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A party’s delay in raising a challenge to the trial court’s subject matter jurisdiction is an improper ground on which to deny a motion for judgment of dismissal insofar as the motion challenged subject matter jurisdiction. The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the trial court in favor of Plaintiff in this negligence action. The trial court entered judgment after denying Defendant’s motion for judgment of dismissal raising a lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The Supreme Court held that the trial court’s stated rationale of delay and laches for denying the motion for judgment of dismissal was not a proper basis for denial. Rather, the trial court should have first resolved whether Defendant’s motion raised a colorable jurisdictional issue and, if so, whether it had jurisdiction over the cause of action. The court remanded the case for further proceedings. View "Machado v. Taylor" on Justia Law

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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

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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

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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

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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

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The Connecticut Supreme Court reversed defendant's conviction for breach of the peace in the second degree in connection with a customer dispute with a supermarket employee. The court held that the conviction constituted a violation of the First Amendment to the United States constitution because defendant's speech, unaccompanied by threats, did not fall within the narrow category of unprotected fighting words. In this case, the state failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the employee was likely to have retaliated with violence in response to defendant's words under the circumstances in which they were uttered. Accordingly, the court remanded for a judgment of acquittal. View "State v. Baccala" on Justia Law

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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

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Genovese v. Gallo Wine Merchants, Inc., 628 A.2d 946 (Conn. 1993), which held that, under Con. Gen. Stat. 31-51bb, a factual determination made in a final and binding arbitration conducted pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement does not have a preclusive effect in a subsequent action claiming a constitutional or statutory violation, is still good law. Plaintiff brought the present action alleging that her termination was in retaliation for bringing a previous action against Defendant alleging sex discrimination and for engaging in protected speech. Defendant filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that Plaintiff’s claims were barred by the doctrine of collateral estoppel because the factual underpinnings of the claims had been decided against her by the board of mediation in arbitration proceedings. The trial court denied the motion, citing Genovese. Defendant appealed. The Supreme Court affirmed, thus declining Defendant’s invitation to overrule Genovese. View "Spiotti v. Wolcott" on Justia Law

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Under the Municipal Employees’ Retirement Act (Act) a retiree cannot continue to collect a pension while reemployed in any full-time position with a participating municipality. In 1991, Plaintiff retired from his position as a firefighter with the town of East Haven. Plaintiff was awarded a disability pension through his membership in the municipal employees retirement system. From 1997 until 2007, Plaintiff served as mayor of East Haven. During that time, the State Employees Retirement Commission and the retirement services division of the Office of the State Comptroller (collectively, the agencies) determined that Plaintiff could continue to receive his retirement pension under the Act. However, when Plaintiff was again elected mayor in 2011, the agencies concluded that they had previously misconstrued the Act and suspended Plaintiff’s pension. The Commission and the trial court affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the agencies properly constructed the reemployment and disability pension provisions of the Act; and (2) the district court did not err in finding that Plaintiff did not rely to his detriment on the agencies’ previous interpretation of the Act and that the Commission did not violate Plaintiff’s equal protection and due process rights. View "Maturo v. State Employees Retirement Commission" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the Appellate Court affirming the judgment of the trial court awarding Plaintiff $899,480 in damages plus prejudgment interest for his claim that Defendant, the city of Norwalk, inversely condemned a commercial building by taking, through the power of eminent domain, Plaintiff’s parking lot located across the street. The Supreme Court held (1) the trial court properly found that Defendant inversely condemned the commercial building because, after Defendant took the parking lot, the use of the commercial building was substantially destroyed; and (2) the trial court did not abuse its discretion in rejecting Defendant’s judicial estoppel claim. View "Barton v. Norwalk" on Justia Law