Articles Posted in Connecticut Supreme Court

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the habeas court granting Petitioner's petition for a writ of habeas corpus, holding that Petitioner established good cause for failing to raise his claim at trial or on direct appeal that he was deprived of his right to counsel. Following a jury trial, Petitioner was found guilty of sexual assault and risk of injury. Petitioner filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus, alleging that he had wrongfully been denied counsel at his criminal trial. Petitioner failed to raise a claim related to that deprivation either at trial or on direct appeal. The State filed a return asserting an affirmative defense of procedural default. The habeas court granted the petition, concluding that a claim of public defender error was not procedurally defaulted. The Appellate Court affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that, for purposes of determining whether a habeas claim is barred by procedural default, prejudice is presumed when the petitioner is completely denied his right to counsel. View "Newland v. Commissioner of Correction" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court held that, in light of Patsy v. Board of Regents, 457 U.S. 496, 501 (1982), and its progeny, a plaintiff is not required to exhaust administrative remedies prior to filing a 42 U.S.C. 1983 claim in state court, regardless of the type of relief sought, and therefore, this Court's holdings in Pet v. Department of Health Services, 542 A.2d 672 (1988), and Laurel Park, Inc. v. Pac, 485 A.2d 1272 (1984), that exhaustion of state administrative remedies is a jurisdictional prerequisite to the filing of a section 1983 action for injunctive relief are overruled. Plaintiff, a homeowner who was the subject of several enforcement action under a municipal blight ordinance, brought a claim alleging a deprivation of civil rights under 42 U.S.C. 1983. The trial court dismissed Plaintiff's section 1983 claims for lack of subject matter jurisdiction on the ground that Plaintiff had failed to exhaust his administrative remedies. The Appellate Court affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed with respect to Plaintiff's section 1983 claims, holding that Plaintiff was not required to exhaust his state administrative remedies prior to filing his section 1983 claims in state court. View "Mangiafico v. Farmington" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the Appellate Court affirming Defendant's conviction, holding that Defendant's statements during interrogation did not meet the standard set forth in Davis v. United States, 512 U.S. 452, 459-60 (1994), so as to require suppression but that a more protective prophylactic rule set forth in this opinion is required under the Connecticut constitution to adequately safeguard the right against self-incrimination. Defendant was convicted of three counts of risk of injury to a child. On appeal, Defendant challenged the denial of his motion to suppress certain statements he made during interrogation, arguing that the statements had been elicited after he invoked his right to have counsel present. The Appellate Court affirmed, holding that Defendant's references to counsel would not have been understood by a reasonable police officer as an expression of a present desire to consult with counsel. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) Defendant's statements during the interrogation did not constitute an invocation of his right to counsel under Davis; (2) however, the state Constitution requires that police officers clarify an ambiguous request for counsel before they can continue the interrogation; and (3) because no such clarification was elicited in this case, and the failure to do so was harmful, Defendant was entitled to a new trial. View "State v. Purcell" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgments of the trial court granting Defendant's motions to suppress all cell site location information (CSLI) obtained by the State as a result of three ex parte orders that had been granted pursuant to Conn. Gen. Stat. 54-47aa, holding that because the State obtained did not obtain Defendant's historical CSLI based on a warrant supported by reasonable cause, the records were obtained in violation of Defendant's Fourth Amendment rights. The State obtained the CSLI at issue solely on the basis of a reasonable and articulable suspicion. The State conceded that it obtained the CSLI in violation of section 54-47aa. The trial court determined that suppression of both the historical and the prospective CSLI was the appropriate remedy. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the trial court properly granted Defendant's motions to suppress the CSLI records because the records were obtained illegally and because suppression was the appropriate remedy as to the illegally obtained records; and (2) the trial court properly determined that suppression of those records also required that Defendant's statement and potential testimony be suppressed. View "State v. Brown" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the trial court denying Defendant's motion to suppress evidence discovered by the police during the forcible detention of Defendant, holding that Defendant's detention violated his Fourth Amendment rights under Navarette v. California, 572 U.S. 393 (2014). Defendant was detained pursuant to Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1 (1968) on the basis of an anonymous telephone tip regarding "a young man that has a handgun." After Defendant was detained, the police saw him drop an object in a garbage can. A subsequent search revealed that the object was a handgun. Defendant was charged with criminal possession of a pistol and carrying a pistol without a permit. Defendant filed a motion to suppress, arguing that his detention was unconstitutional because the anonymous tip did not give rise to a reasonable suspicion that he was engaged in, or was about to be engaged in, criminal activity. Therefore, Defendant argued that the handgun was tainted as the result of his unlawful seizure. The trial court denied the motion to suppress. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the anonymous telephone call did not give rise to a reasonable suspicion that Defendant was in possession of a handgun, justifying an investigative Terry stop. View "State v. Davis" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the Appellate Court affirming the judgment of the habeas court denying Petitioner’s habeas petition, holding that the State did not violate the due process of Petitioner by not disclosing an alleged agreement between the State and a testifying accomplice in Petitioner’s underlying criminal case and by failing to correct the accomplice’s allegedly false testimony that no such agreement existed. On appeal, Petitioner asked the Supreme Court to conclude, contrary to the determination of the lower courts, that the State had an agreement with the accomplice that it had not disclosed in violation of Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963) and that the nondisclosure of this agreement was material. The Supreme Court affirmed on the alternative basis that, even assuming that the State had no undisclosed deal with the accomplice, there was no reasonable likelihood that disclosure of the agreement would have affected the judgment of the jury. Therefore, the lack of any disclosure was immaterial under Brady and there was no due process violation. View "Marquez v. Commissioner of Correction" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the appellate court reversing in part the judgment of the habeas court granting in part Petitioner’s petition for a writ of habeas corpus on the ground that Petitioner’s defense counsel had provided ineffective assistance of counsel, holding that Petitioner was not prejudiced by counsel's strategy. Petitioner was convicted of murder after a second trial. The Supreme Court affirmed. Thereafter, Petitioner brought his habeas petition, claiming that his defense counsel had provided ineffective assistance by failing to adequately prepare and present an alibi defense and by failing to present a third-party culpability defense. The appellate court concluded (1) it was reasonable trial strategy not to present an alibi defense; (2) Petitioner’s claim of inadequate investigation of the alibis defense was unpreserved; and (3) Petitioner was not prejudiced by counsel’s failure to present a third-party culpability defense. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) it was not deficient performance for defense counsel not to present an alibi defense; and (2) it was not deficient performance of prejudicial for defense counsel not to present a third-party culpability defense. View "Johnson v. Commissioner of Correction" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court convicting Defendant of threatening in the first degree, two counts of disorderly conduct, and breach of the peace in the second degree, holding that Defendant’s arguments on appeal were unavailing. Specifically, the Court held (1) the trial court did not err in denying Defendant’s motion to dismiss the threatening charge on the ground that Conn. Gen. Stat. 53a-61aa(a)(3) is unconstitutional as violating free speech protections; (2) the trial court properly considered evidence of events that occurred after Defendant sent a threatening email to support its conclusion that Defendant violated section 53a-61aa(a)(3); and (3) the evidence was sufficient beyond a reasonable doubt to convict Defendant of threatening in the first degree in violation of section 53a-61aa(a)(3). View "State v. Taupier" on Justia Law

by
In this criminal case, the Supreme Court held that the due process guarantee in Connecticut Constitution in article first, section 8 provides somewhat broader protection than the United States Constitution with respect to the admissibility of eyewitness identification testimony. Defendant was convicted of felony murder, among other crimes. On appeal, Defendant argued that the trial court violated his federal due process rights by denying his motion to suppress an out-of-court and subsequent in-court identification of him by an eyewitness to the crimes of which Defendant was convicted. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the out-of-court identification procedure was unnecessarily suggestive, but the identification of Defendant was nevertheless sufficiently reliable to satisfy federal due process requirements, and therefore, Defendant was not entitled to suppression of those identifications; and (2) the due process guarantee in Conn. Const. art. I, 8 provides broader protection than the federal constitution with respect to the admissibility of eyewitness identification testimony, but the trial court’s failure to apply this state constitutional standard was harmless. View "State v. Harris" on Justia Law

by
In this habeas proceeding, the Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the Appellate Court holding that defense counsel’s delay in presenting to Petitioner a favorable plea offer from the prosecutor during trial amounted to deficient performance pursuant to Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668 (1984). Petitioner was convicted of felony murder. Petitioner sought a writ of habeas corpus claiming that her trial counsel rendered ineffective assistance when he delayed presenting to her a favorable plea offer, an offer that the prosecutor later withdrew before it could be accepted. The habeas court agreed and concluded that Petitioner was prejudiced by counsel’s deficient performance. The Appellate Court affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that, under the circumstances, the habeas court and Appellate Court properly determined that counsel’s delay in conveying the plea offer to Petitioner amounted to deficient performance. View "Helmedach v. Commissioner of Correction" on Justia Law