Articles Posted in Criminal Law

by
Defendant Justin Skipwith was charged with manslaughter in the second degree with a motor vehicle after he struck and killed Brianna Washington, the daughter of the plaintiff in error, Tabatha Cornell. Although Cornell notified the defendant in error, the state’s attorney for the judicial district of Waterbury, that she was invoking her constitutional rights as a victim of the crime, she was not afforded an opportunity to object to the plea agreement between Skipwith and the State or to make a statement at Skipwith’s sentencing hearing. Cornell filed a motion to vacate the sentence. The trial court dismissed the motion for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Cornell then filed a writ of error arguing that the trial court erred in dismissing her motion to vacate Skipwith’s sentence. The appellate court dismissed the writ of error, concluding that the trial court did not err. The Supreme Court affirmed on other grounds, holding that the writ of error sought a form of relief that was barred by the victim’s rights amendment. View "State v. Skipwith" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

by
In this criminal case, the trial court acted within its discretion in admitting uncharged sexual misconduct that occurred twelve years prior to the charged conduct. After a jury trial, Defendant was convicted of sexual assault in the first degree and two counts of risk of injury to a child. The appellate court affirmed the judgment of conviction. On appeal, Defendant argued that the uncharged sexual misconduct evidence was too remote and insufficiently similar to the charged offenses, and therefore, the trial court abused its discretion in admitting it. Defendant relied on State v. De Jesus, 953 A.2d 45 (Conn. 2008) to make his argument. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in admitting the twelve year old uncharged sexual misconduct evidence because it satisfied the requirements of DeJesus. View "State v. Acosta" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the habeas court dismissing the petition for writ of habeas corpus filed by Petitioner alleging that a 2013 amendment to Conn. Gen. Stat. 54-125a repealing a provision advancing certain inmates’ parole eligibility dates by earned risk reduction credit violated the ex post facto clause of the federal constitution. The habeas court dismissed the petition for lack of jurisdiction, concluding that Petitioner suffered no increase in punishment that would constitute a violation of the ex post facto clause. The Supreme Court affirmed for the reasons set forth in Perez v. Commissioner of Correction, __ A.3d __ (Conn. 2017), holding that the habeas court lacked subject matter jurisdiction over Petitioner’s ex post facto claim. View "James E. v. Commissioner of Correction" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the habeas court dismissing Petitioner’s habeas corpus petition claiming that application of the 2013 substantive and procedural amendments to Conn. Gen. Stat. 54-125a to him violated his state and federal due process and liberty rights, the ex post facto clause of the federal constitution, the separation of powers doctrine, and the equal protection clause of the federal constitution, and was contrary to the language of section 54-125a. The amendments eliminated earned risk reduction credit from the calculation of a violent offender’s parole eligibility date when such credit was not available at the time the offense was committed and altered parole eligibility hearing procedures to allow the Board of Pardons and Paroles to forgo holding a hearing. The habeas court concluded that it would be speculative whether the statutory changes would cause injury to Petitioner because the award of risk reduction credit by the Commissioner of Correction was discretionary. The Supreme Court affirmed but on different grounds, holding that the habeas court lacked jurisdiction over Petitioner’s claims. View "Perez v. Commissioner of Correction" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the Appellate Court’s conclusion that Defendant failed to establish that he had a subjective expectation of privacy in a residence he had leased to a third party. Defendant was charged with drug related offenses after the police found marijuana plants during a search at the residence. Defendant filed a motion to suppress evidence gathered during the search and his subsequent incriminating statements to the police as the fruits of a warrantless and illegal search. The trial court denied the motion. Defendant then entered a conditional plea of nolo contendere. The Appellate Court affirmed. The Supreme Court agreed with the lower courts, holding (1) Defendant lacked standing to challenge the warrantless search of the property because Defendant lacked a subjective expectation of privacy therein; and (2) the police possessed a reasonable and articulable suspicion to stop Defendant and later had probable cause to arrest him. View "State v. Houghtaling" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court convicting Defendant of identity theft in the third degree, credit card theft, illegal use of a credit card, and larceny in the sixth degree. Contrary to Defendant’s arguments on appeal, the trial court did not err (1) in precluding Defendant from arguing third-party culpability and denying his corresponding request for a jury instruction, and (2) when it sentenced Defendant on the charges of identity theft, illegal use of a credit card, and the lesser included offense of larceny in the sixth degree because those convictions did not violate the constitutional prohibition against double jeopardy. View "State v. Schovanec" on Justia Law

by
Defendant, a citizen of Poland, was charged with sexual assault in the fourth degree. The superior court granted Defendant’s application for accelerated rehabilitation. Defendant was subsequently ordered removed from the United States and deported to Poland. Ultimately, the court found that Defendant had failed successfully to complete the accelerated rehabilitation program, terminated Defendant’s participation in the program, and ordered his rearrest on the pending criminal charge. Defendant appealed. The Appellate Court did not reach the merits of Defendant’s claims, concluding that the appeal should be dismissed as moot under State v. Aquino, 901 A.2d 1194 (Conn. 2006). Specifically, the court found that Defendant’s appeal was rendered moot by his deportation because the reason for his deportation was unrelated to the accelerated rehabilitation program or the pending criminal charge. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) Aquino, properly construed, did not control the present case because the record established the reason for Defendant’s deportation; and (2) there was a reasonable possibility that the trial court’s orders would result in prejudicial collateral consequences. View "State v. Jerzy G." on Justia Law

by
There was sufficient evidence in the State’s case-in-chief to support the conviction of Defendant of forgery in the second degree in connection with a document created to facilitate the purchase of a vehicle on behalf of a corporation. On appeal from his conviction, Defendant asked the Supreme Court to exercise its supervisory powers over the administration of justice to hold the waiver rule in applicable to court trials, to consider his claim that the trial court improperly denied his motion for judgment of acquittal, and alternatively, that the evidence was insufficient to support the judgment. The Supreme Court did not reach Defendant’s claim regarding the waiver rule because it concluded that the evidence was sufficient to support the conviction. View "State v. Seeley" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

by
Defendant was charged with larceny in the third degree as an accessory and conspiracy to commit larceny in the third degree. Defendant moved to dismiss the charges on the basis of the State’s prior entry of a nolle prosequi on the same charges. The trial court denied the motion to dismiss. The appellate court reversed on the ground that the entry of a nolle on those charges and nolles on charges in three other cases was part of an agreement between the State and Defendant contemplating a global disposition supported by consideration. Therefore, the appellate court concluded that Defendant’s prosecution in the present proceeding was barred. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the agreement was ambiguous as to the parties’ intent and therefore must be construed in Defendant’s favor as a global disposition. View "State v. Kallberg" on Justia Law

Posted in: Contracts, Criminal Law

by
Defendant was convicted of two counts of arson in the second degree, two counts of conspiracy to commit criminal mischief in the first degree, and one count of conspiracy to commit burglary in the first degree. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Defendant waived his unpreserved claim of instructional error under the rule in State v. Kitchens, 10 A.3d 942 (2011); (2) the prosecutor’s remarks informing certain prospective jurors that reasonable doubt is something less than 100 percent certainty did not adversely affect the fairness of Defendant’s trial; and (3) Defendant’s assertion that the trial court improperly prevented defense counsel from cross-examining key state witnesses about certain topics was unfounded. View "State v. Reyes" on Justia Law