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Under certain circumstances, the privileged psychiatric records of a witness testifying for the state are subject to in camera review by the trial court so that the court can determine whether the accused’s constitutional right of confrontation allows him or her to access those records. Defendant was convicted of manslaughter in the second degree with a firearm. Defendant claimed that the trial court erred in declining to extend its holding in State v. Esposito, 471 A.2d 949 (1984), and violated his constitutional right to present a defense when it refused to conduct an in camera review of certain records of the victim protected by the psychiatrist-patient privilege where Defendant alleged that those records contained information material to his claim of self-defense. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the interests of an accused must prevail over a homicide victim’s psychiatrist-patient privilege when the accused makes a sufficient showing that the privileged information is pertinent to a claim of self-defense; but (2) Defendant’s constitutional claims were not adequately preserved at trial, and therefore, Defendant was not entitled to review under State v. Golding, 267 A.2d 832 (1989). View "State v. Fay" on Justia Law

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Defendant’s probation sentence had not expired at the time the trial court found that Defendant had violated his probation conditions and revoked his probation even though the trial court decided the violation charge after Defendant’s probation sentence was originally set to expire. Therefore, the trial court had jurisdiction to decide the violation charge. The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the Appellate Court, which affirmed the trial court’s judgment, holding that Defendant’s probation sentence had not expired when the trial court decided the probation violation charge because, pursuant to Conn. Gen. Stat. 53a-31(b), the running of Defendant’s sentence had been interrupted while the violation charge was pending. View "State v. Kelley" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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Defendant, the City of New Haven, was entitled to a new trial on this action for indemnification. Plaintiff, a police officer with the New Haven Police Department, was acquitted of sexual assault and unlawful restraint charges for conduct that allegedly occurred during the course of his employment. When Defendant declined to reimburse Plaintiff for economic loss sustained as a result of the prosecution in accordance with Conn. Gen. Stat. 53-39a, Plaintiff brought this indemnification action. The jury returned a verdict for Plaintiff. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded the case for a new trial, holding that the trial court erred in prohibiting Defendant from using the complainants’ prior testimony, and the error was not harmless. View "Maio v. City of New Haven" on Justia Law

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The allegations in an inmate’s habeas corpus petition, which claimed that Petitioner was incorrectly classified as a sex offender and that he suffered negative consequences as a result of that erroneous classification, sufficiently alleged a cognizable liberty interest invoke the jurisdiction of the habeas court. The habeas court concluded otherwise and dismissed the petition on the basis that Petitioner failed to allege a protected liberty interest. The Appellate Court reversed, determining that Petitioner’s allegations established a protected liberty interest under the stigma plus test applied by the federal courts. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) under the facts of this case, the stigma plus test is the best test; and (2) Petitioner’s allegations were sufficient to invoke the jurisdiction of the habeas court. View "Anthony A. v. Commissioner of Correction" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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At issue was how employers must determine the hourly wage - or regular rate - for retail employees whose pay fluctuates weekly because they receive commissions for the purposes of calculating overtime pay. Defendants in this case calculated Plaintiffs’ overtime pay using a method commonly known as the fluctuating workweek method. Plaintiffs brought this action claiming that Defendants’ use of the fluctuating method to calculate their regular rate for purposes of determining their overtime pay rate violated Connecticut wage laws. The district court certified a question to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court answered by holding that, although Connecticut wage laws do not prohibit the use of the fluctuating method for employees such as Plaintiffs, the state Department of Labor fair minimum wage order governing the calculation of overtime pay for mercantile employees does. View "Williams v. General Nutrition Centers, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the trial court vacating an arbitration award setting the amount of an insured loss caused by a tree falling on the insured home. After her property suffered a casualty loss, Plaintiff filed a claim under the policy insuring her property. The parties’ adjusters were unable to agree on the amount of the loss, and Plaintiff invoked the policy’s appraisal provision., which provided that the award was not conditioned on judicial review. After the appraisal panel issued its arbitration award Plaintiff filed an application with the superior court seeking to vacate the award. The trial court granted the application to vacate on the grounds that it violated Conn. Gen. Stat. 52-418. The Supreme Court held that the trial court improperly vacated the arbitration award because the arbitrators did not violate section 52-418. View "Kellogg v. Middlesex Mutual Assurance Co." on Justia Law

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Vaccinations are not “medical treatment” within the meaning of Conn. Gen. Stat. 17a-10(c), and therefore, the statute does not authorize the Commissioner of Children and Families to vaccinate a child temporarily placed in her custody over the objection of that child’s parents. The children’s parents in this case entered pleas of nolo contendere as to neglect allegations and agreed to commit their two children temporarily to the care and custody of the Commissioner. The parents, however, objected to vaccination of the children for common childhood diseases in accordance with the Department of Children and Families’ usual practice. The trial court granted the Commissioner permission to vaccinate the children, concluding that the Commissioner had the authority and obligation to vaccinate the children pursuant to section 17a-10c. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the statute does not authorize the Commissioner to vacate children committed to her temporary custody without parental consent. View "In re Elianah T.-T." on Justia Law

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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

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The Supreme Court answered questions of law certified to it by the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit by holding (1) Connecticut public policy supports imposing a duty on a school to warn about or protect against the risk of a serious insect-borne disease when it organizes a trip abroad; and (2) a damages award of approximately $41.5 million, $31.5 million of which are noneconomic damages, does not warrant a remittitur. In this case, Plaintiff, a fifteen-year-old private school student, sustained permanent brain damage after contracting tick-borne encephalitis during an educational trip to China. The jury returned a verdict in Plaintiff’s favor. The school appealed, and, finding insufficient guidance existing in Connecticut law to answer Defendant’s challenges to the verdict, certified the above questions of law to the Connecticut Supreme Court. View "Munn v. Hotchkiss School" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

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The Supreme Court vacated the judgment of the Appellate Court dismissing Mother’s appeal from the judgment of the trial court terminating Mother’s parental rights as to her son and remanded the case with direction to affirm the trial court’s judgment. On appeal, Mother argued (1) the Appellate Court erred in concluding that Mother had failed adequately to brief one of the two independent grounds for reversing the trial court judgment, and that therefore her appeal was moot; and (2) the trial court incorrectly determined that the Department of Children and Families made reasonable efforts to reunify her with her son and that she was unable to benefit from those efforts. The Supreme Court held (1) the Appellate Court erred in dismissing Mother’s appeal as moot; but (2) the evidence supported the trial court’s determination that Respondent was unable to benefit from reunification efforts, and the resolution of this issue constitutes an independent basis for affirming the trial court’s judgment. View "In re Elijah C." on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law