State v. Wragg

In State v. Wragg, 61 Conn. App. 394, 399, 764 A.2d 216 (2001), the Court discussed sua sponte jury instructions. The Court concluded that: "When opposing counsel does not object to evidence, it is inappropriate for the trial court to assume the role of advocate and decide that the evidence should be stricken. . . . The court cannot determine if counsel has elected not to object to the evidence for strategy reasons. Experienced litigators utilize the trial technique of not objecting to inadmissible evidence to avoid highlighting it in the minds of the jury. Such court involvement might interfere with defense counsel's tactical decision to avoid highlighting the testimony. When subsequent events reveal that it was an imprudent choice, however, the defendant is not entitled to turn the clock back and have the appellate court reverse the judgment because the trial court did not, sua sponte, strike the testimony and give the jury a cautionary instruction. No limiting instruction was given at the time of the offending remark and none was required because none was requested." Id.