State v. Slimskey

In State v. Slimskey, 257 Conn. 842, 858-59, 779 A.2d 723 (2001) the Court set forth considerations that led them to the conclusion that a constitutional violation had occurred in the failure to relinquish psychiatric records to a defendant for impeachment purposes. Chief among these was the observation that the withheld material was "relevant to and probative of the complainant's ability to comprehend, to know and to relate the truth, and as a consequence, the defendant had no opportunity to elicit such evidence," which, with proper trial court action, would have been elicited on cross-examination. Id. The withheld material in the case before us plainly implicates the complainant's faculties of memory. This material, as in Slimskey, is "especially probative" and there was "no other available means of inquiry" into the deficiencies in reliability that this impeachment material raises. As a result, a constitutional violation has occurred and the state bears the burden to establish that the violation was harmless beyond any reasonable doubt. Id., at 859. The Slimskey court considered several factors in determining that a constitutional error in failing to release psychiatric records was not harmless in that case.