Justia Connecticut Supreme Court Opinion Summaries

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the appellate court affirming Defendant's conviction of strangulation in the second degree and assault in the third degree, holding that there was no error in the trial court's evidentiary rulings and that there was no reason to mandate Defendant's requested jury instruction.Defendant was convicted of strangulation in the second degree and assault in the third degree. The appellate court affirmed the convictions. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the appellate court did not err in upholding the trial court's decision to admit into evidence a written statement that Defendant made during a custodial interrogation; and (2) this Court declines Defendant's request to exercise its supervisory authority to require trial court, in cases in which the police fail to record an interrogation in violation of Conn. Gen. Stat. 54-lo(h), to instruct the jury that the police violated the law. View "State v. Christopher S." on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law
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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the trial court in favor of Plaintiffs on all counts in this commercial dispute, holding that the trial court failed properly to instruct the jury regarding the legal effects of the parties' contract in this case and the proper means of calculating damages.Plaintiffs brought this action alleging promissory estoppel, negligent misrepresentation, tortious interference with business expectancies, and violations of the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act (CUTPA), Con. Gen. Stat. 42-110a et seq., and seeking damages, injunctive relief, and attorney fees and costs. The jury returned a verdict for Plaintiffs on all counts. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) there was sufficient evidence for the jury to find Defendants liable; but (2) the trial court abused its discretion in issuing the injunction at issue, and the injunction was unenforceable. View "Kent Literary Club of Wesleyan University v. Wesleyan University" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court granting the application of Defendant, AFSCME, Council 4, Local 344 (Union), to confirm an arbitration award reinstating Nichole Jefferson to her employment as executive director of the City of New Haven's Commission on Equal Opportunities, holding that the trial court did not err in determining that the award did not violate public policy.The Union filed a grievance, claiming that the City did not have just cause to terminate Jefferson. The arbitration panel reinstated Jefferson to her employment. Thereafter, the trial court issued an order granting the Union's application to confirm the award and denying the City's corresponding application to vacate, concluding that Jefferson's reinstatement did not violate public policy. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the City failed to meet its burden of demonstrating that Jefferson's reinstatement violated public policy. View "New Haven v. AFSCME, Council 4, Local 3144" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the Appellate Court dismissing Petitioner's appeal from the trial court's denial of his request for leave to file a late petition for certification to appeal from the court's judgment denying his petition for a new trial, holding that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in concluding that certification to appeal should be denied.The trial court denied Petitioner's petition on the ground that Petitioner's claims were "meritless and too late." Petitioner appealed, claiming that the trial court improperly considered the merits of the petition rather than the reasons for the delay or other factors relevant to permitting a late filing. The Appellate Court dismissed Petitioner's appeal. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the trial court (1) abused its discretion by failing to engage in the proper analysis to determine whether to excuse the late petition for certification; and (2) did not abuse its discretion in determining that the petition failed to raise issues warranting certification. View "Mitchell v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law
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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the appellate court affirming the judgment of the trial court convicting Defendant of three counts of sexual assault in the first degree and other crimes, holding that neither the structure nor the content of the prosecutor's closing argument deprived Defendant of his constitutional rights.On appeal, Defendant argued that the prosecutor deprived him of his constitutional rights to present a closing argument and to a fair trial by reserving her analysis of certain evidence for the rebuttal portion of closing argument and by mischaracterizing other evidence during rebuttal. The appellate court affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Defendant's claims of prosecutorial impropriety failed. View "State v. Gonzalez" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the appellate court, which affirmed the judgment of the habeas court denying Petitioner's amended petition for a writ of habeas corpus, holding that Petitioner failed to demonstrate that he was prejudiced by his trial counsel's failure to object to the prosecutor's improper comments during closing argument at Petitioner's criminal trial.Petitioner was convicted of murder. On appeal, the appellate court concluded that at least one of the prosecutor's comments during closing argument violated Petitioner's constitutional right to a fair trial but that Petitioner had not been prejudiced by the improper remarks. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the failure to Petitioner's criminal trial counsel to object to the prosecutor's improper remarks did not undermine the Court's confidence in the verdict. View "Ross v. Commissioner of Correction" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the appellate court affirming Defendant's conviction of sexually assaulting a twelve-year-old girl and sentencing him to a total effective prison term of thirty-three years, holding that there was no error.On appeal, Defendant argued that the trial court violated his due process right at sentencing by increasing his sentence because of his unwillingness to apologize to the victims. The appellate court affirmed, holding that the record did not support Defendant's contention. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the prison term imposed on Defendant did not give rise to an inference that the court punished him for refusing to issue an apology to the victims. View "State v. Angel M." on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law
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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court revoking Defendant's probation and sentencing him to an effective term of imprisonment of two years, holding that the trial court did not err in denying Defendant's motion to dismiss the violation of probation charge.Defendant pleaded guilty to illegal possession of child pornography in the second degree. After Defendant was released on probation he was charged with violating his probation for failing to complete sex offender treatment. The trial court found that Defendant had violated his probation, revoked his probation, and sentenced him to a term of imprisonment of six years. Defendant appealed, arguing that the condition of probation on which the violation of probation charge was predicated violated his Fourteenth Amendment rights to due process and equal protection and the constitutional prohibition against the imposition of cruel and unusual punishment. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Defendant's claims of error lacked merit. View "State v. Imperiale" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law
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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgments of the trial court applying the general negligence statute of limitations in Conn. Gen. Stat. 52-584 to Plaintiffs' claims alleging medical negligence instead of the extended limitation period set forth in section 52-577d, holding that the trial court did not err.Plaintiffs were minor patients of Robert Rackliffe, a pediatrician practicing in the early 1970s to the 1980s. Plaintiffs alleged that Rackliffe sexually assaulted them during their annual physical examinations and that Rackliffe's conduct constituted medical negligence. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of Defendant. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that section 52-577d did not apply to Plaintiffs' claims sounding in negligence and that the negligence claims were governed by the limitation period set forth in section 52-584. View "Doe v. Rackliffe" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the appellate court reversing the judgment of the trial court convicting Defendant of burglary in the third degree, attempt to commit tampering with physical evidence, and attempt to commit arson in the second degree, holding that the appellate court improperly addressed an issue of evidentiary sufficiency sua sponte without calling for supplemental briefing.The appellate court reversed Defendant's conviction on the ground that there was insufficient evidence for the jury to have reasonably concluded that Defendant intended to tamper with physical evidence. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the appellate court improperly decided an issue of evidentiary sufficiency sue sponte without ordering supplemental briefing, as required by Blumberg Associates Worldwide, Inc. v. Brown & Brown of Connecticut, Inc., 84 A.3d 840 (Conn. 2014). View "State v. Stephenson" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law