State v. Artis

Decision Date10 July 2012
Docket NumberNo. 32048.,32048.
Citation136 Conn.App. 568,47 A.3d 419
CourtConnecticut Court of Appeals
PartiesSTATE of Connecticut v. Troy ARTIS.

OPINION TEXT STARTS HERE

Lisa J. Steele, special public defender, for the appellant (defendant).

Laurie N. Feldman, special deputy assistant state's attorney, with whom, on the brief, were Gail P. Hardy, state's attorney, and Anthony Bochicchio, senior assistant state's attorney, for the appellee (state).

LAVINE, BISHOP and PETERS, Js.

BISHOP, J.

The defendant, Troy Artis, appeals from the judgment of conviction, rendered after a jury trial, of accessory to assault in the first degree by means of a dangerous instrument in violation of General Statutes §§ 53a–8 and 53a–59 (a)(1). On appeal, the defendant claims that the trial court (1) improperly denied his postverdict motion for a judgment of acquittal on the ground of insufficient evidence and (2) abused its discretion by denying his motion to suppress.1 We reverse the judgment of the trial court.

Based on the correctly and incorrectly admitted evidence, the jury reasonably could have found the following facts. At approximately 11 p.m. on February 14, 2008, the victim, Alexis Otero, drove some of his friends to Club Blu on Ann Street in Hartford where he was sometimes employed as a bouncer. Approximately half an hour later, Otero walked two blocks from Club Blu to Club NV near the corner of Allyn and High Streets.

On the same evening, Christina Miano also went to Club NV together with her then boyfriend, Robert Acevedo,2 and his sister, Anna Acevedo, and Anna's boyfriend,the defendant. Robert Acevedo drove the four of them to Hartford in his silver Infiniti automobile. At approximately 11 p.m., as the four walked toward Club NV, the defendant, who carried a knife on his belt, asked Robert Acevedo for the keys to the Infiniti so he could put his knife in the automobile before undergoing a security check at Club NV. Miano and Anna Acevedo went on ahead to Club NV, where they socialized apart from the defendant and Robert Acevedo.

Near closing time, Otero, who knew Miano, visited with her for several minutes. At the time, he did not know that Miano had arrived with Robert Acevedo, whom he did not know. Otero routinely photographed people at nightclubs for a radio station website, and that night he took a photograph of Miano and Anna Acevedo.3

At closing time, Otero left Club NV to return to Club Blu. Miano left Club NV at approximately the same time and got into the Infiniti with Robert Acevedo and Anna Acevedo. She sat in the front seat next to Robert Acevedo as the three, uncertain of the defendant's whereabouts, waited for him to join them. Miano saw Otero and beckoned for him to come speak with her, which he did. Once the conversation was over, as Otero crossed High Street on his way to Club Blu, Robert Acevedo drove the Infiniti straight toward him. Otero jumped onto the sidewalk and yelled an obscenity at Robert Acevedo, who apologized. According to Miano, Robert Acevedo thought that Otero had “disrespect[ed] him by talking with her.

Shortly thereafter, the defendant opened the rear passenger door of the Infiniti from the outside, entered the automobile briefly and quickly exited to confront Otero. The defendant and Otero exchanged profanities, and the defendant then punched Otero in the face and shoulder as the two men engaged in a face-to-face fistfight that lasted somewhere between two and ten seconds. Seconds after the fistfight commenced, Robert Acevedo and Anna Acevedo got out of the Infiniti and approached the defendant and Otero. Otero was then struck from behind, causing him to fall to the sidewalk. While he was on the sidewalk, Otero was on all fours covering his head. For approximately ten to twenty seconds, he felt three or four people assault him from different directions. Miano got out of the automobile when she saw Robert Acevedo, Anna Acevedo and the defendant all crowded around Otero while he was on the ground; Miano was unsure as to what they were doing. Miano then “grabbed Anna off” Otero, and the two women began to argue. During the assault on Otero, Miano did not see a weapon or a knife. At some point, she dropped her cell phone.

As Hector Robles, a Hartford police officer, walked toward the group of people surrounding Otero, others on the street called out, “cops....” The fight broke up and the crowd dispersed.4 The defendant, Miano, Robert Acevedo and Anna Acevedo got into the Infiniti and drove away. Anna Acevedo continued to express displeasure with Miano and wanted to fight her.5 Robert Acevedo instructed the two women to stop, and he took Miano to her mother's home in order to separate the two women. According to Miano, while they were driving from the scene, Anna Acevedo asked the defendant, “where'd that blood come from?” Miano stated that she never looked at the defendant again after he got back into the automobile.6 Later, another police officer found blood splattered on the sidewalk.

When Otero got up from the sidewalk, the Infiniti was gone. He saw a cell phone and put it in his pocket. He also saw that his hand was bleeding heavily. He walked to Club Blu where he knew he would find a police officer and familiar people to help him. Jessie Rego, who was working at the door of Club Blu, observed that the cut in Otero's thumb was so deep that he could see the bone. Rego also saw blood coming from Otero's stomach. A police officer found a trail of blood between Club NV and Club Blu.

Otero was transported by ambulance to Hartford Hospital (hospital). Although Otero has no recollection of being transported to or arriving at the hospital, he remembers going into an operating room, where he was treated for seven puncture wounds to his torso, arms and hand. Twenty sutures and fifty staples were required to close Otero's wounds. As a result of his injuries, Otero is no longer able to exercise as he once did, and walking is difficult due to an injury he sustained to his knee.

Although Otero has no recollection of talking to a police officer at the hospital, he was, in fact, interviewed by Sergeant Jeff Rousseau soon after arriving at the hospital. Rousseau testified that Otero told him that his assailants, two men and a woman, were in a newer gray Infiniti. He described both men as light-skinned black males, approximately twenty-seven to twenty-eight years old. The stockier of the two men had freckles on his face. According to Rousseau, Otero was not sure that he could identify the perpetrators, but he did not rule out identification. Otero gave Rousseau Miano's cell phone.

The defendant was arrested pursuant to a warrant 7 and subsequently was charged with assault in the first degree while aided by two or more persons in violation of General Statutes § 53a–59 (a)(4), conspiracy to commit assault in the first degree while aided by two or more persons in violation of General Statutes §§ 53a–48 and 53a–59 (a)(4), accessory to assault in the first degree in violation of §§ 53a–8 and 53a–59 (a)(1), and conspiracy to commit assault in the first degree with a dangerous instrument in violation of §§ 53a–48 and 53a–59 (a)(1).

During trial, the defendant filed a motion to suppress Otero's out-of-court identification and to prevent any in-court identifications on the basis of his claim that the out-of-court identification was unnecessarily suggestive, and that any subsequent in-court identification would be tainted by the improper out-of-court identification and would thus lack an independent basis. During trial, after an evidentiary hearing outside the presence of the jury, the court denied the defendant's motion in this regard, finding that although the initial identification was unnecessarily suggestive, it and the subsequent in-court identifications were reliable. At the close of the evidence, the court granted the defendant's motion for a judgment of acquittal as to the charge of assault in the first degree while aided by two or more persons. The jury found the defendant guilty of accessory to assault in the first degree by means of a dangerous instrument and not guilty of the two conspiracy charges. The court thereafter sentenced the defendant to nine years incarceration, to run concurrent with the time remaining on a preexisting sentence, followed by eight years of special parole. The defendant appealed from the judgment of conviction. Additional facts will be set forth as necessary.

I

The defendant's first claim is that the court improperly denied his motion for a judgment of acquittal after the verdict, as there was insufficient evidence that he intended to cause Otero serious physical injury or knew that anyone involved in the altercation was armed with, or used, a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument.8 We disagree.

Count two of the amended substitute information alleges, in relevant part, that the state accuses the defendant “of accessory to assault in the first degree, and charges that on or about February 15, 2008 ... [the defendant] with intent to cause serious physical injury to another person by means of a dangerous instrument, did intentionally aid another who caused such injury to such person ... in violation of Sections 53a–8 and 53a–59 (a)(1)....” 9 Following the presentation of evidence, the defendant orally moved for a judgment of acquittal as to all counts. The court denied the motion as to count two, among others, and the jury found the defendant guilty of accessory to assault in the first degree by means of a dangerous instrument. Subsequently, on November 2, 2009, the defendant filed a motion for a judgment of acquittal, which the court denied on January 7, 2010.

In denying the defendant's postverdict motion for a judgment of acquittal, the court stated: “On the basis of all the evidence presented at trial and the logical inferences that can be drawn therefrom, it is my assessment that the jury reasonably could and did conclude that all of the elements of accessory to...

To continue reading

Request your trial
9 cases
  • State v. Salmond
    • United States
    • Connecticut Court of Appeals
    • February 13, 2018
    ...implicates factors that relate to the [witness'] condition at the time as well as the external environment." State v. Artis , 136 Conn. App. 568, 595, 47 A.3d 419 (2012), rev'd on other grounds, 314 Conn. 131, 101 A.3d 915 (2014). Jackson was an eyewitness to the crime. As the trial court e......
  • State v. White
    • United States
    • Connecticut Court of Appeals
    • September 20, 2022
    ...of State v. Pond , supra, 315 Conn. 451, 108 A.3d 1083, State v. Gonzalez , supra, 300 Conn. 490, 15 A.3d 1049,5 and State v. Artis , 136 Conn. App. 568, 47 A.3d 419 (2012), rev'd on other grounds, 314 Conn. 131, 101 A.3d 915 (2014). In so ruling, the court observed that Pond distinguished ......
  • State v. Williams
    • United States
    • Connecticut Court of Appeals
    • September 24, 2013
    ...at the time, were the law in Connecticut. But see footnote 1 of this opinion. 20. See State v. Artis, 136 Conn.App. 568, 626 n. 7, 47 A.3d 419 ( Lavine, J., concurring in part and dissenting in part) (“Eyewitness Identification Task Force, state of Connecticut, Report Pursuant to Public Act......
  • State v. Artis
    • United States
    • Connecticut Supreme Court
    • October 21, 2014
    ...his motion to suppress Otero's out-of-court and in-court identifications of the defendant as one of his assailants. State v. Artis, 136 Conn.App. 568, 585, 47 A.3d 419 (2012). The Appellate Court, with one judge dissenting in part, agreed with the defendant, concluding that the trial court'......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
1 books & journal articles
  • 2012 Connecticut Appellate Review
    • United States
    • Connecticut Bar Association Connecticut Bar Journal No. 87, 2013
    • Invalid date
    ...login name— 'smoothcriminal 77"—(referring to a Michael Jackson song) was general character evidence that was not admissible. [142] 136 Conn.App. 568, 47 A.3d 419, cert, granted, 307 Conn. 909, 53 A.3d 999 (2012). [143] 185 Conn. 402, 441 A.2d 119 (1981). [144] 136 Conn.App. at 617, 47 A.3d......

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT