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 Slip Opinion

by Booth, George

 

SC20461 - State v. Bermudez (Felony murder; Whether evidence that defendant was a gang member and that state's chief witness was relocated out of state was properly admitted; Whether trial court's erroneous preclusion of sexually explicit letters written by state's chief witness to defendant was harmless; Whether trial court's rulings limiting defendant's cross-examination of state's chief witness on topics regarding her credibility were proper; "The defendant, Noel Bermudez, appeals, following our grant of certification, from the judgment of the Appellate Court affirming the judgment of conviction, rendered after a jury trial, of felony murder in violation of General Statutes § 53a-54c. On appeal, the defendant claims that the Appellate Court should have reversed the judgment of conviction and ordered a new trial in light of the trial court’s rulings (1) admitting testimony regarding the gang affiliations of the defendant and his two brothers and the state’s relocation of its chief witness, Damaris Algarin-Santiago (Algarin),1 after she provided a statement to the police incriminating the defendant and the brothers in the murder, (2) excluding from evidence salacious letters written by Algarin to the defendant while he was imprisoned, and (3) preventing the defendant from questioning Algarin about the circumstances surrounding the termination of her employment from Waterbury Hospital and her birth control practices. The defendant contends that the trial court’s rulings excluding Algarin’s letters and precluding his inquiry into her termination and birth control practices violated his rights to confrontation and to present a defense under the sixth and fourteenth amendments to the United States constitution, and that all of the rulings constituted harmful error requiring a new trial. We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the Appellate Court.")