State v. Stewart

In State v. Stewart, 64 Conn. App. 340, 349-50, 780 A.2d 209, cert. denied, 258 Conn. 909, 782 A.2d 1250 (2001), the Court recognized a distinction between matters of trial strategy, for which counsel has ultimate responsibility, and decisions concerning "'inherently personal rights of fundamental importance to the defendant . . . .'" Id., 353. "It is . . . recognized that the accused has the ultimate authority to make certain fundamental decisions regarding the case, as to whether to plead guilty, waive a jury, testify in his or her own behalf, or take an appeal . . . . However, once counsel is appointed, the day-to-day conduct of the defense rests with the attorney. He, not the client, has the immediate--and ultimate--responsibility of deciding if and when to object, which witnesses, if any to call, and what defenses to develop. Not only do these decisions rest with the attorney, but such decisions must, as a practical matter, be made without consulting the client." Id., 352. The Court recognized, nevertheless, that even after a defendant has retained counsel, the defendant, rather than counsel, retains the ultimate responsibility and power to exercise certain inherently personal rights.