May 2, 2018
from the Superior Court, Judicial District of Hartford,
W. Falk, assigned counsel, with whom, on the brief, was
Robert M. Black, for the appellant (defendant).
R. Lockwood, senior assistant states attorney, with whom, on
the brief, were Gail P. Hardy, states attorney, John F.
Fahey, senior assistant states attorney, and Lisa
Herskowitz, former senior assistant states attorney, for the
McDonald, Robinson, DAuria, Mullins, Kahn and Vertefeuille,
Conn. 174] The common-law corpus delicti rule "prohibits
a prosecutor from proving the [fact of a transgression] based
solely on a defendants extrajudicial statements."
(Internal quotation marks omitted.) State v.
Leniart, 333 Conn. 88, 97, __ A.3d __ (2019). Following
a jury trial, the defendant in the present case, Robert H.,
was convicted of two counts of risk of injury to a child, in
violation of General Statutes § 53-21 (a) (1), arising from
two alleged incidents of sexual misconduct. On appeal, he
argued before the Appellate Court that the only evidence that
he committed the second alleged act of misconduct were
statements he made to the police and, therefore, that his
conviction on that count violated the corpus delicti rule.
Because the defendant did not raise the corpus delicti issue
or challenge the admissibility of his statements at trial,
and because the Appellate Court was of the view that corpus
delicti is merely an evidentiary rule that must be raised at
trial to be reviewable on appeal, that court concluded that
his claim was unreviewable. State v. Robert
H., 168 Conn.App. 419, 422, 146 A.3d 995 (2016). We
granted [333 Conn. 175] certification, limited to the
following question: "Did the Appellate Court properly
conclude that the corpus delicti rule is merely a rule of
admissibility, in determining that there was sufficient
evidence to sustain the defendants second conviction of risk
of injury to a child in violation of ... § 53-21 (a)
(1)?" State v. Robert H., 323 Conn. 940, 151
A.3d 845 (2016).
companion case that we decide today, we answer that question,
concluding that our corpus delicti rule is a hybrid
evidentiary-substantive rule that implicates a defendants
fundamental right not to be convicted in the absence of
evidence sufficient to establish every essential element of
the charged crime beyond a reasonable doubt, and, therefore,
even unpreserved corpus delicti claims are reviewable on
appeal. See State v. Leniart, supra, 333 Conn. at
110 __ A.3d __. Accordingly, we reverse the judgment of the
Appellate Court and remand the case to that court for full
consideration of the merits of the defendants corpus delicti
judgment of the Appellate Court is reversed and the case is
remanded to that court for further ...