State v. Delvalle

In State v. Delvalle, 250 Conn. 466, 475, 736 A.2d 125 (1999), the Court rejected the claim that the use of ingenuity of counsel language was violative of a defendant's constitutional right to counsel and to a fair trial or that it was plain error. The Delvalle court reasoned that the Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld similar language on the ground that it did not, when properly considered in the broader context of the trial court's instructions in their entirety, dilute the state's burden of proof or otherwise mislead the jury in any way. . . . In Delvalle, the Court held that "ingenuity of counsel" language in charges on reasonable doubt is improper, but determined that the charge in that case did not warrant a new trial under the circumstances because "the phrase 'not warranted by the evidence' qualifies the 'ingenuity of counsel' language, and renders even more remote any possibility that the jury was misled by the latter phrase." State v. Delvalle, supra, 250 Conn. 475. Although the court in Delvalle rejected the constitutional challenge to the ingenuity of counsel instruction, the court stated that to avoid any possibility of juror confusion arising from the use of the phrase, we invoke our supervisory authority over the administration of justice to direct our trial courts to refrain from using the ingenuity of counsel language in the future. Id., at 475-76.