473 A.2d 311 (Conn.App. 1984), 2065, State v. Bruno

Docket Nº:2065.
Citation:473 A.2d 311, 1 Conn.App. 384
Opinion Judge:DUPONT, J.
Party Name:STATE of Connecticut v. Dominic BRUNO.
Attorney:Ronald E. Cassidento, West Hartford, for appellant (defendant)., Linda N. Knight, Deputy Asst. State's Atty., with whom were John M. Massameno, Asst. State's Atty. and, on the brief, Austin J. McGuigan, Chief State's Atty., and John Dropick, Asst. State's Atty., for appellee (state). Ronald E. C...
Judge Panel:In this opinion the other judges concurred. DUPONT,
Case Date:March 13, 1984
Court:Appellate Court of Connecticut

Page 311

473 A.2d 311 (Conn.App. 1984)

1 Conn.App. 384

STATE of Connecticut


Dominic BRUNO.

No. 2065.

Appellate Court of Connecticut.

March 13, 1984

Argued Oct. 5, 1983.

Page 312

[1 Conn.App. 385] Ronald E. Cassidento, West Hartford, for appellant (defendant).

Linda N. Knight, Deputy Asst. State's Atty., with whom were John M. Massameno, Asst. State's Atty. and, on the brief, Austin J. McGuigan, Chief State's Atty., and John Dropick, Asst. State's Atty., for appellee (state).

DUPONT, Judge.

The defendant raises four issues on appeal. 1 They are: (1) Whether the court

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should have suppressed certain testimonial and physical evidence claimed by the defendant to have been the indirect result of an unlawful search; 2 (2) whether the court should have excluded two tapes and recorders from evidence[1 Conn.App. 386] because the state had not shown that they were in substantially the same condition as at the time of the "offense"; (3) whether the defendant and his counsel should have been allowed to inspect the medical and psychiatric records of a state's witness and (4) whether the court should have suppressed the testimony of employees of a police department concerning telephonic statements by the defendant to them after his arraignment.

The defendant's case was tried to the court and he was found guilty of six counts of eavesdropping, one count of conspiracy to eavesdrop, and two counts of criminal mischief. He, and the witnesses whose testimony is the subject of the claimed errors in the trial court's failure to suppress, were all employees of a cablevision company. A witness, the former girl friend of the defendant, was also an employee of the cablevision company. She initiated a police investigation of the defendant by reporting to the police her suspicions that the defendant had stolen some personalty of hers, and that she believed that the defendant was wiretapping. A warrant was obtained in order to search the defendant's car for her allegedly stolen personal possessions. The items were found in the car, as well as some electronic surveillance equipment. The trial court determined that the search was illegal, and suppressed from evidence the items seized.

Other employees of the company, Michael McCarthy and Andrew Healy, had aided the defendant in monitoring[1 Conn.App. 387] conversations of the defendant's former girl friend, and in engaging in acts of vandalism. One of them, Healy, had removed wiretap equipment from the ceiling of the cablevision office at the request of the defendant, and had transported it to New York where it remained for approximately six weeks until Healy delivered it to the police.


The trial court found that neither the live testimony of Healy and McCarthy nor the tapes and recorders supplied by Healy should be suppressed. It reasoned that the initial search of the defendant's car was made in good faith, in reliance on a signed search warrant and that the witnesses' testimony was sufficiently attenuated from the initial illegality of the search to dissipate the taint of that illegality. The court further found that the testimony was derived from sources independent of the initial search, and that a substantial length of time had elapsed between the illegal search and the discovery of the tapes supplied by Healy. The court not only made findings. It detailed the facts upon which its conclusions were based, noting particularly that Healy's cooperation as a witness stemmed from his being granted accelerated rehabilitation on condition that he testify truthfully and completely in the cases involving the defendant.

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The court applied the correct tests for determining whether the evidence to be suppressed was a constitutionally impermissible product of an illegal search warrant. United States v. Crews, 445 U.S. 463, 469, 100 S.Ct. 1244, 1248, 63 L.Ed.2d 537 (1980); Wong Sun v. United States, 371 U.S. 471, 487-88, 83 S.Ct. 407, 417-418, 9 L.Ed.2d 441 (1963); Silverthorne Lumber Co. v. United States, 251 U.S. 385, 392, 40 S.Ct. 182, 183, 64 L.Ed. 319 (1920); State v. Arpin, 188 Conn. 183, 190-92, 448 A.2d 1334 (1982).

[1 Conn.App. 388] The defendant also claims that the court erred in allowing into evidence the two tapes and recorders which Healy had secreted in New York for approximately six weeks. It is the defendant's claim that the state did not show that they were in substantially the same condition when turned over to the police as they were when Healy removed them from the ceiling of the cablevision company. Physical evidence is admissible if there is a reasonable probability that it has not been changed in any important respect from its original condition. United States v. Albert, 595 F.2d 283, 290 (5th Cir.1979).

There was no abuse of discretion in the admission of this evidence. During the trial, Healy identified the tapes and recorders as being the same ones he had found in the cablevision company's ceiling. The state is not required to prove every circumstance in the chain of custody by producing all persons who were in a position to come into contact with the evidence. State v. Piskorski, 177 Conn. 677, 696-97, 419 A.2d 866, cert. denied, 444 U.S. 935, 100 S.Ct. 283, 62 L.Ed.2d 194 (1979); State v. Chesney, 166 Conn. 630, 638, 353 A.2d 783, cert. denied, 419 U.S. 1004, 95 S.Ct. 324, 42 L.Ed.2d 280 (1974). The trial court, here, considered the nature of the articles and all of the circumstances surrounding their preservation, and its ruling need not be disturbed.


Prior to the testimony of the defendant's former girl friend, the defense subpoenaed her medical records for the years 1978 and 1979 from the Charlotte Hungerford Hospital, which included the records of her treatment in the psychiatric inpatient unit of the hospital. The hospital filed a motion to quash the subpoena, in which the witness joined. Thereupon, the defendant moved for permission to review the records. The court [1 Conn.App. 389] granted the motion to quash the subpoena and denied the defendant's motion to review the records. The court acted pursuant to General Statutes § 52-146e which provides in pertinent part that "no person shall disclose or transmit any ... communications or records where the patient is identifiable, or the substance or any part or parts of any resume thereof, to any person, any corporation or any governmental agency, municipal, state or federal, without the consent of the patient or his authorized representative." 3 The communications and records referred to are the oral and written communications relating to diagnosis or treatment of a mental condition made between the patient and a psychiatrist. General Statutes § 52-146d(2).

The court refused to permit the defendant access to the records and refused to examine them in camera, stating that even an in camera examination would violate the...

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