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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court convicting Defendant of threatening in the first degree, two counts of disorderly conduct, and breach of the peace in the second degree, holding that Defendant’s arguments on appeal were unavailing. Specifically, the Court held (1) the trial court did not err in denying Defendant’s motion to dismiss the threatening charge on the ground that Conn. Gen. Stat. 53a-61aa(a)(3) is unconstitutional as violating free speech protections; (2) the trial court properly considered evidence of events that occurred after Defendant sent a threatening email to support its conclusion that Defendant violated section 53a-61aa(a)(3); and (3) the evidence was sufficient beyond a reasonable doubt to convict Defendant of threatening in the first degree in violation of section 53a-61aa(a)(3). View "State v. Taupier" on Justia Law

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In this dispute over compensation owed after property was taken by eminent domain, the Supreme Court reversed the interest awarded by the trial court and otherwise affirmed the judgment, holding that the trial court lacked authority to set a rate of interest other than the default rate after it rendered its judgment of compensation. Plaintiff, the city of Hartford, took certain property owned by three defendants. Defendants appealed from the statement of compensation filed by the city. The trial court sustained the appeal and increased the amount of compensation. The court then ordered the city to pay interest at the rate of 7.22 percent. The Supreme Court reversed as to the rate of interest and offer of compromise interest, holding (1) the trial court properly valued the property; but (2) the trial court exceeded its authority under Conn. Gen. Stat. 37-3c in awarding interest at the rate of 7.22 percent after it rendered judgment sustaining Defendants’ appeal because Defendants were entitled only to the default rate of interest provided in section 37-3c. The Court remanded the case with direction to award the default rate of interest under section 37-3c. View "Hartford v. CBV Parking Hartford, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court held that there is no right to a jury trial in an action brought under Conn. Gen. Stat. 52-556, which waives sovereign immunity for claims arising from a state employee’s negligent operation of a state owned motor vehicle. Plaintiff brought this action pursuant to section 52-556 against the Department of Transportation and claimed the action to the jury trial list. Defendant filed a motion to strike the case from the jury trial list, arguing that section 52-556 creates a new cause of action, unknown at common law, such that the plaintiff has no right to a jury trial. The trial court granted Defendant’s motion and struck the action from the jury trial list. After a trial to the court, the court rendered judgment for Plaintiff, awarding him damages. Plaintiff appealed, challenging the trial court’s determination that section 52-556 does not afford him the right to a jury trial. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that there is no right to a jury trial for an action brought under section 52-556. View "Smith v. Rudolph" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the Appellate Court dismissing the appeal filed by Defendant, a property owner, of the trial court’s determination that Plaintiff, a municipality, was entitled to an award for the attorney’s fees it incurred in a related federal action for lack of a final judgment, holding that the trial court’s determination was an appealable final judgment. The trial court granted Plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment as to liability with respect to the federal action attorney’s fees, concluding that Defendant was liable for the federal action attorney’s fees under Conn. Gen. Stat. 12-161a. Defendant appealed. The Appellate Court dismissed the appeal, concluding that the trial court’s judgment with respect to the federal action attorney’s fees was not an appealable final judgment absent a determination of the amount of the attorney’s fees. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the trial court’s ruling on the parties’ motions for summary judgment as to liability constituted an appealable final judgment pursuant to the bright line rule articulated in Paranteau v. DeVita, 544 A.2d 634 (1988). View "Town of Ledyard v. WMS Gaming, Inc." on Justia Law

Posted in: Civil Procedure

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In this criminal case, the Supreme Court held that the due process guarantee in Connecticut Constitution in article first, section 8 provides somewhat broader protection than the United States Constitution with respect to the admissibility of eyewitness identification testimony. Defendant was convicted of felony murder, among other crimes. On appeal, Defendant argued that the trial court violated his federal due process rights by denying his motion to suppress an out-of-court and subsequent in-court identification of him by an eyewitness to the crimes of which Defendant was convicted. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the out-of-court identification procedure was unnecessarily suggestive, but the identification of Defendant was nevertheless sufficiently reliable to satisfy federal due process requirements, and therefore, Defendant was not entitled to suppression of those identifications; and (2) the due process guarantee in Conn. Const. art. I, 8 provides broader protection than the federal constitution with respect to the admissibility of eyewitness identification testimony, but the trial court’s failure to apply this state constitutional standard was harmless. View "State v. Harris" on Justia Law

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In this consolidated action, the Supreme Court held that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in ordering class certification. Plaintiffs, service station operators and franchised dealers for gasoline products supplied by Defendant, a wholesale supplier, commenced this putative class action alleging that the proposed class members had been overcharged. Defendant then commenced a separate action against one of the plaintiffs. In response, that plaintiff filed a counterclaim styled as a proposed class action that mirrored Plaintiffs’ complaint in the earlier action. The trial court solicited the two actions and then allowed the action to proceed as a class action. Defendant appealed from the orders certifying the class. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in ordering class certification. View "Standard Petroleum Co. v. Faugno Acquisition, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the Appellate Court reversing the Defendant's conviction of murder following his guilty plea entered under the Alford doctrine, holding that the trial court properly denied Defendant’s motion to withdraw his guilty plea without conducting an evidentiary hearing and that no hearing was required on Defendant’s request for new counsel. After Defendant pled guilty under the Alford doctrine Defendant filed a motion to withdraw his guilty plea and requested new counsel. The trial court denied Defendant’s requests. The Appellate Court reversed, concluding that the trial court abused its discretion in failing to conduct an evidentiary hearing on Defendant’s motion to withdraw his guilty plea and in failing to inquire into Defendant’s complaints about counsel. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the trial court did not abuse its discretion by denying Defendant’s request for new counsel without a hearing, and the Appellate Court erred in concluding that such a hearing was required; and (2) no hearing was required in response to Defendant’s request for new counsel. View "State v. Simpson" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the habeas court denying Petitioner’s petition for a writ of habeas corpus, holding that the habeas court did not err in determining that the State had not violated Petitioner’s due process rights and that the habeas court did not abuse its discretion by denying Petitioner’s request for a capias. Petitioner was convicted of several crimes connected with a shooting. Petitioner later filed a second petition for a writ of habeas corpus, alleging, among other things, that the State violated his due process rights during trial by failing to correct false testimony given by one of the State’s key witnesses and by failing to disclose evidence favorable to Petitioner. After a trial, the habeas court denied relief. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the key witness’s testimony was not substantially misleading; (2) there was no Brady violation in this case; and (3) the habeas court did not abuse its discretion when it denied Petitioner’s request to issue a capias for the key witness’s arrest. View "Greene v. Commissioner of Correction" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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In this companion case to State v. Evans, __ A.3d __ (Conn. 2018), which was also decided today, the Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court denying Defendant’s motion to correct an illegal sentence and declined Defendant’s invitation to overrule State v. Ray, 699 A.2d 148 (Conn. 2009), in which the Supreme Court interpreted Conn. Gen. Stat. 21a-278(b) to render drug dependency an affirmative defense to be proven by the defendant. After Defendant was convicted and sentenced, he filed a motion to correct an illegal sentence, claiming that his sentence had been imposed in violation of Alleyne v. United States, 570 U.S. 99 (2013). The trial court denied Defendant’s motion. The Supreme Court affirmed after adopting the reasoning and conclusions of Evans, holding that this Court’s examination of the issues in Evans thoroughly resolved the claims in this instant appeal. View "State v. Allan" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court held that its decision in State v. Ray, 966 A.2d 148 (Conn. 2009), remained good law in light of the subsequent decision of the United States Supreme Court in Alleyne v. United States, 570 U.S. 99 (2013) and the legislature’s recent amendment of Conn. Gen. Stat. 21a-278(b). On appeal from the trial court’s judgment denying his motion to correct an illegal sentence, Defendant argued that the Supreme Court should overruled its interpretation of section 21a-278(b) in Ray. The Supreme Court disagreed with the merits of Defendant’s claims and affirmed the judgment of the trial court, holding (1) Ray remains good law in the wake of Alleyne; (2) recent amendments did not change this Court’s long-standing interpretation of section 21a-278(b) making drug dependency an affirmative defense that, if proven, reduces a defendant’s potential sentence; (3) construing drug dependency as an affirmative defense under section 21a-278(b) does not violate separation of powers; and (4) accordingly, the trial court properly denied Defendant’s motion to correct an illegal sentence. View "State v. Evans" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law