State v. Heinz

In State v. Heinz, 3 Conn. App. 80, 86, 485 A.2d 1321 (1984) the Court stated: "The jury may, without the aid of expert testimony, use the consumption of alcohol as a basis on which to infer impairment of ability to observe and recall accurately." In Heinz, the trial court allowed the defendant to cross-examine two witnesses regarding the fact that they had consumed several beers on the night that they had made their observations. The trial court, however, precluded the defendant from cross-examining the witnesses regarding "the effect of this consumption of alcohol on their abilities to recall what they observed that night." Id., 84-85. In that case, we stated that "the confrontation clause does not require that the defendant be permitted also to elicit from the officers the opinion that consumption of alcohol during and after observing something can affect one's ability accurately to observe and later recall what one observed." Id., 86. Nevertheless, we held that the trial court in Heinz abused its discretion by setting a limit on the defendant's ability to cross-examine the witnesses on the issue of credibility as it related to their ability to observe and recall accurately the details of their observations. Id., 87-89.