State v. Santangelo

In State v. Santangelo, 205 Conn. 578, 534 A.2d 1175, 1188 (Conn. 1987) in which the defendant, convicted by a jury, claimed that the trial court committed reversible error by denying his motion for disqualification from the sentencing portion of trial. His motion was based on his claim that the trial judge, prior to the defendant's sentencing, received and read a letter from a detective that "contained unsubstantiated, inflammatory comments and accusations concerning the defendant." Id. "The trial court, on the record, acknowledged receiving and reading the letter but stated that it was 'disregarding all its contents.'" Id. The court found that disqualification was not warranted because the judge "brought the letter he had received to the attention of the defendant and noted that there was no basis for giving its allegations credence." Id. at 1189. The judge "then emphatically and categorically stated that he could, and would, disregard the letter's contents." Id. The court found "no reason to believe that he could not do so, or that a reasonable person would have cause to question his ability to do so." Id.