Judicial District of Danbury 

Criminal; Protective Order; Right to Counsel; Whether Defendant was Entitled to Challenge Validity of § 46b-38c Protective Order at Trial; Whether Defendant had Right to Counsel at Hearing on Protective Order.  The defendant was arrested after an altercation at his apartment with his girlfriend’s sister.  After the defendant was arraigned, the trial court granted the sister a protective order, pursuant to General Statues § 46b-38c, that precluded the defendant from contacting her and from entering his own apartment.  Although the defendant had applied for a public defender at his arraignment, the court had not yet appointed one at the time of the arraignment or the hearing on the protective order.  Therefore, the defendant represented himself at both proceedings.  Several days later, the police arrested the defendant for violating the protective order by entering the apartment and for interfering with a police officer.  At trial, the defendant attempted to offer evidence that the protective order was not valid because § 46b-38a only allows members of an individual’s family or household to obtain such orders, and his girlfriend’s sister was neither.  The trial court determined that the validity of the protective order was not at issue in the trial and prohibited the defendant from introducing evidence and cross examining witnesses as to the matter.  The jury convicted the defendant of violating the protective order and acquitted him of the interference charge.  In this appeal, the Supreme Court will decide whether the trial court, by ruling that the defendant could not contest the validity of the order, violated his constitutional right to present a defense by effectively relieving the state of its burden of proving all the elements of the crime.  In addition, the court will decide whether the defendant was denied his constitutional right to counsel at his arraignment and at the hearing on the protective order.