Articles Posted in Criminal Law

by
A court may look to the evidence presented at trial when determining if a defendant’s conviction violated the constitution prohibition against double jeopardy. Defendant appealed his convictions of assault of public safety personnel and interfering with an officer, arguing that the two convictions constituted a double jeopardy violation. To resolve Defendant’s claim, the Appellate Court reviewed evidence presented at trial and concluded that the two crimes did not stem from the same conduct. Consequently, the Appellate Court concluded that Defendant did not satisfy the requirements to establish a double jeopardy violation in the context of a single trial. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the Appellate Court properly reviewed the evidence to determine that the offenses in question did not arise from the same act or transaction; and (2) therefore, Defendant’s conviction did not violate double jeopardy. View "State v. Porter" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal from the judgment of the Appellate Court reversing the judgment of the habeas court, which was rendered on remand following the Appellate Court’s previous decision denying Petitioner’s petition for a writ of habeas corpus, holding that certification was improvidently granted. The Court, however, made two additional observations about the case. First, the Court deferred to the Appellate Court’s construction of its own ambiguous judgment allowing the admission of new evidence with respect to whether counsel’s deficient performance was prejudicial as a remand for a new trial requiring a new habeas judge to try the case under Conn. Gen. Laws 51-183c; and (2) should additional findings be necessary from an existing record in order to enable the expeditious resolution of a case, the reviewing court may retain jurisdiction over the appeal by means of a rescript that does not disturb the underlying judgment pending the remand and subsequent appellate proceedings. View "Barlow v. Commissioner of Correction" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

by
Any error in the trial court’s acceptance of Defendant’s waiver of the right to counsel following the court’s canvass was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt, and therefore, Defendant was not entitled to a new trial. Defendant was charged with crimes in connection with a robbery. Before trial, Defendant moved to discharge his appointed public defender and to represent himself. After canvassing Defendant about his decision, the trial court granted the motion. About four months later, the trial court canvassed Defendant a second time regarding his decision to represent himself. Defendant responded affirmatively. After the ensuing trial, Defendant was found guilty of certain crimes stemming from the robbery. On appeal, Defendant argued that the first canvass was inadequate, and therefore, his initial waiver of the right to counsel was not knowing and voluntary. The Appellate Court concluded that the first canvass was deficient but that the error was harmless inasmuch as Defendant was canvassed a second time. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that any inadequacy in the first canvass was harmless as a result of the second, adequate canvass. View "State v. Cushard" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the Appellate Court upholding that decision of the trial court denying Petitioner’s petition for a new trial on the basis of newly discovered evidence. In his petition, Petitioner claimed that new DNA testing demonstrated that he did not commit the murder for which he was convicted. The lower courts ruled that Petitioner was not entitled to relief. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the Appellate Court should have engaged in a de novo review under the specific circumstances of this case; but (2) applying a de novo standard of review, Petitioner was not entitled to a new trial. View "Jones v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

by
Defendant was charged with violating Conn. Gen. Stat. 53a-189a(a)(1), which prohibits a person from, knowingly and with malice, video recording another person under certain circumstances. At issue was the meaning of the element requiring that the victim be “not in plain view” when she is recorded. Specifically at issue was to whose plain view the statute refers. The Supreme Court held (1) the statute plausibly could refer to either the plain view of the defendant or the general public, rendering the statute ambiguous; and (2) consulting extra textual sources, the “not in plain view” element refers to the general public. The Supreme Court thus reversed the judgment of the Appellate Court, which concluded that the statutory language unambiguously referred to the plain view of the person making the recording, not the public. View "State v. Panek" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

by
The Appellate Court dismissed as moot Petitioner’s appeal from the judgment of the habeas court, which denied his amended petition for a writ of habeas corpus challenging his conviction of assault in the second degree. The Appellate Court concluded that the habeas appeal was rendered moot by Petitioner’s subsequent deportation to Haiti where any relief provided in relation to Petitioner’s assault conviction would have no effect on his ability to lawfully reenter the United States or to become a citizen. The court specifically ruled that a prior unchallenged conviction of threatening in the second degree in violation of Conn. Gen. Stat. 53a-62(a), which the court concluded constituted a crime of moral turpitude under the Immigration and Nationality Act, would remain as an impediment to Petitioner’s reentry. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) section 53a-62(a) is a divisible statute because it lists potential offense elements in the alternative, not all of which constitute crimes of moral turpitude as defined by 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(13)(C)(v) of the Act; and (2) therefore, the Appellate Court improperly determined that Petitioner’s threatening conviction constituted a crime of moral turpitude that rendered moot his habeas appeal challenging his assault conviction. View "St. Juste v. Commissioner of Correction" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court dismissed in part and affirmed in part the judgment of the trial court convicting Defendant of capital felony, two counts of murder, and other crimes. Defendant was sentenced to death plus forty-five years’ incarceration. On appeal, Defendant raised thirty-five claims, including twenty-one claims pertaining to the penalty phase of his trial. After Defendant had been sentenced to death, the Supreme Court abolished the death penalty. See State v. Santiago, 122 A.3d 1 (Conn. 2015). The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of conviction, holding (1) Defendant’s claims challenging the penalty phase were not yet ripe, and therefore, the court declined to resolve whether they had been rendered moot by Santiago; and (2) Defendant was not entitled to relief on any of his remaining claims. View "State v. Campbell" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the Appellate Court reversing the judgment of the trial court convicting Defendant of felony murder, home invasion, and robbery in the first degree, among other crimes. The Supreme Court held that the Appellate Court improperly concluded that the trial court (1) violated Defendant’s constitutional right to present a defense by conditioning its ruling that certain out-of-court statements were inadmissible under Crawford v. Washington, 541 U.S. 36, 68 (2004), on Defendant not presenting evidence regarding the statements; and (2) abused its discretion by admitting testimony from a police detective indicating that he had observed a purported bite mark on Defendant’s accomplice’s hand. Lastly, any claimed impropriety with respect to the admission testimony by a police detective who narrated the presentation of a bus surveillance video was harmless error. View "State v. Holley" on Justia Law

by
The Connecticut Supreme Court affirmed defendant's murder conviction and held that defendant expressly waived his claim that the trial court incorrectly failed to strike a witness's improper testimony. In this case, defendant had approved of the trial court's proposed remedy by expressing satisfaction with the trial court's plan to use an instruction, by declining to request action by the trial court, and by ultimately approving of the trial court's proposed instruction. The court also held that defendant's claim that the trial court improperly permitted the victim's mother to testify that she had heard information relating defendant to the victim's disappearance on the ground that it constituted inadmissible hearsay was unpreserved and unreviewable. View "State v. Miranda" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

by
At issue was whether the Appellate Court correctly concluded that there was sufficient evidence to support Defendant’s conviction for breach of the peace and whether the Appellate Court correctly concluded that there was insufficient evidence to support a judgment against Defendant of attempted larceny in the sixth degree. The Supreme Court (1) dismissed Defendant’s appeal as to the first issue on the ground that certification was improvidently granted; and (2) reversed the Appellate Court’s judgment with respect to its determination that there was insufficient evidence to support the conviction of attempted larceny in the sixth degree and remanded the case with directions to affirm the judgment of the trial court, holding that the evidence supported Defendant’s conviction of attempted larceny in the sixth degree. View "State v. Adams" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law