Nweeia v. Nweeia
Connecticut Code of Evidence §4-2 provides that "[e]vidence that is not relevant is inadmissible" and, here, the issue presented by the court's refusal to permit the plaintiff from calling her child as a rebuttal witness to read for the court, was not one of due process but of relevance, where the question for the court to determine was which of two schools could better address the child's educational needs and the proffered evidence was found not probative of the central issue in the case. The plaintiff, Kristen Nweeia, appealed from the trial court's judgment granting the post dissolution motions of the defendant, Martin Nweeia, awarding the defendant sole legal custody of the parties' minor child and modifying their custody plan. On appeal, the plaintiff claimed that the court erred by concluding that her relocation within the state constituted a material change of circumstances and improperly precluded her from calling the child as a rebuttal witness. The Appellate Court affirmed the judgment. Review of the plaintiff's first claim was declined as it was unpreserved and inconsistent with the plaintiff's theory at trial. For the second claim, the plaintiff argued that the court misconstrued the law and violated the rules of practice and her statutory and due process rights to call the child to testify. However, the proffer of the child's reading to the court did not present a complicated legal decision. It was basic to the admission of all evidence: was the evidence relevant. The question for the court to determine was which of two schools could better address the child's educational needs. It was undisputed that the child had educational disabilities and did not read at grade level. The court found the child's ability to read had little probative value as to which of the two schools could better meet her needs. Given the court's conclusion that the proffered evidence would not aid it in deciding which school would better meet the child's educational needs, the court did not abuse its discretion by precluding the plaintiff from calling the child as a rebuttal witness.