from Superior Court, judicial district of New Haven, Blue, J.
A. Pattis, with whom, on the brief, was John R. Williams,
self-represented, for the appellant (defendant).
L. Carrasquilla, chief disciplinary counsel, with whom was
Desi Imetovski, assistant chief disciplinary counsel, for the
Charles Kurmay filed a brief for the Connecticut Criminal
Defense Lawyers Association as amicus curiae.
Lavine, Beach and Mullins, Js.
defendant attorney, John R. Williams, claims in relevant part
that his right to due process was denied when the court
failed to provide him with proper notice of a disciplinary
hearing and a meaningful opportunity to be heard before
rendering a judgment suspending him from the practice of law
for twenty days. We agree and, accordingly, reverse the
judgment of the trial court and remand the case for a new
following facts, which are ascertained from the record and
are not in dispute, inform our review. There are two
underlying cases that are relevant to the instant matter; one
is a state court case and the other is a federal court case.
state court case, Williams represented criminal defendant
Angelo Reyes during the course of Reyes’ trial in the
judicial district of New Haven. In that case, Reyes had been
charged with two counts of arson in the second degree in
violation of General Statutes § 53a-112 (a) (2), two
counts of conspiracy to commit criminal mischief in the first
degree in violation of General Statutes §§ 53a-48
(a) and 53a-115 (a) (1), and conspiracy to commit burglary in
the first degree in violation of General Statutes
§§ 53a-48 (a) and 53a-101 (a) (1).
facing these charges in state court, however, Reyes had been
tried in federal court on similar charges. He was acquitted
of those federal charges.
selection was about to begin in the state court case, the
court discussed with Williams and the prosecutor the federal
court case in which Reyes had been acquitted. In particular,
the court discussed the fact that counsel had met in chambers
and agreed that the jury verdict in the federal case would
not be mentioned during voir dire in Reyes’ state court
case. The court then stated: ‘‘And second . . .
during the trial itself, the federal jury’s verdict
will not be mentioned by counsel or witnesses without prior
permission of the court, and, if somebody wants to bring it
up, it’s a simple matter to say, Your Honor, may the
jury be excused, and then, you know, address me seeking
permission if that seems appropriate.’’ The court
then asked if that was agreeable to the parties, and both the
prosecutor and Williams said ‘‘yes.’’
jury selection, the court clarified that Williams had no
outstanding motions on behalf of Reyes, which Williams
confirmed, and it then addressed an outstanding motion in
limine that the state had filed concerning the use of
information from Reyes’ federal court trial. The court
reiterated its earlier ruling that ‘‘there was to
be no mention of the verdict in the federal trial without
prior consent of the court, ’’ and it asked the
prosecutor if he was seeking an order that was even broader
than that. After further discussion among the prosecutor,
Williams and the court, the court then stated:
‘‘I’m going to stick with my original
order, which is that the outcome of the federal proceeding
may not be mentioned in the jury’s presence without
prior consent of the court.’’
October 1, 2014, during the evidentiary portion of
Reyes’ trial, the state called to the witness stand one
of Reyes’ alleged co conspirators, Osvaldo Segui,
Sr.During direct examination, Segui
testified in part about a specific plea agreement he had with
federal authorities and his expectations related to his
pending state criminal charges. On cross-examination,
Williams inquired about, inter alia: Segui’s conviction
in his federal criminal case; the plea agreement Segui had
with the federal prosecutor for a sentence that was less than
the mandatory minimum sentence; the fact that Segui had
testified against Reyes in Reyes’ federal criminal
trial as part of Segui’s plea agreement for, inter
alia, a reduced sentence; Segui’s pending state
charges; and Segui’s agreement with the state, which
was contingent on his testifying for the state in
Reyes’ state criminal trial. During cross-examination,
the following colloquy occurred between Williams and Segui as
Williams attempted to impeach Segui with a transcript from
Seguis federal court sentencing hearing:
‘‘Q: Isn’t it true, Mr. Segui, that in your
presence, Assistant United States Attorney McConnell said-and
counsel, for your benefit, it’s page eleven: ‘. .
. the verdict in the case is immaterial.’ Do you
remember him saying that?
‘‘A: I don’t understand that-material
‘‘Q: You don’t know what the word
‘‘A: No, I don’t.
‘‘Q: It means it doesn’t matter.
‘‘Q: That was, in fact, your-that was, in fact,
what the government told you; isn’t that right?
‘‘A: I don’t recall it, but yes-yes.
‘‘Q: All right. And then the [federal] judge
spoke, and Judge Shea addressed you directly as well as the
other people in the courtroom, do you remember that?
‘‘A: Yes. . . .
‘‘Q: Do you remember that Judge Shea said,
‘I also want to add, I echo what Mr. McConnell said.
While your assistance did not result in a
conviction, the fact is-’
‘‘[The Prosecutor]: Objection.
‘‘The Court: Sustained. The jury will step
out.’’ (Emphasis added.)
After the jury was excused, the colloquy continued:
‘‘The Court: Mr. Williams, I respect you a great
deal, but you have expressed your outrage several times
already at various things that happened. I think that this is
actually pretty outrageous, because we specifically addressed
the question of whether the jury should be informed of what
[was] the outcome of the federal trial before, and it was
agreed that you were not to mention that without the specific
consent of the court, and you- you should know that if you
wanted to get into this, you needed to obtain my consent
prior to mentioning this in front of the jury.
‘‘Attorney Williams: You Honor, ...