In re Juvenile Appeal (Docket No. 10155)

In In re Juvenile Appeal (Docket No. 10155), 187 Conn. 431, 446 A.2d 808, 812 (Conn. 1982) , the incarcerated father testified from prison relating to the termination of his parental rights. The father argued that the trial court erred because it could not assess his demeanor while testifying. Id. The Supreme Court of Connecticut concluded that: "We cannot, however, say that the lack of a visual image seriously disadvantaged the trial court in making its determination. The referee heard the father's testimony directly and took the opportunity to ask several questions of his own. On this record, limiting the opportunity to assess the father's demeanor to its auditory component seems to us to entail only the most marginal risk that the referee would be misled in evaluating the father's credibility." Id. The Court permitted the incarcerated father to obtain the complete transcript, including his counsel's cross-examination of the maternal grandmother. The father argued that because the court denied his motion for continuance until he could be present at the TPR hearing, this weakened the effectiveness of the cross-examination. Id. The Supreme Court of Connecticut concluded that the father was offered the opportunity to defer cross-examination entirely until the father reviewed the transcript, but he decided against this. Id. Moreover, the cross-examination was not defective or incomplete. Id. Thus, the trial court did not err. Id. at 815.