State Supreme Court Unanimously Tosses Newton Conviction On Campaign Finance Charges

Ernie Newton
Ernie Newton wins appeal

Ruling “it is reasonably possible that the jury was misled” about Ernie Newton’s intent, the Connecticut Supreme Court on Friday unanimously threw out his January 2015 conviction on campaign finance charges stemming from his 2012 run for State Senate. The justices ordered a new trial, but will state prosecutors pursue one? See Supreme Court decision here. Newton is a member of the City Council.

“I thank God and am grateful that the Supreme Court saw what the jury didn’t see that it should have been a civil case from day one,” Newton told OIB Friday afternoon. “I’m grateful that we won.”

Newton received a mixed verdict from a jury on charges of falsifying $500 in campaign donations that led to approval of roughly $80,000 in public campaign funds for his 2012 Democratic State Senate primary race won by Andres Ayala. Newton was accused of prevailing upon individuals to falsely fill out contribution cards to the campaign so the public grant could be met.

Under the state program campaigns must raise $15,000 in small donations to trigger a larger public grant. The same jury acquitted Newton of witness tampering and could not reach a verdict on other counts of campaign finance law violations.

Many court observers believed the state’s case against Newton was thin. Newton and his lawyer Darnell Crosland argued similar matters have been handled civilly.

Noting Newton received no personal financial benefit, Superior Court Judge Julia Dewey sentenced Newton to just six months in state prison for violating campaign finance laws. Dewey allowed Newton to remain free pending appeal.

The 2012 primary race was a comeback attempt for Newton who had been convicted on public corruption charges in 2005 as a sitting state senator. After several years in federal prison he returned to Bridgeport in an attempt to regain his old state senate seat. He lost a close primary to Ayala.

From the Supreme Court decision:

In the present case, the instruction that the trial court gave, which is set forth in part I of this opinion, only requires knowledge of the falsity of the payment and not knowledge that the defendant’s own conduct was unlawful–that is to say, with a bad purpose to disobey or disregard the law. The jury, therefore, was not properly instructed regarding the applicable mens rea for the crime of illegal practices in campaign financing, and we conclude that it is reasonably possible that the jury was misled. Moreover, because the incorrect instruction pertains to an element of the offense, and because there is no evidence in the record that the omitted element was uncontested, harmless error analysis does not apply.11 See, e.g., Epps v. Commissioner of Correction, 327 Conn. 482, 485 n.4, 175 A.3d 558 (2018) (reviewing court applies harmless error review for instruction improperly omitting element of offense only if court is satisfied “beyond a reasonable doubt that the omitted element was uncontested and supported by overwhelming evidence, such that the jury verdict would have been the same absent the error” [emphasis altered; internal quotation marks omitted]).

The judgment is reversed and the case is remanded for a new trial.

Will state prosecutors pursue it after all this time? Public defender Mark Rademacher who handled the appeal for Newton told the Connecticut Post, “Are they going to go back, present the case and hope for a better result? That sounds foolish and a waste of time and money. They had one good shot and didn’t convict him of all those felonies.”



  1. Congratulations Brother Newton on this victory, but you always told me that you would win this because it was wrong, immoral and unjust. It’s hard damn work being Black in America isn’t it brother? America, separate and unjust.

  2. So much for Connecticut “Justice”. So now it’s all about “intent”.

    The next time that I get a speeding ticket, I should use that one and tell the officer that I did not “intend” to drive faster than the speed limit !!!

    And the next time that I get caught robbing a bank, I will tell the court that my “intent” was just to borrow the money and then anonymously drop it off at the deposit box later down the line.

  3. Well, well, well. You thought he was going to jail for shit white people don’t even go to court for, is that right? It’s amazing how the system of Jurisprudence is broken when it benefits Black people, but a valued system when it works for white people.

    1. Some people think Donald Day suffers from “irrational anger”. That’s the condition that occurs when beneficiaries of America’s greatness see their friends liberated by American jurisprudence yet feel still victimized. All this happens while the victim drives a foreign luxury sedan, produced by the whitest country on the planet.

      1. According to President 45 that you and the other white male Republicans are the real victim in America. Your president brags about not paying his taxes and we all know that it’s ok to grab a woman by her pussy because 45 said that’s what he does.

        Here in Bridgeport from Isaac Sherman, Jr. the Bridgeport 1836-1837 until today every mayor has been a white male except one Mary C. Moran
        1990-1992 a Republican woman, there has never been a black or Hispanic mayor in Bridgeport but you and other white men in Bridgeport are victims.

        1. More black bull shit from the resident black,Why hasn’t there been a black or Hispanic mayor/Thats easy to answer. the blacks and Hispanics are to busy playing macho games like mine iss biggerr than yours. Losers the whole bunch of them

          1. *** Your the big winner in Bpt. Raggedy andy, always throwing stones from your dusty glass-house. What have you done in your great life-time so wonderful besize crying the blues & pointing the finger? Zero, Nada, Zip, Nothing thats what. *** *

  4. Paul, in the interest of transparency I own two Mercedes Benz and I’m loving them. That’s part of the problem with white America, where you need to portray an outspoken Black man as angry. Don’t confuse a social conscience with anger. Paul, and if I was angry,every time I find my blackness questioned and being placed below “whiteness”, I strongly believe that my anger would be vindicated.

    In the interest of transparency are you drinking this early?

      1. I believe in the rule of law. Always have and sometimes don’t agree with some BUT….. unless someone shows that the court was influenced or corrupt… then we all have to accept that the prosecution either had it wrong or didn’t do a good job OR Ernie did not in fact break the law. In the meantime….cheers Ernie. Let’s move on.


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