Richard Emanuel

Richard Emanuel

New Haven, Connecticut

Richard's practice focuses on civil and criminal appeals in state and federal court. He is widely considered one of Connecticut's most experienced and effective appellate lawyers. He has briefed and argued over one hundred appeals in the Connecticut Supreme Court and Connecticut Appellate Court, and has argued appeals in the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. He has worked on many complex and challenging issues, involving search and seizure, state constitutional law, Internet sting operations, and the death penalty. For several years, Richard has been listed in The Best Lawyers in America® in Appellate Law and listed by Connecticut Magazine as a Connecticut Super Lawyer® and New England Super Lawyer® in the field of Appellate Law from 2007 to 2015.

Richard Emanuel graduated from the University of Connecticut (B.A. 1967) and George Washington University Law School (J.D. 1970). During law school he worked part-time as a legislative assistant in the D.C. office of a Connecticut Congressman. Upon returning to Connecticut in 1970, Richard's first position as a new lawyer was manning a storefront neighborhood legal services office in Bridgeport. Two years later he joined the Connecticut public defender's office, and worked in the trial court (G.A. 6, now G.A. 23) for five years.

In 1977 the Connecticut public defender system established an Office of Legal Services to handle criminal appeals. Jerrold H. Barnett, a brilliant lawyer and later a Superior Court Judge, headed the office and hired Richard as his first staff member. Under Jerry Barnett's guidance, Richard fell in love with the appeals process - a chance to put the trial "on trial." Ultimately, Richard worked in the appellate unit for fifteen years. Since 1998 he has maintained a private practice in appellate law.

Richard is a member of the Executive Committee of the Connecticut Criminal Defense Lawyers Association (CCDLA). In 1992 he was a co-winner of the David H. Neiditz Professional Writing Award for submitting the best-written appellate brief in a Connecticut case. In 1998 he received the Pro Bono Award from the Connecticut Law Tribune for his work on behalf of Lawrence J. Miller, who spent more than twelve years in prison before being exonerated. In 2002 Richard received the CCDLA's Champion of Liberty award for his career achievements.

A few examples of Richard's cases include:

  • State v. Toste, 178 Conn. 626 (1979) (murder conviction reversed where trial court erred in its instructions on the insanity defense)
  • State v. Krajger, 182 Conn. 497 (1980) (murder conviction reversed where trial court failed to suppress evidence obtained in violation of Miranda)
  • State v. Carter, 182 Conn. 580 (1980) (murder conviction reversed where trial court failed to instruct jury that "no unfavorable inferences" could be drawn from the defendant's failure to testify)
  • State v. Marsala, 216 Conn. 150 (1990) (Connecticut Supreme Court refused to adopt the federal "good faith" exception to the exclusionary rule, thereby affirming that a search warrant may not be issued unless it satisfies the "probable cause" standard mandated by the state constitution)
  • State v. Geisler, 222 Conn. 672 (1992) (Connecticut Supreme Court prescribed a six-part test for evaluating state constitutional claims; and adopted a stricter standard, under the state constitution, with respect to the suppression of evidence derived from an unlawful warrantless entry into a home)
  • Miller v. Commissioner of Correction, 242 Conn. 745 (1997) (adopting the standard for proving "actual innocence" in a habeas corpus proceeding, and affirming the trial court's ruling that the petitioner was entitled to a new trial on the grounds of "actual innocence")
  • State v. Johnson, 253 Conn. 1 (2000) (reversing death sentence of a man convicted of murdering a Connecticut state trooper, where there was insufficient evidence to prove an "aggravating factor")

Richard has helped train future appellate lawyers, serving as an adjunct faculty member and co-instructor in the appellate clinic at the University of Connecticut School of Law (1981-83). He also served on the adjunct faculty at Quinnipiac University School of Law (1995-97), where he supervised the appellate clinic sponsored by the public defender system. He has frequently participated as a speaker or panelist at seminars sponsored by the Connecticut Bar Association, the Connecticut Division of Public Defender Services, and the Connecticut Trial Lawyers Association. He is a co-author of the 1992 supplement to the Connecticut Criminal Case law Handbook.

Richard lives with his wife in Guilford, Connecticut.

Areas of Practice

  • Civil
  • Criminal Appeals

Bar Admissions

  • Connecticut, 1970
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 2nd Circuit


  • George Washington University Law School, Washington, District of Columbia
    • J.D. - 1970
  • University of Connecticut
    • B.A. - 1967

Published Works

  • Co-Author, Connecticut Criminal Caselaw Handbook, 1992


  • Faculty Member and Co-Instructor, University of Connecticut School of Law, 1981 - 1983
  • Adjunct Faculty, Quinnipiac University School of Law, 1995 - 1997

Honors and Awards

Emanuel, Richard

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • Connecticut Criminal Defense Lawyers Association (CCDLA), Member, Executive Committee

Past Employment Positions

  • D.C. Office of a Connecticut Congressman, Legislative Assistant

Pro Bono Activities

  • Connecticut Law Tribune
  • Supervisor, Appellate Clinic Sponsored by the Public Defender System