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Criminal Law Supreme Court Slip Opinion

by Booth, George


SC20297 - State v. Weathers (Murder; Whether trial court properly rejected insanity defense where the only expert witnesses testified that defendant, as result of mental disease, lacked substantial capacity to appreciate the wrongfulness of his conduct; "Following his election of and trial to a three judge court empaneled in accordance with General Statutes § 54-82 (a) and (b), the defendant, Gregory L. Weathers, was found guilty of murder in violation of General Statutes § 53a-54a (a), criminal possession of a pistol or revolver in violation of General Statutes (Rev. to 2015) § 53a-217c (a) (1), and carrying a pistol without a permit in violation of General Statutes (Rev. to 2015) § 29-35 (a). In so finding, the trial court rejected the defendant's affirmative defense of mental disease or defect under General Statutes (Rev. to 2015) § 53a-13 (a) (insanity defense), concluding that, although the defendant demonstrated that he suffered from an unspecified psychotic disorder at the time of the murder, he failed to prove the requisite connection between this condition and his criminal conduct. The trial court rendered judgment accordingly and sentenced the defendant to a total effective term of imprisonment of forty-five years. On appeal, the Appellate Court affirmed the judgment of conviction; see State v. Weathers, 188 Conn. App. 600, 635, 205 A.3d 614 (2019); and we granted the defendant's petition for certification to appeal, limited to the issue of whether the Appellate Court correctly concluded that the trial court's rejection of the defendant's insanity defense was reasonable. See State v. Weathers, 331 Conn. 927, 207 A.3d 518 (2019). The defendant claims that the state neither presented nor elicited evidence to undermine the consensus of his experts that the defendant, as the result of a mental disease, lacked substantial capacity to control his conduct within the requirements of the law, and, therefore, the trial court improperly rejected the experts' opinions arbitrarily. He contends that the Appellate Court's conclusion to the contrary was not supported by legitimate reasons or evidence. We affirm the Appellate Court's judgment.")