by
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

by
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

by
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

by
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

by
The Supreme Court reversed in part the judgment of the habeas court rejecting Petitioner’s claim that a 2013 amendment to Conn. Gen. Stat. 54-125a, as applied retroactively to him, violated the ex post facto clause of the United States Constitution, holding that the ex post facto clause barred the Commissioner of Correction from applying the 2013 amendment retroactively 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. Petitioner argued argued that, under the version of section 54-125a in effect when he committed his offenses, he was entitled to have any such credit that he had earned applied to advance his initial parole eligibility date. 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, as applied to Petitioner, violated the ex post facto clause. View "Garner v. Commissioner of Correction" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court granting Defendants’ motion to dismiss this claim brought by trust beneficiaries against third parties on behalf of the trust, holding that the trial court properly determined that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction over Plaintiffs’ claim. Plaintiffs, beneficiaries of a trust, brought a breach of contract claim against Defendants, the financial advisor for the trust and the advisor’s employee. Plaintiffs argued that they fit within an exception to the general rule that beneficiaries of a trust lack standing to bring an action against a third party for liability to the trust, thus allowing them to bring this action because trustee improperly refused or neglected to do so. The trial court granted Defendants’ motion to dismiss. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Plaintiffs failed to demonstrate that the trustee improperly failed to sue Defendants for their alleged breach, and therefore, the allegations were insufficient to demonstrate that Plaintiffs had standing to sue. View "Browning v. Van Brunt, DuBiago & Co., LLC" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court reversed in part and affirmed in part the judgment of the Appellate Court reversing the trial court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of the Commissioner of Transportation on the ground that Plaintiff’s personal injury action was barred by sovereign immunity, holding that the waiver of sovereign immunity under Conn. Gen. Stat. 13a-444, the state’s highway defect statute, extended to Plaintiff’s claim that the state police failed to close a bridge before a crew from the Department of Transportation could arrive to address an icy surface on that bridge. Specifically, the Supreme Court held (1) the waiver of sovereign immunity under section 13a-144 extends to the actions of state employees other than those employed by the commissioner, but only to the extent those employees are performing duties related to highway maintenance and the plaintiff proves that a relationship exists between the commissioner and the state employee such that the commissioner can be found to have breached his statutory duty to keep highways, bridges, or sidewalks in repair; and (2) in this case, there was no evidence indicating that the requisite relationship existed between the commissioner and the state police, and therefore, the commissioner could not be held liable for the failure of the state police to close the bridge. View "Graham v. Commissioner of Transportation" on Justia Law

by
In this dispute over a public records request, the Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the trial court, holding that the search and seizure statutes, Conn. Gen. Stat. 54-33a through 54-36p, do not satisfy the requirements set forth in Conn. Get Stat. 1-210(a), which exempts documents from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act that are “otherwise provided by any federal law or state statute….” The Commissioner of Emergency Services and Public Protection and the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection received a request from The Hartford Courant Company and its reporter (collectively, Courant), seeking copies of documents referred to in a report prepared by the Connecticut State police on the shooting that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary School. When the Department did not timely respond to the request, Courant filed a complaint with the Freedom of Information Commission. The Commission concluded that the documents were public records under the Act. The trial court, however, concluded that the documents were exempt from disclosure pursuant to section 1-210(a) because they were seized pursuant to a search warrant as part of the criminal investigation of the incident. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that that records governed by the search and seizure statutes are not exempt from disclosure under the Act. View "Commissioner of Emergency Services & Public Protection v. Freedom of Information Commission" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

by
The Supreme Court reversed Defendant’s judgment of conviction of three counts of illegal practices in campaign financing, holding that the trial court improperly instructed the jury as to the applicable mens rea for the crime of illegal campaign financing practices. On appeal, Defendant argued that the trial court erred in failing to instruct the jury that to find him guilty of an illegal campaign financing practice it must find that he acted with specific intent to violate Conn. Gen. Stat. 9-622(7). The State countered that the trial court properly instructed the jury that it had to find that Defendant acted with general intent. The Supreme Court disagreed and remanded the case for a new trial, holding that the jury was not properly instructed regarding the applicable mens rea for the crime of illegal practices in campaign financing, and it was reasonably possible that the jury was misled. View "State v. Newton" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court in favor of the Commissioner of Transportation (Defendant) on Plaintiff’s complaint alleging, inter alia, that Defendant negligently authorized Hallberg Contracting Company to deposit construction materials on Plaintiff’s property. With Defendant’s consent, Hallberg, a subcontractor on a highway reconstruction project, entered into an oral contract with a third party to use the property for stockpiling construction materials related to a highway reconstruction project. Hallberg deposited thirty-two truckloads of material on the property. The trial court found that Defendant negligently authorized Hallberg to dispose of the construction materials on the property but that Plaintiff failed to mitigate its damages. The court then awarded $29,855 in damages. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the trial court’s award of damages was not clearly erroneous; (2) the trial court’s finding that Plaintiff failed to mitigate its damages was supported by sufficient evidence in the record; and (3) the trial court properly did not award Plaintiff damages for lost profits. View "Sun Val, LLC v. Commissioner of Transportation" on Justia Law