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Criminal Law & Procedure

Criminal Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4969

SC20528 - State v. Police (Statute of limitations; judgment reversed and case remanded with direction to render judgment dismissing the information; “This appeal presents a significant issue of first impression not only for this state but, to our knowledge, the rest of the country as well: whether a John Doe arrest warrant that identified the suspect on the basis of a general physical description and several mixed partial DNA profiles to which the suspect may or may not have been a contributor, and that did not state the probability that a random person would match any of those profiles, satisfies the particularity requirement of the fourth amendment to the United States constitution for purposes of commencing a prosecution within the applicable statute of limitations.”)


Criminal Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4966

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.”)


Criminal Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4964

SC20306 - State v. Torres (Whether trial court improperly excluded evidence of alleged altercation between witness and third parties at time of defendant's first trial; Whether alleged prosecutorial improprieties deprived defendant of fair trial; Whether trial court erred in excluding evidence of conduct underlying witness' misdemeanor convictions "The defendant, Quavon Torres, appeals from the judgment of the trial court convicting him of the crimes of murder in violation of General Statutes § 53a-54a (a) and carrying a pistol without a permit in violation of General Statutes § 29-35. The defendant's principal claim is that the trial court improperly excluded evidence of an assault of one of the state's witnesses, Tasia Milton. The defendant also claims that the trial court improperly prevented him from impeaching another state's witness, Teresa Jones, with evidence of certain previous criminal offenses. We disagree with both of these claims and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the trial court.")


Criminal Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4963

    AC43339 - State v. Gray (“On appeal, the defendant claims that the trial court (1) improperly denied his motion to dismiss the charges against him or, in the alternative, to suppress any evidence relating to currency seized during his arrest, thereby violating his right to due process under article first, § 8, of the Connecticut constitution, (2) abused its discretion by denying the defendant’s postverdict motion for a new trial or, in the alternative, for a mistrial based on the state’s late disclosure of forensic lab photographs, and (3) abused its discretion by permitting the state, on rebuttal, to present an enlarged copy of a lab photograph already in evidence and witness testimony on that photograph. We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the trial court.”)

    AC43377 - State v. Kyle A. (Burglary in the first degree, criminal mischief in the first degree, threatening in the second degree, criminal violation of a protective order, tampering with a witness in violation, attempt to commit criminal violation of a protective order. “The defendant’s appellate claims pertain solely to his burglary conviction. The defendant claims that, because the state did not present sufficient evidence that he committed the burglary offense, he is entitled to a judgment of acquittal with respect to that offense. Alternatively, the defendant claims that, because the court’s instruction concerning the burglary offense constituted plain error, the conviction for burglary should be overturned and the case remanded for a new trial with respect to that offense. We affirm the judgments of the trial court.”)


    Criminal Law Supreme Court Opinion

       by Townsend, Karen

     https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4936

    SC20462 - State v. Tyrus (Murder; In this appeal, the defendant claims that (1) the Appellate Court incorrectly concluded that the trial court had not abused its discretion in joining the defendant’s case with that of his codefendant, Darius Armadore, because the evidence in both cases was cross admissible, (2) his fourth amendment rights were violated under Carpenter v. United States, U.S. , 138 S. Ct. 2206, 201 L. Ed. 2d 507 (2018), when the police obtained his cell site location information (CSLI) without a warrant supported by probable cause, and (3) the Appellate Court incorrectly concluded that the defendant’s right to confrontation was not violated when the trial court allowed a state’s firearms examiner to testify about the findings of a second firearms examiner, who was deceased and, thus, unavailable to testify at trial. The state disagrees with each of these claims and asserts, in the alternative, that any error was harmless. For the reasons that follow, we agree that the Appellate Court correctly concluded that the trial court had not abused its discretion in joining the defendant’s case with the codefendant’s case and that the violations of the defendant’s constitutional rights were harmless beyond a reasonable doubt. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the Appellate Court.”)


    Criminal Law Appellate Court Opinion

       by Townsend, Karen

     https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4928

    AC44324 - State v. Gerald J. (Conviction of sexual assault in the first degree and risk of injury to a child involving a relative; “After this case was argued, however, defense counsel notified this court that the defendant died on or about March 3, 2022. Because defense counsel did not request any specific disposition of this appeal as a result of the defendant’s death, we dismiss the appeal as moot, consistent with the past precedent of our Supreme Court. See State v. Graham, 337 Conn. 857, 858, 256 A.3d 151 (2021), and cases cited therein. The appeal is dismissed.”)


    Criminal Law Supreme Court Opinion

       by Townsend, Karen

     https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4917

    SC20368 - State v. Gray (Felony murder; attempt to commit robbery first degree; conspiracy to commit robbery first degree; carrying pistol without permit; whether the detention of witnesses for trial constitutes coercion; “On appeal, the defendant claims that the trial court (1) violated his federal due process rights by detaining three eyewitnesses to secure their attendance at trial because those detentions resulted in coerced and involuntary testimony in the state’s favor, and (2) abused its discretion by permitting the prosecutor to read both inconsistent and consistent passages from the witnesses’ grand jury transcripts to the jury for substantive purposes pursuant to State v. Whelan, 200 Conn. 743, 753, 513 A.2d 86, cert. denied, 479 U.S. 994, 107 S. Ct. 597, 93 L. Ed. 2d 598 (1986). We conclude that (1) with respect to the defendant’s first claim, which is unpreserved, he has not established a due process violation under the third prong of 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), and (2) the trial court’s Whelan ruling was not an abuse of its discretion. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.”)


    Criminal Law Supreme and Appellate Court Opinions

       by Townsend, Karen

     https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4916

    SC20496 - State v. Taveras (Breach of peace at a preschool; “In this certified appeal, the state claims that the Appellate Court incorrectly concluded that the evidence contained in the record precluded application of the true threats exception and, as a result, improperly reversed the judgments of the trial court revoking the defendant’s probation pursuant to General Statutes § 53a-32 on the basis of that evidence. The defendant, in response, argues that the Appellate Court’s analysis on the point was sound, and that his conduct on the day of the incident in question warrants first amendment protection. For the reasons that follow, we agree with the state and, accordingly, reverse the judgment of the Appellate Court.”)

    AC43765 - State v. Goode (“On appeal, the defendant claims that the court erred by (1) denying his request for new counsel, (2) requiring him to remain shackled in the courtroom during his trial, and (3) not inquiring into a potential conflict of interest with his counsel. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.”)

    AC43250 - State v. Tony O. (Robbery in the third degree; unlawful restraint in the first degree; assault in the third degree; attempt to commit larceny; “In the second part of the trial, the same jury found the defendant guilty on both counts of a part B information charging him, respectively, with being a serious persistent felony offender in violation of General Statutes § 53a-40 (c), as a basis for enhancing his impending sentence on the charge of unlawful restraint in the first degree, and being a persistent offender of crimes involving assault, stalking, threatening, harassment, and criminal violation of a protective order in violation of General Statutes § 53a-40d, as a basis for enhancing his impending sentence on the charge of assault in the third degree…We agree with the defendant that the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction of robbery in the third degree, and thus we reverse the judgment of conviction on that charge and remand this case to the trial court with direction to enter a judgment of acquittal thereon. We disagree with the defendant, however, as to his other claims of error, and thus affirm the judgment in all other respects.”)


    Criminal Law Supreme Court Opinion

       by Townsend, Karen

     https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4907

    SC20376 - State v. Daniels (Intentional manslaughter, manslaughter in the first degree/reckless manslaughter and misconduct with a motor vehicle/criminally negligent operation), "On appeal to this court, the state argues that the Appellate Court improperly ordered a new trial on all three charges rather than reinstating the defendant’s intentional manslaughter conviction. We agree with the state and, accordingly, reverse in part the judgment of the Appellate Court.")


    Criminal Law Supreme Court Opinion

       by Townsend, Karen

     https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4902

    SC20332 - State v. Jose A. B. (Three counts of sexual assault or attempt to commit sexual assault and two counts of risk of injury to a child; “On appeal, the defendant claims that (1) the trial court improperly overruled his Batson3 objection to the prosecutor’s exercise of peremptory challenges to two venirepersons, and (2) his conviction of two counts of risk of injury to a child violates his right to be free from double jeopardy. We disagree, and, accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.”)


    Criminal Law Supreme Court Opinion

       by Townsend, Karen

     https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4896

    SC20446 - State v. Patel (Murder; home invasion; burglary in the first degree; robbery in the first degree as an accessory; conspiracy to commit burglary in the first degree; “The defendant’s principal challenge relates to the admission into evidence of a codefendant’s recorded dual inculpatory statement to a fellow inmate acting at the behest of the state police. The defendant contends that the Appellate Court incorrectly concluded that the statement was nontestimonial and, therefore, did not implicate the defendant’s confrontation rights under either the United States constitution or the Connecticut constitution, and that the trial court properly admitted it under the hearsay exception for statements against penal interest. We disagree with the defendant’s claims and affirm the Appellate Court’s judgment.”)


    Criminal Law Appellate Court Opinion

       by Booth, George

     https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4877

    AC44270 - State v. Schlosser (Violation of probation; "The defendant, Jeffrey Daniel Schlosser, appeals from the judgments of the trial court revoking his probation and committing him to the custody of the Commissioner of Correction for five years. On appeal, the defendant claims that the court violated his due process rights by failing to advise him of his right to maintain a denial of his violation of probation. We affirm the judgments of the trial court.")


    Criminal Law Appellate Court Opinion

       by Booth, George

     https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4865

    AC44355 - State v. Daniel M. (Sexual assault in fourth degree; risk of injury to child; "The defendant, Daniel M., appeals from the judgment of conviction, rendered after a jury trial, of two counts of sexual assault in the fourth degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-73a (a) (2) 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 trial court erred in admitting evidence of uncharged prior misconduct. We disagree and, therefore, affirm the judgment of conviction.")


    Criminal Law Supreme Court Slip Opinion

       by Booth, George

     https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4849

    SC20559 - State v. Fisher (Criminal; Evidence; Whether evidence was sufficient for jury to find that defendant intended to cause serious physical injury to victim; Whether trial court properly refused to take judicial notice of victim's civil complaint and to allow defendant to cross-examine victim regarding amount sought; Whether trial court abused its discretion in allowing paramedic witness to testify regarding concussion symptoms; "The defendant, Melinda Chantea Fisher, appeals from the judgment of conviction, rendered following a jury trial, of two counts of assault in the second degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-60 (a) (1). The defendant claims that (1) there was insufficient evidence to sustain the jury’s verdict of guilty of assault in the second degree, (2) the trial court erred in denying the defendant’s request to cross-examine the victim more extensively regarding her civil action against the defendant, and (3) the trial court erred in allowing a paramedic, testifying as a fact witness, to testify regarding symptoms of a concussion. We disagree with each of these 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=4845

    AC43571 - Reyes v. State (Petition for new trial; arson in second degree; conspiracy to commit criminal mischief in first degree; conspiracy to commit burglary in first degree; claim that trial court improperly denied petition for new trial; "The petitioner, Angelo Reyes, appeals from the judgment of the trial court, claiming that it improperly denied his petition for a new trial. The dispositive issue is whether the appeal should be dismissed due to the petitioner's failure to comply with the certification requirement of General Statutes § 54-95 (a). We answer that query in the affirmative and, accordingly, dismiss the appeal.")


    Criminal Law Supreme Court Slip Opinions

       by Booth, George

     https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4839

    SC20211 - State v. Gore (Murder; Whether identification of defendant in surveillance video still photograph constituted improper opinion evidence on ultimate issue in case; Whether trial court properly denied defendant's motion for new trial based on alleged juror misconduct; "When the judges of the Superior Court adopted the Connecticut Code of Evidence in 1999, § 7-3 (a) codified the existing common-law evidentiary rule, which prohibited lay opinion testimony that embraced an ultimate issue to be decided by the trier of fact. In accordance with that rule, this court held, in State v. Finan, 275 Conn. 60, 66–67, 881 A.2d 187 (2005), that lay opinion testimony identifying a defendant in video surveillance footage is prohibited when that identification embraces an ultimate issue.

    ...

    In this appeal, we reconsider the wisdom of the "ultimate issue rule" as applied to lay witness identifications of persons depicted in video surveillance footage. In this limited context, we join the majority of federal and state jurisdictions in concluding that the rule is neither tenable nor necessary. Accordingly, we hereby amend § 7-3 (a) of the Connecticut Code of Evidence to incorporate an exception to the ultimate issue rule for lay opinion testimony that relates to the identification of persons depicted in surveillance video or photographs, and overrule State v. Finan, supra, 275 Conn. 60. As we explain in part I of this opinion, we adopt a totality of the circumstances test for determining whether lay opinion testimony identifying a person in surveillance video or photographs is admissible. As we explain subsequently in this opinion, our amendment of § 7-3 (a) to the Connecticut Code of Evidence to incorporate an exception for testimony relating to the identification of persons depicted in surveillance video or photographs does not affect the result in this appeal. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.")

    SC20174 - State v. Bruny (Murder; Evidence; Motion to suppress in-court and out-of-court identifications as unnecessarily suggestive; Whether trial court improperly allowed witnesses to identify defendant on surveillance video of murder; "This is the companion case to State v. Gore, ___ Conn. ___, ___ A.2d ___ (2022), decided today. In Gore, we have amended § 7-3 (a) of the Connecticut Code of Evidence to incorporate an exception to the ultimate issue rule for opinion testimony that relates to the identification of criminal defendants and other persons depicted in surveillance video or photographs. Our decision in Gore addresses how the change to our Code of Evidence affects the admissibility of lay opinion testimony identifying a defendant in surveillance video or photographs. In this appeal, we consider how the rule change affects the admissibility of expert opinion testimony relating to the identification of a defendant in surveillance video or photographs. Put simply, we conclude that such testimony is admissible if it meets the requirements of § 7-2 of the Connecticut Code of Evidence.")


    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.")