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Criminal Law & Procedure

Criminal Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5320

AC44701 - State v. Hurdle (Alford doctrine; robbery in the first degree; conspiracy to commit robbery in the first degree; “The defendant claims that the trial court improperly (1) determined that it lacked the authority, in accordance with General Statutes § 18-98d, to award him presentence confinement credit, (2) accepted his guilty pleas and denied his subsequent motion for jail credit or to withdraw his pleas, despite his contention that there was never a ‘meeting of the minds’ regarding the terms of his plea agreement with the state, and (3) violated his constitutional rights by failing to advise him during his plea canvass that his guilty pleas would operate as a waiver of his right to a trial by jury. We affirm the judgment of conviction.”)


Criminal Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5313

AC45019 - State v. Griffin (Assault of an elderly person in the second degree; “On appeal, the defendant claims that the trial court improperly denied his motion to suppress a firearm and narcotics that were seized by the police following a warrantless search of a motor vehicle that was connected to the defendant and located near the scene of the defendant’s arrest. We conclude that, under the circumstances of this case, the court properly relied on the automobile exception in determining that the police were not obligated to obtain a warrant before searching the vehicle. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the court.”)

AC44690 - State v. Charles L. (Risk of injury to a child; “On appeal, the defendant claims that (1) the evidence was insufficient for the jury to conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that his actions constituted an act likely to impair the health of a child and (2) ‘‘§ 53-21 (a) (1) is unconstitutionally vague as applied to the facts of this case . . . .’’ We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the trial court.”)


Criminal Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5297

AC45097 - State v. Henry (“On appeal, the defendant argues that the court improperly denied his motion to correct because his sentence imposing a period of special parole violated General Statutes (Rev. to 2017) § 54-125e (b) (1), as amended by No. 18-63 of the 2018 Public Acts (P.A. 18-63). In response, the state argues that the court properly denied the defendant’s motion to correct because that statutory provision does not apply retroactively to the defendant’s crimes. We agree with the state and, therefore, affirm the judgment of the trial court.”)


Criminal Law Supreme Court Slip Opinion

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5290

SC20371 - State v. Brandon (“The defendant appeals from the judgment of conviction, following a jury trial, of manslaughter in the first degree with a firearm in violation of General Statutes § 53a-55a (a). The defendant claims that the trial court improperly denied his motion to suppress the statements he made during two separately recorded interrogations of him by police officers. As to the first interrogation, which occurred on February 16, 2016, sometime between 11 a.m. and noon, at the Bridgeport Office of Adult Probation, the defendant contends that, because the police failed to advise him of his rights pursuant to Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 478–79, 86 S. Ct. 1602, 16 L. Ed. 2d 694 (1966), the interrogation violated his rights under the fifth and fourteenth amendments to the United States constitution. As to the second interrogation, which occurred later on the same day, at approximately 6 p.m., at the Bridgeport Police Department, the defendant claims that, notwithstanding the fact that the officers had issued Miranda warnings at the outset of that interrogation, it was tainted by the alleged illegality of the first interrogation. We disagree. After review, we have determined that the first interrogation was not custodial, and, therefore, that Miranda warnings were not required. Consequently, the failure to provide them did not violate the defendant’s rights and did not taint the second interrogation. Accordingly, we conclude that the trial court properly denied the defendant’s motion to suppress the statements he made during the two interrogations and, therefore, affirm the judgment of the trial court.”)


Criminal Law Supreme Court Slip Opinion

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5277

SC20453 - State v. James A. (“On appeal, the defendant claims that the trial court abused its discretion when it (1) joined for trial his sexual assault, risk of injury to a child, and strangulation charges with his threatening and disorderly conduct charges, and (2) denied his request, as a remedy for the disclosure of his prior incarceration by one of the state’s witnesses, that he be allowed to testify about the nonsexual nature of his prior felony convictions without opening the door to being asked on cross-examination about the nature of those convictions. We reject the defendant’s claims and, accordingly, affirm the judgments of the trial court.”)


Criminal Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5273

AC44149 - State v. Billings (“On appeal, the defendant claims that (1) the court abused its discretion by admitting into evidence social media posts and messages that the state failed to properly authenticate, (2) the state committed prosecutorial impropriety by failing to comply with certain discovery requirements and by making improper statements during its closing arguments, (3) the court abused its discretion when it declined to sanction the state for violating a court order regarding discovery, and (4) the evidence was insufficient to sustain his convictions for stalking and harassment because they were predicated on speech protected by the first amendment. Because we agree with the defendant with respect to his first amendment claim, we reverse the judgment of conviction of harassment in the second degree and stalking in the second degree. The judgment is affirmed in all other respects.”)

AC43024 - State v. Sumler (“Having considered the new rule governing the admissibility of opinion testimony identifying an individual in surveillance videos or photographs set forth in Bruny and Gore, we conclude that the trial court did not abuse its discretion by admitting testimony from the defendant’s former probation officer with respect to the identity of the defendant in a still photograph and video surveillance footage. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.”)


Criminal Law Slip Opinions

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5269

SC20456 - State v. Douglas C. (Five counts of risk of injury to a child in violation of § 53-21 (a) (2); “The defendant claims that counts one, five, and six were duplicitous because each count charged him with a single violation of § 53-21 (a) (2), despite evidence at trial of multiple, separate incidents of conduct. As a result, he argues that the trial court improperly declined to give the jury a specific unanimity instruction as to these counts. We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the Appellate Court.”)

SC20504 - State v. Joseph V. (Sexual assault in the first degree; risk of injury to a child; conspiracy to commit risk of injury to a child; “We now must apply our holding in Douglas C. to the present case …The defendant claims that each count was duplicitous because each count charged him with a single violation of the underlying statute despite evidence at trial of multiple, separate incidents of conduct, each of which could establish a violation of the statute, thus creating the possibility that the jury found him guilty without having unanimously agreed on which incident occurred. As a result, he argues that the trial court’s failure to either grant his request for a bill of particulars or a specific unanimity instruction violated his federal constitutional right to jury unanimity. We agree with the defendant as to the sexual assault count but disagree with him as to the risk of injury and conspiracy counts. Accordingly, we reverse in part the Appellate Court’s judgment and remand the case to that court with direction to remand the case to the trial court for a new trial on the sexual assault count.”)


Criminal Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5259

SC20438 - State v. Gary S. (“On appeal, the defendant claims that (1) the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction on certain counts, and (2) the prosecutor made improper remarks during closing and rebuttal arguments that deprived the defendant of his constitutional right to a fair trial. Because the state concedes that the evidence presented at trial was insufficient to support the defendant’s conviction on the charge of risk of injury to a child pertaining to one of the complainants, A, we reverse the trial court’s judgment with respect to that count. We reject each of the defendant’s remaining claims and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of conviction in all other respects.”)



Criminal Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5257

SC20408 - State v. Brown (“On appeal, the defendant claims that the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction of felony murder. Specifically, he contends that there was no evidence that he intended to commit a larceny, that he committed a larceny, or that he used or threatened the immediate use of physical force to effectuate a taking, as required to establish that he committed robbery in the third degree. The defendant also contends that, if this court agrees with his claim of insufficient evidence of felony murder, it cannot reinstate his vacated conviction of the intentional manslaughter in the first degree charge because the state failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he did not shoot the victim in self-defense. Finally, the defendant claims that his conviction must be reversed because the prosecutor engaged in prosecutorial improprieties during closing argument. We reject the defendant’s insufficiency claim and, therefore, need not address his claim related to the manslaughter conviction. We also reject the defendant’s claims of prosecutorial impropriety and, therefore, affirm the judgment of the trial court.”)



Criminal Law Supreme Court Slip Opinion

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5245

SC210039 Order on Motion - State v. Pan (“The defendant, Qinxuan Pan, seeks review of the trial court’s denial of his motion for modification of the $20 million bond that was set in connection with murder charges against him. The defendant claims that the trial court, Harmon, J., abused its discretion in denying his motion to modify the $20 million bond set at his arraignment by the trial court, B. Fischer, J., because (1) the bail amount is unreasonably high, and (2) the trial court incorrectly concluded that it lacked the authority under Practice Book § 38-8 to grant the defendant’s request for a 10 percent cash option. Although we conclude that the $20 million bond amount was not an abuse of the trial court’s discretion given the extraordinary flight risk and public safety considerations presented in this case, we agree with the defendant’s second claim and conclude that remand to the trial court is necessary for that court to consider its authority to grant a 10 percent cash option. Because this case highlights the existence of several substantive and procedural issues concerning the information on which the judges of the Superior Court rely in setting reasonable bond amounts, we also address the procedures applicable to any future bond modification proceedings. Accordingly, we grant the defendant’s petition for review, and we grant the relief requested in part.”)


Criminal Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5237

SC20367 - State v. Ares ( Criminal; Whether evidence insufficient for conviction under act prong of risk of injury to a child in violation of General Statutes § 53-21 (a) (1); Whether risk of injury statute unconstitutionally vague as applied; Whether defendant improperly convicted under situation prong of risk of injury statute for which he was not charged; "After a bench trial, the defendant, Angel Ares, was convicted of one count of arson in the first degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-111, eight counts of reckless endangerment in the first degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-63, and four counts of risk of injury to a child in violation of General Statutes § 53-21 (a) (1). In the present appeal, the defendant challenges only his convictions of risk of injury to a child by raising the following three claims of error: (1) there was insufficient evidence to support a conviction under the act prong of § 53-21 (a) (1) because the state had failed to adduce any proof that he had "perpetrated an act directly on the person of a minor" as required by the judicial gloss first imposed by this court in State v. Schriver, 207 Conn. 456, 542 A.2d 686 (1988); (2) the act prong of § 53-21 (a) (1) is unconstitutionally vague as applied to him because the conduct proven by the state falls outside of that very same gloss; and (3) the trial court improperly convicted him under the situation prong of § 53-21 (a) (1) when the state's allegations against him were limited to only the act prong of that statute. Although our reading of Schriver and its progeny leads us to reject the defendant's first two claims on this record, we agree with the defendant that the trial court committed reversible error by applying the incorrect elements and convicting the defendant under the situation prong, a provision he was not formally charged with violating. Accordingly, we reverse the trial court's judgment of conviction with respect to the counts of risk of injury to a child and remand the case for a new trial only as to those four counts.")


Criminal Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5234

SC20495 - State v. Washington (“On appeal, the defendant claims that (1) the trial court erred when it in admitted into evidence recordings of phone calls that the defendant made while incarcerated, thereby permitting the state to use the defendant’s postarrest silence against him, (2) the trial court erred when it instructed the jury regarding adoptive admissions and combat by agreement, respectively, (3) the prosecutor committed improprieties during certain portions of his closing argument, and (4) the trial court erred in denying the defendant’s motion for a new trial, in light of fact that the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the jury’s deliberations. Although we conclude that the majority of the defendant’s claims are without merit, we agree with his contention that the trial court improperly instructed the jury on combat by agreement, as there was insufficient evidence presented at trial to warrant the instruction. We nevertheless conclude that the error was harmless and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of conviction.”)


Criminal Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5223

SC20235 - State v. Ortega (Tender years exception to the hearsay rule, § 54-86l (a) (1); Conn. Code Evid. § 8-10; “On appeal, the defendant claims that the trial court abused its discretion by, inter alia, (1) admitting into evidence certain out-of-court statements of the victim, N,2 under the tender years exception to the hearsay rule, (2) admitting a transcript, which had been modified by N’s mother, Joselin, of a recorded conversation between N and Joselin, and (3) denying the defendant’s request for a continuance during trial. We conclude that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in admitting the out-of-court statements of N under the tender years exception. We further conclude that the defendant failed to preserve his claim that the court abused its discretion in admitting the modified transcript and that the record does not support the defendant’s claim that the court denied his request for a continuance. 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=5213

SC20437 - State v. Johnson (“On appeal, the defendant claims that (1) the admission of the testimony of a forensic biologist and a DNA analyst violated his rights under the confrontation clause of the sixth amendment to the United States constitution, (2) the state violated his due process rights by failing to correct the false or substantially misleading testimony of its witnesses, and (3) the use of the term ‘victim’ by the prosecutor and some of the state’s witnesses during the trial prejudiced him. We conclude that the defendant’s claims fail and, accordingly, affirm the judgment.”)


Criminal Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5201

AC44238 - State v. Ardizzone (Application for discharge from jurisdiction of Psychiatric Security Review Board; “On appeal, the acquittee claims that there is no evidence in the record to support the court’s finding that he suffered from a qualifying mental illness that caused him to be a danger to himself or others. We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the trial court.”)

AC44211 - State v. Marcello E. (Assault first degree; uncharged misconduct; Connecticut Code of Evidence § 4-5 (c); “On appeal, the defendant claims that the trial court improperly admitted uncharged misconduct evidence. 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=5197

SC20520 - State v. Lori T. (“In this certified appeal, we must examine the meaning of certain language used in General Statutes § 53a-98 (a) (3), a provision that criminalizes custodial interference. Specifically, we must determine whether the actions, or inactions, of the defendant, Lori T., were sufficient to satisfy the ‘‘otherwise refuses to return a child’’ aspect of custodial interference in the second degree. General Statutes § 53a-98 (a) (3). The defendant appeals from the judgment of the Appellate Court, affirming the judgment of conviction, rendered after a jury trial, of three counts of custodial interference in the second degree. See State v. Lori T., 197 Conn. App. 675, 677, 696, 232 A.3d 13 (2020). On appeal, the defendant claims that the Appellate Court incorrectly concluded that § 53a-98 (a) (3) is not unconstitutionally vague as applied to her and that the evidence was sufficient to support her conviction. See id., 677. 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=5188

AC44736 - Myers v. State (“On appeal, the petitioner claims that the habeas court improperly (1) concluded that he failed to show that his trial counsel had performed deficiently, (2) rejected his actual innocence claim, and (3) determined that his due process rights were not violated. The petitioner further claims that the habeas court erred in denying his request for a capias and a continuance so that the petitioner could secure the appearance of an exculpatory witness at his habeas trial. In Docket No. AC 44736, the petitioner appeals, following the denial of his petition for certification to appeal, from the judgment of the trial court dismissing his petition for a new trial. The petitioner claims on appeal that the trial court erred in determining that his petition for a new trial was time barred pursuant to General Statutes § 52-582. As to AC 44679, we affirm the judgment of the habeas court. As to AC 44736, we dismiss the petitioner’s appeal.”)


Criminal Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5176

SC20447 - State v. Graham (“On appeal, the defendant claims that (1) the trial court erred in admitting the statement of an accomplice that inculpated the defendant, in violation of § 8-6 (4) of the Connecticut Code of Evidence and the defendant’s sixth amendment right to confrontation, (2) the prosecutor committed impropriety by presenting a generic tailoring argument during closing argument, which violated the defendant’s confrontation rights under our state constitution, and (3) the prosecutor committed impropriety by eliciting certain information contained in two witnesses’ cooperation agreements and by presenting closing argument related to those materials. We affirm the judgment of conviction.”)


Criminal Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5167

SC20512 - State v. Flores (Home invasion; burglary in the first degree; attempt to commit robbery in the first; conspiracy to commit home invasion; “On appeal, he claims that (1) the trial court improperly denied his motion to suppress his written statement to the police, who failed to comply with the requirements of General Statutes § 54-1o, (2) the trial court improperly admitted into evidence the entirety of the cooperation agreement between the state and his accomplice, Benjamin J. Bellavance, including portions regarding Bellavance’s obligation to testify truthfully, and (3) there was insufficient evidence to convict him of attempt to commit robbery in the first degree, home invasion predicated on attempt to commit robbery in the first degree, burglary in the first degree, home invasion predicated on burglary in the first degree, and conspiracy to commit home invasion. We affirm the judgment of conviction.”)


Criminal Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5164

AC44179 - State v. Gamer (“On appeal, the defendant principally claims that (1) there was insufficient evidence to support the court’s finding that he wilfully failed to pay restitution and (2) the court abused its discretion by imposing a term of imprisonment in light of his purported inability to pay restitution. We conclude that the court neither erred in finding that the defendant wilfully failed to pay restitution nor abused its discretion in revoking the defendant’s probation and sentencing him to a term of imprisonment. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.”)

AC44242 - State v. White (“On appeal, the defendant claims that (1) there was insufficient evidence to support his conviction of assault in the first degree as an accessory, and (2) the trial court improperly instructed the jury by omitting an essential element of the offense, namely, the defendant’s intent or knowledge that the principal would discharge a firearm during the offense. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.”)