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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the Appellate Court reversing the judgments of the trial court denying the petitions filed by the maternal grandmother (Petitioner) for termination of Father's parental rights with respect to his three minor children, holding that the trial court applied an incorrect legal test to determine that Petitioner had failed to prove the lack of an ongoing parent-child relationship. Specifically, the Court held (1) the trial court erred in concluding that, under the facts of this case, it was required to depart from the usual test to determine whether a petitioner has established a lack of an ongoing parent-child relationship; and (2) the trial court’s finding that Petitioner failed to prove that allowing further time to develop a parent-child relationship would be detrimental to the best interests of the children was clearly erroneous. View "In re Jacob W." on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court for Defendants Michael Telesca and Rocco Frank, Jr. in this battle between the Danbury faction and the Waterbury faction over the control of the state’s Independent Party, holding that the trial court’s decision was timely and that the trial court properly construed Conn. Gen. Laws 9-374. In its decision, the trial court ordered Secretary of State Denise W. Merrill to accept candidate endorsements made pursuant to the 2010 bylaws of the Independent Party of CT-State Central - which, together with its officers, led the Danbury faction and filed the complaint - which, in effect, gave the Waterbury faction control over the Independent Party’s statewide nominations. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the trial court’s order of supplemental briefing and oral argument concerning its subject matter jurisdiction preserved its personal jurisdiction over the parties by stopping and later restarting the decision period, thus rendering the court’s decision timely; and (2) the trial court properly determined that section 9-374 rendered the 2010 bylaws controlling, as opposed to bylaws that the Danbury faction had previously filed with the Secretary. View "Independent Party of CT-State Central v. Merrill" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court dismissed this writ of error brought by the plaintiffs in error seeking to protect their rights with respect to the judgment of the trial court that was challenged on appeal in Independent Party of CT-State Central v. Merrill, __ A.3d __ (Conn. 2019), holding that the writ of error was moot. In its judgment, the trial court resolved a dispute between the Danbury and Waterbury factions of the state’s Independent Party by granting declaratory and injunctive relief directing Secretary of State Denise W. Merrill to accept only those endorsements made pursuant to the party’s 2010 bylaws. The plaintiffs in error were thirteen candidates for the state House of Representatives endorsed by the Danbury faction prior to the trial court’s decision. The endorsed candidates argued that the writ of error was moot because of the Secretary’s unchallenged decision to accept the Danbury faction’s endorsements with respect to twelve of them. The Supreme Court dismissed this action, holding (1) the writ of error was moot; and (2) the defendant in error’s separate request for relief was not properly before the Court. View "Independent Party of CT-State Central v. Merrill" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the appellate court reversing the decision of the trial court and sustaining Plaintiff’s appeal, holding that the hearing officer did not abuse his discretion in admitting and relying on a four-page police investigation report (the exhibit) in deciding to suspend Plaintiff’s operator’s license. The Commission of Motor Vehicles suspended Plaintiff’s operator’s license after a hearing at which the hearing officer relied on a report of the incident where Plaintiff was arrested for operating a motor vehicle while under the influence and failed a breath test. Plaintiff appealed, arguing that the report was unreliable even though it complied with Conn. Gen. Stat. 14-227b(c). The trial court rejected Plaintiff’s claim. The appellate court reversed, concluding that inconsistencies and errors in the exhibit rendered it so unreliable that its admission violated principles of fundamental fairness. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the hearing officer did not abuse his discretion in admitting and relying on the exhibit. View "Do v. Commissioner of Motor Vehicles" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court in favor of Defendants after concluding that Plaintiff did not sufficiently plead that a transaction was an auction without reserve, holding that Plaintiff’s allegations were insufficient to allege an auction without reserve. After it granted Defendants’ motions to strike the trial court rendered judgment determining that Plaintiff failed to allege that one of the defendant’s request that potential buyers of its property submit their highest and best offers constituted an auction without reserve for purposes of Conn. Gen. Stat. 42a-2-328(3). The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Plaintiff’s allegation that the defendant used the phrase “highest and best offers,” without more, was insufficient to plead an auction without reserve. View "Restaurant Supply, LLC v. Giardi Ltd. Partnership" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the Appellate Court reversing the trial court’s judgment in favor of Plaintiff in this personal injury case, holding that that Appellate Court correctly determined that governmental immunity barred Plaintiff’s action. Plaintiff brought this action against the Town of East Haven seeking damages for injuries he received when he was struck by an unregistered vehicle driven by a third party. Plaintiff alleged that the accident would not have occurred had an East Haven police officer, who responded to an incident involving the third party shortly before Plaintiff was struck, properly directed that the third party’s vehicle be towed in accordance with police department tow rules. The jury rejected the Town’s claim of governmental immunity, concluding that the officer had a ministerial duty under the tow rules to have the third party’s vehicle towed. The Appellate Court reversed, concluding that the Town was immune from suit because its tow rules did not impose on the officer a clear ministerial duty to tow the third party’s vehicle. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the officer had no clear ministerial duty to tow the third party’s vehicle. View "Ventura v. Town of East Haven" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the Appellate Court affirming the judgment of the habeas court denying Petitioner’s habeas petition, holding that the State did not violate the due process of Petitioner by not disclosing an alleged agreement between the State and a testifying accomplice in Petitioner’s underlying criminal case and by failing to correct the accomplice’s allegedly false testimony that no such agreement existed. On appeal, Petitioner asked the Supreme Court to conclude, contrary to the determination of the lower courts, that the State had an agreement with the accomplice that it had not disclosed in violation of Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963) and that the nondisclosure of this agreement was material. The Supreme Court affirmed on the alternative basis that, even assuming that the State had no undisclosed deal with the accomplice, there was no reasonable likelihood that disclosure of the agreement would have affected the judgment of the jury. Therefore, the lack of any disclosure was immaterial under Brady and there was no due process violation. View "Marquez v. Commissioner of Correction" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the appellate court reversing in part the judgment of the habeas court granting in part Petitioner’s petition for a writ of habeas corpus on the ground that Petitioner’s defense counsel had provided ineffective assistance of counsel, holding that Petitioner was not prejudiced by counsel's strategy. Petitioner was convicted of murder after a second trial. The Supreme Court affirmed. Thereafter, Petitioner brought his habeas petition, claiming that his defense counsel had provided ineffective assistance by failing to adequately prepare and present an alibi defense and by failing to present a third-party culpability defense. The appellate court concluded (1) it was reasonable trial strategy not to present an alibi defense; (2) Petitioner’s claim of inadequate investigation of the alibis defense was unpreserved; and (3) Petitioner was not prejudiced by counsel’s failure to present a third-party culpability defense. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) it was not deficient performance for defense counsel not to present an alibi defense; and (2) it was not deficient performance of prejudicial for defense counsel not to present a third-party culpability defense. View "Johnson v. Commissioner of Correction" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the trial court sustaining Plaintiff’s administrative appeal, holding that the trial court erred in determining that Defendant’s proposed revision of boundary lines between certain adjacent lots constituted a new subdivision under Conn. Gen. Stat. 8-18 and erred in applying section III.F.7 of the Burlington Zoning Regulations (regulations). In finding that Defendant’s proposed lot line revisions constituted a subdivision, the trial court applied section IV.B.5 of the regulations, which requires an increased minimum lot area for new subdivisions. The court also applied section III.F.7, which governs the establishment of non-conforming uses on preexisting lots. The Supreme Court held (1) Defendant’s proposed lot line revisions did not create a subdivision because the revisions did not divide one parcel of land into three or more parts; and (2) Defendant did not propose the establishment of a nonconforming use because the property lines, as revised, met the size requirements applicable to lots in existence as of October 1, 1983, the date the town of Burlington adopted section IV.B.5 of the regulations. View "Cady v. Zoning Board of Appeals" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the habeas court dismissing Petitioner’s petition for habeas corpus, holding that the ex post facto clause barred the Commissioner of Correction from applying a 2013 amendment to Conn. Gen. Stat. 54-125a to Petitioner. The amendment at issue eliminated risk reduction credit awarded pursuant to Conn. Gen. Stat. 18-93e from the calculation of a violent offender’s initial parole eligibility date, thus requiring the offender to complete eighty-five percent of his sentence before becoming eligible from parole. Petitioner argued that he was statutorily entitled to earlier parole consideration when he committed the crimes for which he was incarcerated. The habeas court concluded that Petitioner failed to establish an ex post facto violation. The Supreme Court disagreed, holding that the 2013 amendment to section 54-125a(b)(2), as applied to Petitioner, violated the ex post facto clause. View "Breton v. Commissioner of Correction" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law