendant, Lazale Ashby. The defendant, who was convicted of several crimes in connection with a murder in the city of Hartford on the night of December 1, 2002, appeals from the underlying judgment, raising numerous claims of error. For the reasons that follow, we conclude that the defendant's constitutional right to counsel was violated and, accordingly, that he is entitled to a new trial on all counts. With respect to the defendant's other claims, we conclude that (1) he is not entitled to a judgment of acquittal on the charge of burglary in the first degree in violation of General Statutes (Rev. to 2001) § 53a-101 (a) (2) on the ground of insufficient evidence, and (2) the trial court improperly declined to provide a third-party culpability instruction to the jury in light of certain unidentified male DNA discovered at the crime scene.")



Revisions to the Rules of Appellate Procedure

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4103

The Judicial Branch has posted recently adopted revisions to the Rules of Appellate Procedure, to take effect on January 1, 2021 (and other dates).

The amendments were approved by the Appellate Court on July 7, 2020 and by the Supreme Court on July 23, 2020. The amendments make changes to a number of rules.

The Connecticut Judicial Branch court rules web page contains links to all proposed and adopted amendments to the current Connecticut Practice Book.



Connecticut Law Journal - August 4, 2020

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4102

The Connecticut Law Journal, Volume LXXXII, No. 5, for August 4, 2020 is now available.

Contained in the issue is the following:

  • Table of Contents
  • Volume 335: Orders (Pages 930 - 931)
  • Volume 335: Cumulative Table of Cases Connecticut Reports
  • Volume 199: Connecticut Appellate Reports (Pages 367 - 484)
  • Volume 199: Cumulative Table of Cases Connecticut Appellate Reports
  • Miscellaneous Notices
  • Supreme Court Pending Cases
  • Adopted Rules of Appellate Procedure


Supreme Court Advance Release Opinions

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4100

SC20315 - Praisner v. State (Indemnification; Sovereign Immunity; "The sole issue in this certified appeal is whether the Appellate Court correctly concluded that a university police officer is not a member of a "local police department" entitled to indemnification under General Statutes (Rev. to 2013) § 53-39a. The plaintiff, Martin J. Praisner, Jr., argues that the Appellate Court erred in concluding that a university's special police force is not a "local police department" for purposes of § 53-39a, and that the legislature, by limiting coverage to local police departments, did not intend for university special police forces to be covered under this statute. We conclude that the Appellate Court correctly interpreted § 53-39a and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the Appellate Court.")

SC20477 - Fay v. Merrill ("The four plaintiffs, who are candidates in the August 11, 2020 primary election (August primary) for the Republican Party's nomination for the office of United States Representative for Connecticut's First and Second Congressional Districts, brought this original jurisdiction proceeding pursuant to General Statutes § 9-323 against the defendant, Denise W. Merrill, in her official capacity as the Secretary of the State. The plaintiffs sought declaratory and injunctive relief challenging the defendant's "ruling of an election official," which added a seventh category for absentee voting, "COVID-19," to the application for absentee ballots (application) for the August primary in contemplation of the ongoing coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) global pandemic. The plaintiffs claimed that the defendant's change to the application violates article sixth, § 7, of the Connecticut constitution because (1) she acted pursuant to Governor Ned Lamont's Executive Order No. 7QQ, which itself violates article sixth, § 7, of the Connecticut constitution, and (2) it expanded the application beyond the existing limitations set forth by General Statutes § 9-135. The plaintiffs also claimed that the application is inconsistent with the terms of Executive Order No. 7QQ. The defendant moved to dismiss the complaint, contending, inter alia, that the court lacked jurisdiction under § 9-323 because that election contest statute does not apply to primaries, and, in any event, the plaintiffs' constitutional challenge is not one that is cognizable under the election contest statutes. After a hearing held on July 20, 2020, this court granted the motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction under § 9-323. This written opinion followed.")


Juvenile Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4101

AC43680 - In re Aisjaha N. (Neglect; "The sole issue in this appeal is whether the court, Hon. John Turner, judge trial referee, erroneously denied the respondent mother’s motion for a continuance during a trial in which her daughter, Aisjaha N. (child), was adjudicated neglected.The oral motion, made by counsel for the respondent mother at the start of the hearing, was based on her alleged emergency hospitalization at the time of the hearing. The court denied the motion and the neglect hearing proceeded without the respondent mother present. The court found that the child was neglected and committed her to the care of the petitioner, the Commissioner of Children and Families. This appeal followed.In her appeal, the respondent mother argues that the trial court violated her due process rights under the fifth amendment to the United States constitution by denying her motion for a continuance of the petitioner’s neglect petition. The petitioner argues that the court properly denied her motion for a continuance and that the respondent mother’s due process rights were not implicated. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Medical Malpractice Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4097

AC42145 - Carpenter v. Daar (Medical malpractice; motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction; "The plaintiff, Shane J. Carpenter, appeals from the judgment rendered by the trial court dismissing his medical malpractice action against the defendants, Dr. Bradley J. Daar (Daar), a dentist, and his business entity, Shoreline Modern Dental, LLC (Shoreline). The plaintiff claims that the court erred in determining that his certificate of good faith, specifically, the accompanying opinion letter, as supplemented by an affidavit filed with the plaintiff's objection to the motion to dismiss, (supplemental affidavit) failed to meet the requirements of General Statutes § 52-190a because the author of the opinion letter and supplemental affidavit, Dr. Charles S. Solomon (Solomon), was not a "similar health care provider" as defined in General Statutes § 52-184c.

The defendants counter that the certificate of good faith and its accompanying opinion letter did not demonstrate that Solomon was a similar health care provider under the definitions set forth in § 52-184c. They further assert, as alternative grounds for affirmance of the trial court's judgment, that the supplemental affidavit should not have been considered by the trial court because (1) it was procedurally improper for the plaintiff to have attempted to cure a § 52-190a (a) defect in an opinion letter attached to the complaint with information contained in a supplemental affidavit of the author of the opinion without amending the complaint; (2) it was obtained and submitted by the plaintiff after the two year statute of limitations in General Statutes § 52-584 had expired, and the court failed to state a factual basis to support the applicability of the accidental failure of suit statute, General Statutes § 52-592, which would have extended the statute of limitations for an additional year from the date the judgment of dismissal was entered in the first action; see General Statutes § 52-190a (a); and (3) without the supplemental affidavit, the opinion letter attached to the complaint did not contain sufficient information to demonstrate that Solomon is a similar health care provider to Daar under either definition of a similar health care provider set forth in § 52-184c. We affirm the judgment of the trial court. ")


Habeas Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4098

AC42894 - Whistnant v. Commissioner of Correction (Habeas corpus; subject matter jurisdiction; "The petitioner, Jerry Lewis Whistnant, appeals following the denial of his petition for certification to appeal from the judgment of the habeas court declining to issue a writ of habeas corpus for lack of subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to Practice Book § 23-24 (a) (1). On appeal, the petitioner claims that the court improperly (1) denied his petition for certification to appeal, (2) declined to issue the writ of habeas corpus pursuant to § 23-24 (a) (1) without conducting a hearing, and (3) concluded that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction over the claims raised in his petition for a writ of habeas corpus. We conclude that the habeas court did not abuse its discretion in denying the petitioner's petition for certification to appeal, and, therefore, we dismiss the appeal.")


Criminal Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4099

AC40886 - State v. Orr (Violation of probation; "In this violation of probation case, the self-represented defendant, Anthony D. Orr, appeals from the judgment rendered by the trial court after it found him in violation of his probation pursuant to General Statutes § 53a-32. On appeal, the defendant claims that his state and federal constitutional rights to due process, to a fair trial, and to be convicted upon sufficient evidence were violated. Specifically, he claims that (1) there was insufficient evidence pursuant to which the court could find by a preponderance of the evidence that he had violated the terms of his probation; (2) the court found that he had violated state laws with which he had not been charged; (3) the state suppressed evidence in violation of Brady; (4) the trial court abused its discretion by permitting the state to try the violation of probation case before it tried a criminal case that was then pending against him; (5) he was denied due process because he did not know the nature of the charges against him; and (6) the court violated the Code of Judicial Conduct. With respect to each of his claims, the defendant has requested that we review them pursuant to 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), the plain error doctrine, or for abuse of discretion. On the basis of our review of the record, the briefs, and arguments of the parties, we conclude that the defendant's claim of insufficient evidence is moot and his purported constitutional claims fail under the third prong of Golding because the claimed constitutional violations did not exist and the defendant was not denied due process or a fair trial. We, therefore, dismiss the defendant's claim of insufficient evidence and otherwise affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Contract Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4096

SC20392 - Shoreline Shellfish, LLC v. Branford (Breach of contract; promissory estoppel; right of first refusal; "Given the geography of our state, which is bounded on the south by the Long Island Sound, shellfishing has a long and rich history in Connecticut. The first Connecticut laws regulating the taking of shellfish were created before the revolution, in the early eighteenth century. Connecticut State Register and Manual (2019) p. 825. By the late nineteenth century, oyster farming was a major contributor to the state's economy. Id. For a time, Connecticut had the largest fleet of oyster steamers in the world. Id. Beginning in the mid-nineteenth century, water pollution, disease, overharvesting, and other factors decimated historically abundant shellfish populations, but cleaner water and better management practices contributed to a rebounding shellfish population in recent years. The Nature Conservancy, "Private Shellfish Grounds in Connecticut: An Assessment of Law, Policy, Practice and Spatial Data" (January, 2010) p. 6. The shellfishing industry in Connecticut, too, has begun to rebound; today, the industry makes more than $30 million in annual sales.

The waters of the Sound are both a natural and an economic resource of the state, guarded jealously. Predictably, control over the shellfish industry is also guarded jealously and has long been subject to state and local legislation, including state legislation unique to a particular town in the present case, the defendant, the town of Branford. In this appeal, we are asked to resolve a dispute that has arisen not just between a local business and the town, but among that town's governing entities. At its core, this case involves a dispute over who has authority to lease shellfishing beds on the town's behalf, Branford's Shellfish Commission (commission) or its Board of Selectmen (selectmen).

The plaintiffs, Shellfish Partners, Ltd., and its general partner, Shoreline Shellfish, LLC, which had been granted the right of first refusal by the commission to lease certain shellfishing grounds located in Branford, appeal from the trial court's decision to render summary judgment in favor of the defendant on the ground that there was no genuine issue of material fact that the selectmen, and not the commission, had authority to bind the defendant to agreements relating to the leasing of shellfishing grounds pursuant to General Statutes § 26-266 and chapter 88 of the Branford Town Code (code). Specifically, the plaintiffs claim that the trial court improperly interpreted § 26-266 (a), which gives charge of shellfishing grounds to "[t]he selectmen . . . or shellfish commission," to grant both the commission and the selectmen authority to lease shellfishing grounds within the town, and, therefore, that the ordinance, § 88-8 of the code, which splits authority between the commission and the selectmen, is invalid on this basis. In the alternative, the plaintiffs claim that, even if the trial court properly interpreted § 26-266 and the ordinance as granting authority to both the commission and the selectmen, the trial court improperly interpreted the meaning of the phrase "owned by" in the ordinance, and, thus, there is a genuine issue of material fact as to whether the defendant owned the shellfishing ground at issue. We agree with the plaintiffs that, assuming that the ordinance does not conflict with § 26-266, on the basis of the clear and unambiguous language of the ordinance, there was a genuine issue of material fact regarding whether the defendant "owned" the shellfishing ground at issue. Therefore, the trial court improperly rendered summary judgment, and we reverse the judgment of the trial court and remand the case for further proceedings.")


July 29th Update to the Judicial Branch Home Page and COVID-19 Information Page

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4095

Below is a recent update to the Judicial Branch home page and COVID-19 information page:

For the most current information, see the COVID-19 information page. Additionally, there is a Frequently Asked Questions – COVID-19 and Court Business web page organized by topic.

  • Posted in:
  • FYI

Criminal Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4094

SC20358 - State v. Ramon A. G. ("The defendant, Ramon A. G., appeals from the judgment of the Appellate Court affirming the judgment of conviction, rendered after a jury trial, among other crimes, of assault in the third degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-61. The defendant claims that the Appellate Court incorrectly concluded that he had (1) failed to preserve his claim that the trial court violated his constitutional rights by omitting a defense of personal property instruction with respect to the charge of assault, and (2) waived that unpreserved instructional claim. See State v. Ramon A. G., 190 Conn. App. 483, 211 A.3d 82 (2019). We disagree with the defendant and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the Appellate Court.")


Connecticut Law Journal - July 28, 2020

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4093

The Connecticut Law Journal, Volume LXXXII, No. 4, for July 28, 2020 is now available.

Contained in the issue is the following:

  • Table of Contents
  • Volume 335: Connecticut Reports (Pages 212 - 225)
  • Volume 335: Orders (Pages 929 - 930)
  • Volume 335: Cumulative Table of Cases Connecticut Reports
  • Volume 199: Connecticut Appellate Reports (Pages 282 - 367)
  • Volume 199: Cumulative Table of Cases Connecticut Appellate Reports
  • Miscellaneous Notices
  • Supreme Court Pending Cases
  • Notices of Connecticut State Agencies


New Office of Legislative Research Reports

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4092

The Office of Legislative Research has published the following reports:

Issue Brief: Open Educational Resources - 2020-R-0178 - Open educational resources (OERs) are free and openly-licensed educational materials that are used for teaching, learning, research, and other purposes.

Waiver of Certain Child Care Licensing Requirements in Response to COVID-19 - 2020-R-0130 - Provide an overview of the Executive Orders (EO) issued due to the COVID-19 pandemic that waive licensing and other requirements for child care centers in Connecticut.


Employment Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4091

AC41976 - Kovachich v. Dept. of Mental Health and Addiction Services (Employment discrimination; retaliation; mootness; "The defendant, Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, appeals from the judgment of the trial court rendered following a court trial in favor of the plaintiff, Virlee Kovachich. The plaintiff filed a cross appeal. On appeal, the defendant claims that the court improperly (1) admitted into evidence settlement communications between the parties, (2) found that the defendant violated the Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act (act), General Statutes § 46a-60 et seq., by providing insufficient accommodations to the plaintiff and failing to engage in the interactive process required under the act, (3) precluded the defendant from cross-examining the plaintiff with deposition testimony that was changed through an errata sheet, and (4) determined that hearsay statements by any state employee, including statements from the plaintiff's union representatives, were admissible against the defendant as admissions by a party opponent. On cross appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court improperly denied both her posttrial request to file a second amended complaint to conform to the proof at trial and motion to open the judgment. We agree with the defendant's first, third, and fourth claims and, accordingly, reverse the judgment of the trial court.")


Tort Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4090

AC42912 - Cohen v. Postal Holdings, LLC (Summary judgment; negligence; private nuisance; "The plaintiffs, Chad E. Cohen and Kirsten Cohen, appeal from the summary judgment rendered by the trial court in favor of the defendant, Postal Holdings, LLC, on their operative two count complaint sounding in negligence and private nuisance. On appeal, the plaintiffs claim that the trial court improperly concluded that (1) the defendant was not liable for negligence on the ground that there was no genuine issue of material fact that the defendant did not exercise control over the leased premises at issue and, therefore, did not owe a duty of care to the plaintiffs, who, at all relevant times, owned abutting property, and (2) the defendant was not liable for private nuisance on the ground that there was no genuine issue of material fact that the defendant did not interfere with the plaintiffs' use and enjoyment of their abutting property. We disagree, and, accordingly, we affirm the summary judgment of the trial court.")


Foreclosure Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4089

AC42709 - Chelsea Groton Bank v. Belltown Sports, LLC (Foreclosure; "The defendants Belltown Sports, LLC (Belltown Sports), Sports on 66, LLC (Sports on 66), and Brian Cutler appeal from the judgment of foreclosure by sale rendered by the trial court in favor of the plaintiff, Chelsea Groton Bank. On appeal, the defendants claim that the court improperly (1) rendered summary judgment as to liability in favor of the plaintiff and (2) concluded that the priority of a Small Business Administration (SBA) loan does not bar the plaintiff’s right to foreclose on its mortgage. We disagree and affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


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