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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court determining that Plaintiff, Walgreen Eastern Company, Inc., had established aggrievement under Conn. Gen. Stat. 12-117a by showing that the valuation of Plaintiff’s property by Defendant, the Town of West Hartford, was excessive. The Court further affirmed the trial court’s judgment determining the true and actual value of the subject property and concluding that the Town’s valuation of the subject property was not manifestly excessive under Conn. Gen. Stat. 12-119. After the Board of Assessment Appeals (Board) upheld the town assessor’s valuation, Plaintiff appealed to the superior court, which (1) found Plaintiff satisfied its burden of proving aggrievement; and (2) rendered judgment in favor of Plaintiff on its section 12-117a count and in favor of the Town on Plaintiff’s section 12-119 count. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the relief awarded by the trial court was sufficient because the court properly determined the true and actual value of Plaintiff’s property; and (2) the trial court properly determined that Plaintiff did not meet its burden to establish a claim under section 12-119. View "Walgreen Eastern Co. v. Town of West Hartford" on Justia Law

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The trial court improperly refused to mark for certain records for identification and abused its discretion in declining to review those records in camera. Defendant was convicted of three counts of sexual assault in a spousal relationship and other crimes. The Appellate Court reversed the judgment of conviction and remanded the case for a new trial, concluding, inter alia, that the trial court improperly refused to conduct an in camera review of the complainant’s privileged record from Interval House, an organization that provides services to domestic violence victims, and improperly declined to mark those records for identification. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the appellate court properly concluded that the trial court abused its discretion in refusing to conduct an in camera review of the Interval House records, an error that warranted a new trial. View "State v. Norman P." on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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Because Defendant was not self-represented during his testimony, the trial court’s decision to allow Defendant to testify in narrative form did not cause him to be self-represented without a proper waiver of his right to counsel. During the trial for the murder of his father and the physical assault of his elderly mother, Defendant demanded to testify that Satan had taken over his body and performed these acts. Based on the Rules of Professional Conduct, defense counsel requested that Defendant be permitted to give that testimony in narrative form. The trial court granted the request, and Defendant testified in that manner. After Defendant was convicted, he appealed, claiming that, pursuant to State v. Francis, 118 A.3d 529 (2015), he was entitled to a new trial because in order to exercise his right to testify, he was compelled to self-represent without a proper waiver of his right to counsel. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Francis does not control the present case; and (2) under the facts of this case, Defendant was not self-represented during his narrative testimony or at any other point during the trial. View "State v. Jan G." on Justia Law

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Defendant’s statement to two water company employees who had entered his property pursuant to an easement to service a fire hydrant was not “fighting words,” and therefore, the First Amendment forbids the imposition of criminal sanctions. After a jury trial, Defendant was convicted of disorderly conduct in violation of Conn. Gen. Stat. 53a-182(a)(1). The conviction arose from Defendant’s statement to the water company employees that, if they did not leave his property, he would retrieve a gun and shoot them. The Appellate Court reversed, concluding that, although inappropriate, Defendant’s words were not likely to provoke an immediate and violent reaction from the water company employees, and therefore, Defendant’s speech did not amount to fighting words. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that, consistent with the First Amendment, Defendant’s statements did not constitute fighting words. View "State v. Parnoff" on Justia Law

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Conn. Gen. Stat. 31-51bb permitted Plaintiff to file a claim with the Workers’ Compensation Commission alleging that the City of New Haven had violated Conn. Gen. Stat. 31-290a by wrongfully terminating his employment in retaliation for bringing a workers’ compensation claim, notwithstanding that a related issue had previously been decided by the State Board of Mediation and Arbitration in an arbitration proceeding brought pursuant to Plaintiff’s collective bargaining agreement. The Compensation Review Board determined that, under section 31-51bb, Plaintiff’s claim brought before the Commission pursuant to section 31-290a was not barred by the doctrine of collateral estoppel. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that section 31-51bb permitted Plaintiff to file a claim with the Commission pursuant to section 31-290a under the circumstances of this case. View "Williams v. City of New Haven" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the Appellate Court concluding that, during Defendant’s in-home interrogation by the police, he was not in custody for purposes of Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966). Defendant was convicted of attempt to commit robbery in the first degree and attempt to commit robbery in the second degree. Defendant appealed the denial of his motion to suppress his oral and written statements to the police, arguing that any waiver of his Miranda rights was not voluntarily given and, even if the police satisfied Miranda, his statements were obtained involuntarily, in violation of his due process rights. The trial court denied the motion to suppress. The Appellate Court affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Defendant was not in custody at the time of the interrogation, and therefore, the police were not constitutionally required to provide him with Miranda warnings. View "State v. Castillo" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the Appellate Court affirming Defendant’s conviction of four counts of sexual assault in the second degree and three counts of risk of injury to a child, holding that the Appellate Court did not err in concluding that Defendant had waived any claim regarding his presence at sidebar conferences. Throughout the trial, both the defense and the state utilized sidebar conferences to make any detailed arguments on evidentiary objections. On appeal, Defendant argued that he had a right to be present at the sidebar conferences. The Appellate Court affirmed, concluding that Defendant had waived any claim related to his presence at the sidebar conferences by agreeing to the procedure proposed by the trial court for handling arguments on evidentiary objections. The Supreme Court affirmed, noting that it would serve no purpose to repeat the discussion contained in the Appellate Court’s decision. View "State v. Tierinni" on Justia Law

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At issue in this election case was the validity of petitions submitted to qualify a slate of candidates to run for election to the Democratic Town Committee for the sixth district of the city of Hartford. Specifically at issue was whether election officials are required to reject these petitions if the petitions’ circulator knows or should know that the petitions contain an incorrect address for one of the candidates listed. In this action for a writ of mandamus compelling invalidation of certain petitions created for candidates for the Hartford Democratic Town Committee, the Supreme Court concluded that the dispositive issue was whether the acceptance of such petitions constitutes a “ruling of an election official,” an essential predicate to a party’s standing to proceed under Conn. Gen. Stat. 9-329a. The Court held that such an acceptance does not constitute such a ruling. Here, the superior court granted the motion filed by Alyssa Peterson et al. to intervene as defendants. Peterson filed a counterclaim, and judgment was entered for Plaintiffs. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the acceptance of petitions bearing a purportedly incorrect address for one candidate would not constitute a ruling of an election official, and therefore, Peterson lacked standing under section 9-329a. View "Arciniega v. Feliciano" on Justia Law

Posted in: Election Law

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The trial court improperly determined that evidence of the victim’s convictions for crimes of violence is inadmissible as a matter of law, but the error was harmless. Defendant was charged with assault in the second degree by means of a dangerous instrument. Prior to trial, the State filed motion in limine requesting that the trial court preclude evidence of the victim’s criminal convictions, which the State anticipated Defendant would attempt to submit to support his claim of self-defense. The trial court granted the motion, concluding that evidence of the convictions would not be admissible as a matter of law because they occurred subsequent to the charged conduct. The jury rejected Defendant’s claim of self-defense and found Defendant guilty as charged. The Appellate Court affirmed, holding that the trial court abused its discretion by excluding evidence of the victim’s subsequent convictions but that the error was harmless. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Defendant did not meet his burden to prove that the exclusion of evidence of the victim’s subsequent convictions was harmful error. View "State v. Jordan" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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Exercising jurisdiction over Defendant-insurer under the circumstances of this case was permitted by Connectictut’s corporate long arm statute, Conn. Gen. Stat. 33-929(f)(1), and comported with the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Defendant issued an automobile insurance policy covering a vehicle driven by Insured. The policy was written in New York at Defendant’s principal place of business, and Defendant did not direct or participate in any business transactions in Connecticut at the time. The coverage territory of the policy included Connecticut. Insured’s vehicle later collided with a vehicle occupied by Plaintiffs. A judgment was rendered against Insured in favor of Plaintiffs. Defendant failed to defend Insured or to indemnify him for the judgment rendered against him. Plaintiffs then brought this action against Defendant. Defendant moved to dismiss the action for lack of personal jurisdiction. The trial court granted the motion to dismiss. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that Defendant’s agreement to defend and indemnify Insured established personal jurisdiction under the long arm statute and that subjecting Defendant to the jurisdiction of this state comported with the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. View "Samelko v. Kingstone Insurance Co." on Justia Law