State v. Comollo
As expressed in the 2012 Connecticut Appellate Court decision in State v. Doyle, "when a question of fact is essential to the outcome of a particular legal determination that implicates a defendant's constitutional rights…[the Appellate Court's] customary deference to the trial court's factual findings is tempered by a scrupulous examination of the record to ascertain that the trial court's factual findings are supported by substantial evidence." The trial court included the following facts. The Hartford police department conducted a roadside sobriety checkpoint in accordance with its operational plan which detailed that officers were to be dressed in full uniform and to place signs to notify motorists of the checkpoint in advance, allowing them to avoid it through an alternate route. The department's unwritten policy and custom is to notify the public 24 to 48 hours in advance of the location and time of the checkpoint. A press release issued about the challenged checkpoint 52 hours prior to its operation. Richard Comollo drove through the sobriety checkpoint and was arrested. The trial court denied his motion to suppress evidence obtained during the stop of his vehicle. Comollo entered a conditional plea of nolo contendere to the charge of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs. He appealed claiming that the trial court improperly denied his motion to suppress evidence obtained in violation of article first, §7 and §9 of the Connecticut constitution. He contended that the Hartford police department's operational plan for implementing the sobriety checkpoint at which he was arrested was not substantially similar to written sobriety checkpoint guidelines utilized by the state police, which were approved by the Appellate Court in its 1996 decision in State v. Boisvert. The Appellate Court affirmed the judgment. After a scrupulous examination of the record, the Appellate Court concluded that the facts found by the trial court were supported by substantial evidence. The trial court's legal conclusions were found supported by the facts and were legally and logically correct. The lower court's decision was adopted as a proper statement of the relevant facts, issues and applicable law. No further discussion was found necessary.