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Criminal Law & Procedure

Criminal Law Supreme Court Opinions

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5099

SC20600 - State v. Smith (“On appeal, the defendant claims that the trial court improperly denied his motion to suppress evidence discovered during a search of his cell phone and evidence obtained from T-Mobile, his cell phone service provider, because the warrants authorizing those searches were not supported by probable cause and lacked sufficient particularity to comport with the fourth amendment to the United States constitution. 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 with the defendant that the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress the information obtained from the execution of both warrants. We further conclude, however, that this error was harmless with respect to some, but not all, of the crimes alleged. As a result, we affirm in part and reverse in part.”)

SC20488 - State v. Bowden (“On appeal, the defendant claims that the trial court’s denial of his motion to suppress certain evidence from a search of his cell phone violated his rights under the fourth amendment to the United States constitution because (1) the application for the warrant authorizing that search lacked a particular description of the things to be seized, and (2) the affidavit supporting that application failed to establish probable cause. 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 with the state that any error in the trial court’s failure to suppress evidence obtained from the search warrant was harmless. 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=5098

SC20299 - State v. Samuolis (“The sole issue is whether the trial court properly denied the defendant’s motion to suppress evidence seized from his home, specifically, the dead body of the defendant’s father, John Samuolis, on the grounds that (1) the police officers’ warrantless entry into the Samuolis home was justified under the emergency exception to the warrant requirement of the fourth amendment to the United States constitution, or, alternatively, (2) the defendant’s alleged actions in shooting at the officers upon their initial entry attenuated the taint from that unlawful initial entry and justified their subsequent reentries into the home. We affirm the trial court’s judgment on the basis of the first ground.”)


Criminal Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Oumano, Emily

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5090

AC43092 - State v. Glass (“The defendant, Edwin Ronald Glass, appeals from the judgment of conviction, rendered after a jury trial, of burglary in the first degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-101 (a) (3), and robbery in the first degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-134 (a) (3). On appeal, the defendant claims that there was insufficient evidence to establish his identity as the person who committed the burglary and robbery. We agree and, accordingly, reverse the judgment of the trial court.”)

AC44342 - State v. Waters (“The defendant, Rodney Waters, appeals from the judgment of conviction, rendered after a jury trial, of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol in violation of General Statutes § 14-227a (a) (1), and, following a plea of guilty to a part B information, of being a second time offender pursuant to § 14-227a (g) (2). On appeal, the defendant claims that his conviction under § 14-227a (a) (1) is not supported by sufficient evidence. He also claims that the trial court improperly admitted expert testimony related to the defendant's blood alcohol content (BAC) in contravention of § 14-227a (c), restricted his cross-examination of the state's expert witness, and denied his motion to suppress inculpatory statements he made to the police. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.”)


Criminal Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Zigadto, Janet

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5084

SC20335 - State v. Davis ("In State v. Davis, 338 Conn. 458, 460, 258 A.3d 633 (2021), this court agreed with the defendant, Brock Davis, that, on two separate occasions, the trial court improperly failed to inquire into whether defense counsel, Kirstin B. Coffin, had a conflict of interest. We therefore remanded the case to that court for a determination of whether Coffin did, in fact, have such a conflict and, if so, whether it adversely affected her representation of the defendant. Id., 460, 475. Because a new trial would have been required if the trial court answered these two questions in the affirmative, we did not reach the defendant’s additional claim that the trial court had improperly admitted into evidence testimony from lay witnesses identifying him in a surveillance video recording. Id., 479. In accordance with this court’s remand order, the trial court, following a hearing, determined that the defendant had failed to establish that Coffin was burdened by an actual conflict of interest that adversely affected her performance. On appeal, the defendant challenges that determination. We reject this claim, and, because we also reject the defendant’s remaining claim, 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=5082

SC20513 - State v. Council (Whether trial court properly precluded testimony of expert on cell phone location data; conviction of murder and criminal possession of a firearm by a convicted felon; “At trial, defense counsel proffered testimony from an expert witness as to the defendant’s location during certain relevant times on the basis of cell phone carrier data. The trial court precluded the witness from testifying on the grounds that (1) the evidence was immaterial and irrelevant, (2) the witness did not articulate sufficient qualifications to provide expert opinion on the data, and (3) the testimony did not establish the reliability of the data. On appeal, the defendant contends that the trial court improperly excluded the testimony because the witness was qualified as an expert pursuant to § 7-2 of the Connecticut Code of Evidence. We dismiss the defendant’s appeal as moot because he has not challenged all of the trial court’s bases for its evidentiary ruling, and, therefore, this court cannot provide him practical relief.”)


Criminal Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5080

AC43868 - State v. Guild (Subject matter jurisdiction; petition to extend commitment to jurisdiction of Psychiatric Security Review Board; denial of motion to dismiss state’s petition, filed pursuant to § 17a-593 (c); “On appeal, as a threshold matter, the acquittee claims that this court has subject matter jurisdiction over this appeal because the trial court’s denial of his motion to dismiss satisfies at least one prong of the finality test set forth in State v. Curcio, 191 Conn. 27, 31, 463 A.2d 566 (1983). We conclude that the trial court’s denial of the acquittee’s motion to dismiss is not a final judgment for appeal purposes under either prong of Curcio and, accordingly, dismiss the acquittee’s appeal for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.”)


Criminal Law Appellate Court Opinions

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5071

AC43796 - State v. Garrison (“The defendant claims that the trial court improperly denied his motion to suppress statements that he made to police officers while he was at a hospital because the statements (1) were made as a result of custodial interrogation and he had not been advised of his rights pursuant to Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 478–79, 86 S. Ct. 1602, 16 L. Ed. 2d 694 (1966), at the time he made the statements, and (2) were involuntarily given.1 We agree with the defendant that the police obtained his statements as a result of custodial interrogation without providing to the defendant the advisement required by Miranda, and, therefore, the court improperly denied his motion to suppress. We further agree that the defendant was prejudiced by the admission of his statements and, accordingly, reverse the judgment of conviction and remand the case for a new trial.”)

AC43726 - State v. Greer (“On appeal, the defendant claims that the court improperly (1) concluded that the statute of limitations applicable to sexual assault in the second degree under General Statutes (Rev. to 2001) § 54-193a, as amended by Public Acts 2002, No. 02-138, § 1 (effective May 23, 2002) (P.A. 02-138), did not apply to the risk of injury charges and (2) declined to instruct the jury to apply a standard of proof to determine whether certain prior misconduct occurred. We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the trial court.”)

AC44525 - State v. Smith (“On appeal, the defendant claims that the court erred in denying his motion to correct an illegal sentence because (1) his acquittal on the charges of capital felony and murder barred, on double jeopardy grounds, his prosecution during the same trial on the charges of felony murder and manslaughter and (2) the court improperly sentenced him on his felony murder conviction rather than on his manslaughter conviction. We reject the second claim. As to the first claim, we conclude that the trial court lacked subject matter jurisdiction to consider it and it should be dismissed. Accordingly, we affirm in part and reverse in part the judgment of the trial court.”)


Criminal Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5064

SC20385 - State v. Juan F. (Tolling; time limitations; unreasonable delay; “On appeal, the defendant claims that the trial court improperly denied his pretrial motion to dismiss for failure to prosecute him within the five year limitation period set forth in General Statutes (Rev. to 2001) § 54- 193a. Specifically, the defendant asserts that, although the court issued a warrant for his arrest within the statute of limitations, the police did not execute the warrant until nearly sixteen years after its issuance. As a result, the defendant argues, the warrant was not executed without unreasonable delay. See, e.g., State v. Crawford, 202 Conn. 443, 450–51, 521 A.2d 1034 (1987) (‘an arrest warrant, when issued within the time limitations . . . must be executed without unreasonable delay’). Therefore, the defendant asserts, the statute of limitations was not tolled, and the trial court should have granted his pretrial motion to dismiss the charges against him. We disagree and, accordingly, 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=5059

SC20406 - State v. Juan J. (Uncharged misconduct evidence; prior incidents of sexual abuse; “A jury found the defendant guilty of sexual assault in the first degree, attempt to commit sexual assault in the first degree, and risk of injury to a child. The defendant claims that he is entitled to a new trial because the trial court abused its discretion in admitting irrelevant, uncharged misconduct evidence of alleged prior incidents of sexual abuse by the defendant against the complainant and that this error was harmful. We conclude that, in a general intent crime case, in which the theory of defense is that the conduct did not occur at all, rather than a theory of defense in which the conduct occurred unintentionally, uncharged misconduct is irrelevant and inadmissible to prove intent. We agree with the defendant that the trial court abused its discretion in admitting this uncharged misconduct evidence because it was irrelevant to the issue of intent—the only issue for which the evidence was proffered—and, therefore, inadmissible. This error was harmful, and we therefore order a new trial.”)


Criminal Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Roy, Christopher

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5039

AC43748 - State v. Russaw ("The defendant, Deykevious Russaw, appeals from the judgment of conviction, rendered after a jury trial, of conspiracy to commit murder in violation of General Statutes §§ 53a-54a and 53a-48. The defendant's conviction stems from an incident involving a drive-by shooting that resulted in the death of an unintended third person rather than the intended victim. On appeal, he claims, first, that his conviction of conspiracy to commit murder is legally insufficient because the doctrine of transferred intent, upon which he contends the state relied, does not apply to the crime of conspiracy, and second, that the trial court improperly denied his motion to suppress certain statements that he made to the police while he was in custody and after he had invoked his right to counsel. We reject both of the defendant's claims and, therefore, affirm the judgment of conviction.")


Criminal Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5034

SC20539 - State v. Rivera (Murder, conspiracy to commit assault in the first degree; unlawful restraint in the first degree; unlawful discharge of a firearm; carrying a pistol or revolver without a permit ; “In the present appeal, the defendant claims that the Appellate Court incorrectly concluded that the trial court had not abused its discretion by (1) admitting an audio recording allegedly containing his confession into evidence, and (2) directing the jury to disregard portions of defense counsel’s closing argument relating to the absence of an in-court identification from one of the state’s witnesses. For the reasons that follow, we reject both of those claims and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the Appellate Court.”)


Criminal Law Supreme and Appellate Court Opinions

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5025

SC20517 - State v. Hargett (“On appeal, the defendant claims that the Appellate Court incorrectly determined that the trial court had not (1) violated his sixth amendment right to present a defense by excluding from evidence (a) a statement purportedly made by an unknown female bystander and (b) an autopsy toxicology report, (2) violated his right to due process by declining to give a jury instruction on self-defense, and (3) abused its discretion by declining to sanction the state for its late disclosure of the murder weapon and related expert reports by excluding this evidence or dismissing the murder charge. We affirm the Appellate Court’s judgment but not without strongly cautioning the state regarding the late disclosure of evidence.”)

AC44024 - State v. Norris (Risk of injury to a child; breach of the peace in the second degree; assault in the third degree; interfering with an officer; “On appeal, the defendant claims that the court abused its discretion by (1) failing to conduct an adequate independent inquiry into the defendant’s competency to stand trial and order a competency hearing pursuant to General Statutes § 54-56d1 and (2) improperly granting the state’s motion for joinder for trial of the charge of interfering with an officer with the other charges the defendant faced. We affirm the judgments of the trial court.”)


Criminal Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Agati, Taryn

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5023

SC20348 - State v. Ortiz ("The defendant, Rafael Ortiz, appeals from the judgment of conviction, rendered following a jury trial, of murder in violation of General Statutes § 53a-54a (a). The defendant claims that (1) prosecutorial impropriety deprived him of his right to a fair trial, (2) the trial court committed evidentiary and constitutional error by precluding defense counsel from using certain prior felony convictions to impeach two of the state's witnesses, and (3) the trial court erred in its charge to the jury. We disagree with each of these claims and, accordingly, 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=5011

SC20316 - State v. Alexander (Conviction of felony murder, attempt to commit robbery in the first degree, conspiracy to commit robbery in the first degree, carrying a pistol without a permit ; “After the defendant was found guilty, but before sentencing, this court decided State v. Purcell, 331 Conn. 318, 203 A.3d 542 (2019), which held, under our state constitution, that ‘if a suspect makes an equivocal statement that arguably can be construed as a request for counsel, interrogation must cease except for narrow questions designed to clarify the earlier statement and the suspect’s desire for counsel.’ (Internal quotation marks omitted.) Id., 362. The defendant sought a new trial based on our holding in Purcell, on the ground that the state’s evidence at trial had included a video recorded statement in which the defendant had made an equivocal request for counsel. The trial court agreed with the defendant’s Purcell claim but, with the exception of a single count of conviction, concluded that the error was harmless. We affirm the judgment.”)


Risk Protection Orders and Risk Protection Order Investigations

   by Booth, George

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5010

The Judicial Branch has published a pamphlet, Risk Protection Orders and Risk Protection Order Investigations, with associated forms to "...satisfy the requirements of General Statutes §§ 29-38c and 46b-15e(a)(2) and Public Act 21-67 §2. It is based on the Connecticut General Statutes and the Judicial Branch procedures in effect at the time the Judicial Branch created this brochure."

A Risk Protection Order is an order that the police can ask the court to issue that prevents a person who is at immediate risk of causing personal injury to themselves or another person from having or getting firearms, deadly weapons, or ammunition. As part of this process, the court can also order the police to take any firearms, deadly weapons, or ammunition that the person at risk has away from them.

The following forms are available:


Criminal Law Supreme Court Opinion

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5007

SC20314 - State v. Abraham (Home invasion, attempt to commit assault in the first degree, reckless endangerment in the first degree, two counts of risk of injury to a child; “ On appeal, the defendant raises three claims: (1) the evidence was insufficient to establish his identity as the perpetrator of the crimes of conviction; (2) the jury’s verdict of guilty of attempt to commit assault in the first degree and reckless endangerment was legally inconsistent; and (3) his conviction of home invasion and attempt to commit assault in the first degree violates the double jeopardy clause of the United States constitution. We affirm the judgment of conviction.”)


Criminal Law Supreme and Appellate Court Opinions

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=5005

SC20525 - State v. Marrero (Conviction of home invasion, burglary in the first degree, assault in the second degree; “On appeal, the defendant contends that the Appellate Court incorrectly concluded that the prosecutor had not engaged in prosecutorial impropriety by using leading questions during his direct examination of a hostile witness. After examining the entire record on appeal and considering the briefs and oral arguments of the parties, we have determined that the appeal in this case should be dismissed on the ground that certification was improvidently granted.”)

AC44146 - State v. Ghant (Unlawful restraint in the first degree, assault in the third degree, threatening in the second degree; “On appeal, the defendant claims that the trial court (1) violated his right to self-representation under the sixth amendment to the United States constitution and article first, § 8, of the Connecticut constitution1 by denying his request to represent himself and (2) violated his right to confront the witnesses against him under the sixth amendment by improperly limiting cross-examination of the state’s key witness. 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=4996

SC20563 - State v. Myers ("On appeal, the defendant claims that the trial court incorrectly concluded that it lacked jurisdiction over the claims in his motions to correct and that (1) he was entitled to resentencing in both cases because the sentencing court failed to consider his youth as a mitigating factor, in violation of Miller v. Alabama, 567 U.S. 460, 476–77, 132 S. Ct. 2455, 183 L. Ed. 2d 407 (2012), and General Statutes § 54-91g, (2) the structure of his two sentences deprived him of a meaningful opportunity for parole because it resulted in a later parole eligibility date than he otherwise would have been entitled to under General Statutes § 54-125a (f) (1), and (3) his parole eligibility date violated his right to equal protection under the fourteenth amendment to the United States constitution and article first, § 20, of the Connecticut constitution. The defendant further contends that the trial court improperly denied his claim that his parole eligibility date, as calculated by the board, violated the terms of his plea agreement, in violation of his right to due process under the fourteenth amendment to the United States constitution and article first, §§ 8 and 9, of the Connecticut constitution. We affirm in part the judgment of the trial court.")


Criminal Law Appellate Court Opinion

   by Townsend, Karen

 https://jud.ct.gov/lawlib/LawLibNews/Posts/Post.aspx?Id=4995

AC44317 - State v. Herman K. (“Before this court is the defendant’s appeal from the judgment of conviction, rendered following a jury trial, of assault in the first degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-59 (a) (1) and carrying a dangerous weapon in violation of General Statutes § 53-206 (a). On appeal, the defendant claims that the trial court, Vitale, J., improperly denied the defendant’s motion for disqualification at his sentencing hearing based upon what he contends was the appearance of partiality. We disagree and 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=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.”)