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 Appellate Court Opinions

by Booth, George


AC44738 - State v. Ebron (Motion to correct illegal sentence; motion to dismiss; "The defendant, Brian Ebron, appeals from the judgment of the trial court dismissing his motion to correct an illegal sentence pursuant to Practice Book § 43-22. On appeal, he argues that the court erred when it dismissed his motion for lack of subject matter jurisdiction because the motion set forth a colorable claim that his sentence is illegal or was imposed in an illegal manner. Specifically, the defendant, who was twenty years old when he committed the crime for which he was convicted, argues that his thirty-two year sentence for that conviction violates the prohibition in the eighth amendment to the United States constitution against cruel and unusual punishment, his right to due process under article first, §§ 8 and 9, of the Connecticut constitution and his state and federal constitutional rights to equal protection under the fourteenth amendment to the United States constitution and article first, § 20, of the Connecticut constitution, notwithstanding the fact that he will be parole eligible after serving approximately twenty-seven years of his thirty-two year sentence. We agree with the defendant that the court improperly dismissed his motion to correct on the ground that he failed to state a colorable claim, but we nevertheless conclude that his claims fail as a matter of law. As a result, we reverse the judgment dismissing the defendant's motion to correct an illegal sentence and remand the case with direction to render judgment denying the defendant's motion to correct.")

AC38602 - State v. Taveras (Violation of probation; probation revocation hearing; "This appeal returns to us on remand from our Supreme Court. In State v. Taveras, 183 Conn. App. 354, 356, 193 A.3d 561 (2018), rev'd, 342 Conn. 563, 271 A.3d 123 (2022), the defendant, Kerlyn M. Taveras, appealed from the judgments of the trial court finding him in violation of his probation and revoking his probation pursuant to General Statutes § 53a-32, following his arrest on a charge of breach of the peace in the second degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-181 (a). In a divided opinion, this court concluded that the state had failed to present sufficient evidence to establish that the defendant's remarks during an incident at his son's preschool, which formed the basis for the breach of the peace charge and his violation of probation, constituted either "`fighting words'" or a "`true threat,'" and, therefore, the remarks were protected under the first amendment to the United States constitution. Accordingly, this court reversed the judgments of the trial court and remanded the cases with direction to render judgments in favor of the defendant. As a result of that conclusion, this court did not address the other claims raised by the defendant in his appeal.

After granting the state's petition for certification to appeal, our Supreme Court disagreed with this court's conclusion that the defendant's remarks warranted first amendment protection. State v. Taveras, 342 Conn. 563, 580, 271 A.3d 123 (2022). Our Supreme Court thus reversed the judgment of this court and remanded the case to us with direction to consider the defendant's remaining claims on appeal.

In accordance with that order, we now consider whether the trial court improperly admitted into evidence at the probation revocation hearing the testimony of Monica Bevilaqua, the director of the preschool where the incident took place, as to statements made to her by Sondra Cherney, the preschool's assistant education manager. The defendant claims that (1) the admission of Bevilaqua's testimony violated his due process right to cross-examine Cherney, and (2) Bevilaqua's testimony concerning Cherney's hearsay statements should have been excluded because the statements were unreliable and uncorroborated. We affirm the judgments of the trial court.")