STATE OF CONNECTICUT, v. KATHERINE LEE STONICK.
Appellate Court of Connecticut.
Argued September 14, 2017.
Officially released October 12, 2017
A. Ryan McGuigan, with whom, on the brief, was Pamela LeBlanc, for the appellant (defendant).
Ronald G. Weller, senior assistant state’s attorney, with whom, on the brief, were Richard J. Colangelo, Jr., state’s attorney, and Suzanne M. Vieux, supervisory assistant state’s attorney, for the appellee (state).
Sheldon, Elgo and Beach, Js.
The defendant, Katherine Lee Stonick, appeals from the judgment of the trial court noting a nolle prosequi to charges then pending against her of larceny in in the sixth degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-125b and illegal use of a credit card in violation of General Statutes § 53a-128d without ruling on her request that the charges be dismissed the pursuant to General Statutes § 54-56b. The nolled charges against the defendant stemmed from an incident that allegedly occurred on August 17, 2016, in which the defendant, while allegedly out on a date with the complainant, was accused of using the complainant’s debit card, without his knowledge or permission, to purchase a $300 gift card to the restaurant at which they were dining.
On November 14, 2016, the state entered a nolle on the pending charges, upon which the defendant immediately asked that the charges be dismissed on the ground of “actual innocence.” The court asked the defendant if she would concede that there had been probable cause for her arrest. Defense counsel responded on her behalf that she would not so concede, whereupon the court ended the proceeding by stating: “A nolle is noted for the record.” This appeal followed.
The defendant argues, and the state concedes, that the court erred in noting the nolle over the objection of the defendant without ruling on her request for a dismissal of the nolled charges or requiring the state to make certain representations concerning those charges pursuant to § 54-56b. That statute provides that once a defendant objects to the entry of a nolle and demands a dismissal, the state may enter the nolle only “upon a representation to the court by the prosecuting official that a material witness has died, disappeared or become disabled or that material evidence has disappeared or has been destroyed and that a further investigation is therefore necessary.” When the court noted the nolle in the absence of any such representation by the state, it did so in violation of § 54-56b.
The judgment is reversed and the case is remanded for further proceedings consistent with this opinion on the defendant’s objection to the state’s nolle and her demand that the nolled charges be dismissed.
* October 12, 2017, the date that this decision was released as a slip opinion, is the operative date for all substantive and procedural purposes.