See the Connecticut Supreme Court in Action 

WHEN: Thursday, October 19, 2023 - 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. 

WHERE: Torp Theatre, Davidson Hall 

Central hosts the Connecticut Supreme Court on Thursday, October 19, for two hearings: one civil and one criminal. Hearings are open to the public and registration is unnecessary. 


  • Security check at the door 
  • While attendees may leave during arguments, disruptions must be kept to a minimum 
  • Backpacks are not allowed 
  • No food, gum, or water bottles 
  • No taking pictures/videos 
  • Phones MUST be off or on silent 


Counsel of Record: Pam Nagy, Supervisory Assistant Public Defender and Rocco A. Chiarenza, Senior Assistant State’s Attorney  

Summary of Criminal Case: Whether State v. Arroyo Should Be Modified to Prohibit Legally Inconsistent Verdicts Where Defendant Is Convicted of Offense but Acquitted of Lesser Included Offense for Same Facts; Whether Mistrial Should Have Been Granted Where There Was 25-Day Delay During Deliberations.  

On September 6, 2020, the defendant and another man broke into the victim's apartment and assaulted and robbed him. The defendant was charged, inter alia, with home invasion and first-degree burglary for this incident. At trial, the defendant requested: 

  1. An instruction on second-degree burglary as a lesser included offense of home invasion 
  2. An instruction on third-degree burglary as a lesser included offense of first-degree burglary 

The court granted the defendant's request. 

As to home invasion, the court instructed in pertinent part that the jurors must find the defendant knowingly and unlawfully entered a dwelling while someone was present with the intent to commit a crime, namely possession of a controlled substance or larceny. As for third-degree burglary (as a lesser included offense to first-degree burglary), the court instructed that the defendant must have knowingly and unlawfully entered a building with the intent to commit a crime, which was possession of a controlled substance and/or larceny.  

Jury deliberations began October 14, 2021. The jury did not reach a verdict, and the proceedings were adjourned for three days until October 18, 2021.  

When court resumed, the defendant was not present because he quarantined due to COVID-19 exposure. He could not return to court until October 27, 2021. The day before trial was to resume, the court learned that the defendant contracted COVID-19 and would not be able to return to court until November 8, 2021. Defense counsel informed the court that the defendant would not agree to appear by video. Defense counsel then moved for a mistrial on the ground that the 25-day delay in jury deliberations would result in substantial and irreparable prejudice to the defendant's case. Defense counsel argued that the long lapse of time would cause the jurors to forget some of the evidence, the arguments of counsel, and the court's instructions. The court denied the motion for a mistrial, finding that the defendant had failed to show either substantial or irreparable prejudice.  

Jury deliberations resumed November 8, 2021, and later that day, the jury found the defendant guilty of home invasion but acquitted him of the other charges. The defendant directly appealed from the judgment of conviction to the Supreme Court pursuant to General Statutes § 51-199 (b) (3).  

On appeal, the defendant claims the home invasion conviction should be vacated because, based on the exact same allegations and set of facts, he was acquitted of the lesser included offense of third-degree burglary, which is an essential element of the greater offense of home invasion. The defendant argues that the holding of State v. Arroyo, 292 Conn. 558, 586 (2009), which concluded that claims of legally inconsistent verdicts are not reviewable, is unsound because there is "no just reason to allow a defendant to be convicted of the crime when the jury has found that an essential element of the crime in the form of a lesser included offense was not proven."  

The defendant also claims that the trial court should have granted his motion for a mistrial because he was prejudiced by the 25-day delay in jury deliberations due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  

All filings in this appeal, including briefs, can be found here.  

Counsel of Record: Mario Cerame, Brignole, Bush & Lewis; Gregory A. Jones, Fazzano & Tomasiewicz, LLC; and Patrick Tomasiewicz, Fazzano & Tomasiewicz, LLC  

Amicus: Jay M. Wolman, Randazza Legal Group, PLLC and Paul Alan Levy, on the amicus brief filed by Attorney Wolman  

Summary of Civil Case:  Bill of Discovery; Constitutional Law; First Amendment; Whether Bloggers Constitute "News Media" Connecticut's Press Shield Law; Whether Trial Court Applied Correct Legal Standard to Free Speech Claim under State Constitution; Whether Discovery Order Violated Constitutional Free Speech Rights; and Whether 0Certain Anonymous Comments on Blog Post Were Defamatory Per Se.  

The defendant maintains and operates a blog in which he publishes his own investigative reports pertaining to the city of Hartford, including the city's police, fire, and public works departments, board of education, and municipal government. The blog also provides a forum for individuals to leave comments. Commenters can elect to reveal their identity or may post using a pseudonym.  

In August of 2019, anonymous commenters posted a variety of allegedly defamatory statements on the defendant's blog regarding the plaintiff's work as a lieutenant in the city's police department. In November of 2019, the plaintiff commenced the present action for a bill of discovery to obtain the identity of the anonymous commenters so that he may bring an action for defamation against them. More specifically, the plaintiff sought an order requiring the defendant to release the internet protocol (IP) addresses and other identifying information related to these anonymous commenters.  

The defendant interposed two special defenses to the plaintiff's complaint. First, the defendant alleged that the requested disclosures were barred by General Statutes § 52-146t, which protects from compelled disclosure information obtained by "news media." The defendant further asserted that the granting of the bill of discovery would violate the commenters' constitutional rights to speak anonymously and the defendant's constitutional rights to freedom of speech and of the press.  

The plaintiff moved to strike these defenses, which the trial court granted. Following a trial, the court issued a memorandum of decision permitting discovery with respect to some of the allegations of the plaintiff's complaint. The court found that the plaintiff had demonstrated probable cause to bring an action for defamation and ordered that, given the unavailability of the IP addresses of the commenters, the defendant would be required to submit for forensic analysis the laptop and cell phone used by the defendant to access, monitor, and maintain the blog.  

The defendant appealed from the trial court's judgment to the Appellate Court, and the appeal was subsequently transferred to our Supreme Court pursuant to Practice Book § 65-1. The defendant asserts four claims on appeal. First, he claims that the trial court improperly construed § 52-146t as inapplicable to the operator of a blog. Second, the defendant claims that the trial court applied the wrong legal standard in striking his constitution-based special defense. Third, the defendant claims that the trial court's order directing discovery is violative of constitutional free speech principles and was so overinclusive and invasive as to constitute an abuse of discretion. Finally, the defendant claims that the trial court erred in determining that some of the commenter's statements were defamatory as a matter of law.  

All filings in this appeal, including briefs, can be found here