Articles Posted in Criminal 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

by
The court of appeals improperly concluded that a thirty-two delay in the execution of an arrest warrant, where the warrant was executed after the expiration of the limitation period, was reasonable as a matter of law such that the state was under no obligation to present evidence demonstrating that the delay was excusable. Defendant was arrested thirty-two days after the issuance of a warrant for his arrest and thirteen days after the expiration of the applicable five-year statute of limitations for his offense. The trial court denied Defendant’s motion to dismiss the charge on the ground that the prosecution was barred by the statute of limitations because the delay in the execution of the warrant was unreasonable. The Appellate Court affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the Appellate Court erred in affirming the trial court’s decision denying Defendant’s motion to dismiss pursuant to State v. Crawford, A.2d 1034 (1987). View "State v. Swebilius" on Justia Law

by
Principally at issue in this case was defense counsel's obligation to investigate and present mitigating evidence that could reduce a defendant's culpability when the defendant has directed counsel not to present such evidence and has refused to aid in the presentation of such evidence. The Connecticut Supreme Court held that a client's resolute, unambiguous instruction not to present mitigating evidence, if made knowingly and voluntarily, can preclude a showing of prejudice from counsel's failure to investigate mitigating evidence. The court held, largely for the reasons set forth by the habeas court, that this standard was met in the present case. Furthermore, the habeas court properly concluded that petitioner had not established a basis for relief on any of his claims challenging his judgment of conviction, and, in light of intervening changes in the law, petitioner's claims challenging the penalty phase and resulting sentence of death have been rendered moot. View "Breton v. Commissioner of Correction" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court held that Conn. Gen. Stat. 54-1j(a) does not require the trial court to inquire directly of a defendant as to whether he or she has spoken with counsel about the possible immigration consequences of pleading guilty before the court accepts the defendant’s guilty plea. Accordingly, the Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court, which denied Defendant’s motion to vacate his guilty plea to one count of conspiracy to commit larceny in the third degree on the ground that the trial court failed to ask Defendant whether he had spoken with counsel about the possible immigration consequences of pleading guilty before accepting the plea offer. Because Defendant expressly acknowledged that he understood those consequences, the trial court substantially complied with section 54-1j. View "State v. Lima" on Justia Law

by
Petitioner was found guilty in 2002 of the 1975 murder of his neighbor. The habeas court granted Petitioner’s petition seeking a writ of habeas corpus, concluding that Petitioner’s criminal trial counsel was constitutionally ineffective on three grounds. The Supreme Court reversed the habeas court’s judgment, holding (1) the habeas court erred in concluding that Petitioner’s trial counsel was constitutionally ineffective; (2) Petitioner’s alternative grounds for affirming the habeas court’s judgment were unavailing; and (3) the habeas court did not err in rejecting Petitioner’s claim that counsel had a conflict of interest in representing him. Remanded. View "Skakel v. Commissioner of Correction" on Justia Law

by
Defendant confessed to committing a robbery and assault at a grocery store in a signed, sworn statement he made to the police. Defendant moved to suppress his statements to the police. The trial court denied the motion. After a jury trial, Defendant was found guilty of multiple counts relating to the robbery of the grocery store. Defendant appealed, arguing that the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress because the detectives failed to provide him with Miranda warnings while he was in custody and prior to asking him about the robbery. Defendant claimed that the initial questioning and the subsequent questioning after he was provided with a Miranda warning was a single, continuous interrogation that rendered the Miranda warning ineffective. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the trial court properly denied the motion to suppress because, under the facts of this case, there was a sufficient separation between the initial questioning and the subsequent interrogation to render the Miranda warnings effective. View "State v. Donald" on Justia Law

by
Defendant was convicted of conspiracy to make a false statement in the second degree and conspiracy to fabricate physical evidence, arising from a single unlawful agreement. The Appellate Court remanded the case to the trial court with direction to merge the conspiracy to make a false statement in the second degree conviction into the conspiracy to fabricate physical evidence conviction and to resentence Defendant, concluding that Defendant’s conviction of both conspiracy counts on the basis of a single unlawful agreement violated the constitutional prohibition against double jeopardy. The Supreme Court reversed in part, holding (1) the Appellate Court properly applied binding precedent and remanded Defendant’s case with direction to merge the two conspiracy convictions; but (2) in light of the Court’s subsequent decisions, Defendant is entitled to have his conviction of conspiracy to make a false statement in the second degree vacated. Remanded. View "State v. Lee" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

by
After a jury trial, Defendant was convicted of six counts of the sale of narcotics by a person who is drug dependent, racketeering, and other drug-related offenses. The Appellate Court reversed the judgment of the jury trial, concluding (1) Defendant was entitled to a judgment of acquittal with respect to the racketeering conviction because the two predicate acts of racketeering identified by the jury did not constitute sufficient evidence of an enterprise; and (2) the trial court’s denial of a continuance effectively deprived Defendant of his right to self representation, and therefore, a new trial was required for the remaining offenses. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding (1) the Appellate Court properly determined that there was insufficient evidence to support the racketeering conviction; but (2) with respect to the other convictions, the Appellate Court erred in determining that the denial of a continuance effectively deprived Defendant of his right to self representation. Remanded. View "State v. Bush" on Justia Law