In re Josiah D.


**************************************************************** The ‘‘officially released’’ date that appears near the beginning of this opinion is the date the opinion was released as a slip opinion. The operative date for the beginning of all time periods for filing postopinion motions and petitions for certification is the ‘‘officially released’’ date appearing in the opinion. This opinion is subject to revisions and editorial changes, not of a substantive nature, and corrections of a technical nature prior to publication in the Connecticut Law Journal. **************************************************************** IN RE JOSIAH D. ET AL.* (AC 44096) Bright, C. J., and Lavine and Elgo, Js.** Syllabus The respondent father appealed from the judgments of the trial court termi- nating his parental rights with respect to his two minor children. He claimed that the court committed reversible error by failing to notify him that it would be drawing an adverse inference from his decision not to testify, and that this court should exercise its supervisory authority over the administration of justice to adopt an advisement requiring the trial court to affirmatively notify him that it would be drawing an adverse inference upon his decision not to testify. Held: 1. The trial court properly notified the respondent father that it may draw an adverse inference from his decision not to testify: prior to the presen- tation of evidence, the court notified the father of his rights pursuant to In re Yasiel R. (317 Conn. 794), which included the right to remain silent and the notice required to a parent under the applicable rule of practice (§ 35a-7A), that the judicial authority may draw an adverse inference from his failure to testify, which was entirely consistent with the holding of our Supreme Court that the notice be given at the very start of the termination trial, before a decision as to whether to challenge evidence has been communicated to the court, and to all parents involved in a termination trial, not just to those parents whose attorneys have made a tactical decision not to contest evidence; moreover, contrary to the father’s claim, § 35a-7A does not require a second notice to the parent that the court would be drawing an adverse inference from a parent’s failure to testify, as the rule itself provides notice to a parent that the court may draw an adverse inference, and a notice provided at the start of the trial is the least coercive manner of advising a parent of his or her right to remain silent and the possible consequences of doing so; furthermore, even if it were assumed that the court was required to affirmatively notify the father that it would be drawing an adverse infer- ence from his failure to testify, the notice given at the beginning of the termination trial was proper, and any impropriety was harmless in light of the court’s detailed findings of fact in its memorandum of decision and its subsequent articulation, which dispelled any notion that the court’s drawing of an adverse inference from the father’s decision not to …

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