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


SC20248 - State v. Armadore (Murder; search and seizure; whether appellate court erred in denying defendant’s motion for supplemental briefing re admissibility of cell site location information under Carpenter v. United States; whether defendant sufficiently preserved evidentiary claim for appellate review. "In this certified appeal, we are again required to examine the effect of the United States Supreme Court's recent decision in Carpenter v. United States, ___ U.S.___, 138 S. Ct. 2206, 201 L. Ed. 2d 507 (2018), on a pending case. In Carpenter, the court held that, under the fourth amendment to the United States constitution, the government generally must obtain a warrant supported by probable cause before acquiring historical cell site location information (CSLI), which provides a comprehensive chronicle of a cell phone user's past physical movements.

The defendant, Darius Armadore, appeals from the Appellate Court's judgment affirming his conviction of murder, as either a principal or as an accessory, in violation of General Statutes §§ 53a-8 and 53a-54a (a). Specifically, he claims that the Appellate Court abused its discretion by denying him permission to file a supplemental brief to raise a new claim pursuant to Carpenter, which was released while his appeal was pending before that court. He argues that the rule in Carpenter applies retroactively to pending cases, and, thus, his failure to raise this claim before the trial court or in his initial brief to the Appellate Court did not bar review. Additionally, he claims that the Appellate Court incorrectly determined that his hearsay claim regarding the testimony of a key state's witness, Eduardo Guilbert, was unpreserved.

We agree with the defendant that our courts should liberally grant motions seeking to file supplemental briefs to raise claims premised on new constitutional rules announced during the pendency of a case and that the Appellate Court should have granted his motion in the present case. Nevertheless, we conclude that any error was harmless because the defendant's Carpenter claim fails under the fourth prong of State v. Golding, 213 Conn. 233, 239–40, 567 A.2d 823 (1989), as modified by In re Yasiel R., 317 Conn. 773, 781, 120 A.3d 1188 (2015). Additionally, although we agree with the defendant that the Appellate Court incorrectly determined that he did not preserve his hearsay claim regarding Guilbert's testimony, we agree with the state that the trial court properly admitted the testimony as nonhearsay because it was offered to show its effect on the hearer and that, alternatively, any error was harmless. Accordingly, we affirm the Appellate Court's judgment.")