Connecticut Supreme Court on Tour:
Justices to hear cases at Stamford Judicial District Courthouse
The Connecticut Supreme
Court will travel to the Stamford Judicial District Courthouse on
Wednesday April 23, 2003, to hear arguments in two cases. In attendance
will be students from six Connecticut high schools -- Darien, Greenwich,
Norwalk, Stamford, Trinity Catholic, and Westhill. Students from the
University of Connecticut Stamford Campus also will be present.
The Court's appearance at
the Stamford Courthouse is part of an ongoing educational initiative of
the Connecticut Judicial Branch to acquaint students, educators, and the
general public with the role and responsibility of the court system.
"We believe that it's
important for the public -- and young people, in particular -- to
understand the court system -- what it does, how it does it, and why,"
Chief Justice William J. Sullivan said. "This visit provides the
opportunity for students and members of the public to observe first-hand
how the Connecticut Supreme Court works, and we hope that it will be
beneficial to all of those who attend."
Prior to oral arguments,
members of the Regional Bar Association, Inc. will meet with students in
their classrooms to discuss the issues being raised by the appeals and
what they can expect in court. Following oral arguments, the attorneys
who argue the cases will be invited to take part in a
question-and-answer session with the students.
The first case, State of
Connecticut vs. Vincent Betances, will begin before the Court at 10
At issue in State vs.
Betances is whether New Haven police illegally seized evidence from
the defendant when they arrested him on June 20, 2000. The defendant,
contending that police violated his constitutional rights, argued that
the trial judge should suppress 30 bags of heroin seized from Mr.
Betances, eight bags of heroin that Mr. Betances threw up while in an
ambulance, and his statement to police that he had swallowed heroin. The
judge agreed that the statement should not be used, ruling that the
defendant had been arrested and interrogated without having received his
Miranda warning. However, the judge agreed with the state that none of
the bags of heroin had been illegally seized. A jury convicted Betances
of narcotics charges and the judge sentenced him to 17 years in prison.
The defendant then filed his appeal.
The second case, Albert
Janusauskas vs. Richard A. Fichman M.D., will start at 11:45 a.m.
Dr. Fichman performed eye
surgery on Mr. Janusauskas in May 1993. Mr. Janusauskas sued in 1997,
alleging medical malpractice/lack of informed consent, breach of
contract, and a violation of the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act
(CUTPA). The case went before a jury in March 1999, and at the end of
the plaintiff's evidence, the defendant moved for a directed verdict on
the breach of contract and CUTPA claims. The trial court granted the
motion, and the jury considered only the remaining medical
malpractice/lack of informed consent claim. Jurors found in the
defendant's favor, and the trial court entered judgment for the
defendant. The Appellate Court subsequently reversed the trial court's
judgment on the breach of contract claim and ordered that a new trial be
held on that one count. The Supreme Court granted the defendant
permission to appeal the following issue: "Did the Appellate Court
properly conclude that the plaintiff was entitled to a new trial on an
implied contract theory?" The Supreme Court also granted the plaintiff
permission to appeal on this issue: "Did the Appellate Court properly
conclude that there was insufficient evidence to support a claim of a
CUTPA violation by the defendant?"
Media organizations wishing
to bring a camera or recording equipment into the courthouse to cover
panel discussions following the oral arguments should fax
a request to the External Affairs Division at 860-757-2270. Please
include a phone number and fax number with your request. Fax
transmissions may be sent at any time of day from the time of the
release of this advisory until Monday, April 21, 2003. For further
information, please contact the External Affairs Division at