State v. Dahlgren

Decision Date22 July 1986
Citation200 Conn. 586,512 A.2d 906
PartiesSTATE of Connecticut v. Kevin DAHLGREN. STATE of Connecticut v. James OLDREAD.
CourtConnecticut Supreme Court

G. Douglas Nash, Asst. Public Defender, with whom, on brief, was Joette Katz, Public Defender, for appellants (defendant in each case).

Eric I.B. Beller, Sp. Asst. State's Atty., with whom were John M. Massameno, Asst. State's Atty., and, on brief, Eugene J. Callahan, State's Attorney, for appellee (State).

Before PETERS, C.J., and HEALEY, SHEA, DANNEHY and SANTANIELLO, JJ.

ARTHUR H. HEALEY, Justice.

The defendants, Kevin Dahlgren and James Oldread, were jointly tried before a jury on various charges arising out of the abduction of an eighteen year old woman in Norwalk on November 14, 1981. 1 Both defendants were found guilty of larceny in the third degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-124 and larceny in the first degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-119. The defendant Dahlgren was also found guilty of kidnapping in the first degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-92(a)(2)(A), and the defendant Oldread was found guilty of the lesser included offense of kidnapping in the second degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-94(a). 2 Both defendants were sentenced to the custody of the commissioner of correction for an effective term of twelve years. The defendants appeal the judgments of conviction.

The defendants raise two of the same issues on appeal: (1) whether the trial court's instructions on kidnapping in the first degree effectively enlarged the crime charged in violation of their constitutional rights; and (2) whether the trial court's ruling on certain questions to be put to prospective jurors prior to the jury voir dire violated the defendants' statutory or constitutional rights. The defendant Dahlgren also raises as an issue on appeal whether the court's instructions to the jury on intent to violate and abuse sexually, as an element of kidnapping in the first degree, effectively directed a verdict of guilty in violation of his constitutional rights. We find no error.

The jury could have reasonably found the following facts: On Friday night, November 13, 1981, the victim D and her friend C arrived at the Oaks Tavern in Norwalk in C's two door 1977 Pontiac Trans Am. While there, C met the defendants and spoke with both of them. At closing time, around 2 a.m., D left the tavern and joined C at her car in the parking lot. C was talking to the defendants and a male friend, and D was then introduced to the defendants for the first time. After talking for a while, the defendants asked for a ride to their car which was allegedly parked on a nearby street. The five people got into the car and C drove to the nearby street but they were unable to find the defendants' car. C then drove to the male friend's house in Norwalk and dropped him off. When C remarked about their inability to find the defendants' car, Dahlgren grabbed her around the neck. C then drove D to her home but D did not want the defendants near her home and suggested that C drive them to their car near the tavern. On their way back to the tavern, C stopped at a parking lot at Norwalk State Technical College. C got out of the car and proceeded to the nearby woods in order to relieve herself. Dahlgren, who had been in the back seat with D, got out of the car and began following C. He returned, however, to the car, got into the driver's seat, and drove out of the parking lot. D was alone in the back seat of the two door car and Oldread was in the front passenger seat. Dahlgren was driving in an erratic manner and D attempted to stop the car by reaching for the key in the ignition and by trying to push the stick shift into park. Oldread, however, pushed her into the back seat. D then threatened him by holding a bottle over his head and he punched her in the face, causing a black eye and a bloody nose. C, who had seen the defendant drive her car out of the parking lot, walked to the street looking for a telephone when a police officer in a squad car stopped, and she reported that her car had been taken.

Dahlgren drove onto Interstate 95 heading for New York. D continued to struggle but was hit several times. When she asked why the defendants had taken her, Oldread replied that they wanted "to party" and one stated that it was "because of [her] body." Oldread then took sixty dollars from D's wallet. Sometime after the car had passed Stamford, D fell asleep in the back seat.

When D awoke, Oldread was now driving on a highway D did not recognize and Dahlgren was in the front passenger seat. Dahlgren climbed into the back seat, ordered D to remove her clothing, and sexually assaulted her twice. They stopped at least twice for gas before reaching Buffalo, New York, where they went to various places, including the homes of the defendants' friends. At each location where they stopped, at least one of the defendants remained with D in order to prevent her escape. The defendants then drove D to the airport where they bought her an airplane ticket to New York City. After they had left D at the airport, the defendants drove the car over a curb and when they were unable to unjam the gears, they abandoned the car at a gas station. As soon as the defendants left her to board the plane, she located a police officer and reported that she had been kidnapped and that her friend's car had been stolen. After arriving at LaGuardia Airport, where she was met by her father and a police officer, she was immediately taken to Norwalk Hospital for examination and treatment.

I

Both the defendants claim that, because of the crime charged in the amended information and specified in the bill of particulars, the trial court's instructions on kidnapping in the first and second degrees effectively enlarged the crime charged in violation of their constitutional rights. Under General Statutes § 53a-91(2), abduct "means to restrain a person with intent to prevent his liberation by either (a) secreting or holding him in a place where he is not likely to be found, or (b) using or threatening to use physical force or intimidation." By an amended motion for a bill of particulars, Dahlgren had asked, inter alia, for additional information concerning the nature of the abduction. The state complied and stated that the abduction was accomplished by "using physical force or intimidation" and the means of restraint was by "moving her from one place to another." The defendants claim that their defense focused on the allegations charged in the amended bill of particulars and that if they had been charged with both alternative definitions of "abduct," as that term is set out in General Statutes § 53a-91, they would have presented "a different and more extensive defense." The substitute information filed in each case and dated October 4, 1982, stated that the defendant "did abduct one [D] by restraining her or by moving her from one place to another with intent to prevent her liberation by using physical force or intimidation, with intent to violate and abuse her sexually in violation of section 53a-92(a)(2)(A) of the Connecticut General Statutes." (Emphasis added.)

The trial court included both of the statutory alternative definitions of abduction and restraint in its original instructions to the jury on the elements of kidnapping in the first degree. At the conclusion of the jury instructions, the defendant Dahlgren, joined by the defendant Oldread, excepted to the court's inclusion of the alternative definitions of restraint and abduction. 3 After the defendant Dahlgren had finished stating his sixteen exceptions, which the defendant Oldread adopted, but before the jury returned to the courtroom, the trial court sought to clarify the defendants' request to charge on restraint. Dahlgren's counsel agreed that the manner of restraint alleged in the bill of particulars was that the victim had been moved from place to place. Before the jury had begun any deliberations, the trial court reinstructed them pursuant to the defendants' exception that they were only to consider whether restraint had been accomplished by moving D from one place to another and that they were not to "seek out, through the evidence, any basis to find that she was concealed anywhere." 4 The court made it clear to the jury that the state had made an election, in response to a defense motion, that insofar as the abduction and restraint aspect of the kidnapping charge was concerned, the charge had been limited to "moving [the victim D] from one place to another" and not to "confining her...." The defendants did not except to this revised instruction which apparently satisfied them. The revised instruction cured any error that may have resulted from the initial instructions on the definitions of restraint and abduction applicable to the facts of this case.

During deliberations, the jury submitted a question 5 to the trial court which requested guidance on when the intent for kidnapping in the first degree must occur and inquired about the liability of another who was present but who had not prevented the sexual abuse from occurring. In order to respond to the question, the trial court reinstructed the jury on the elements of kidnapping in the first degree and, in doing so, the court read, as in its original instructions, the alternative statutory definitions of "abduct" and "restraint" several times. Later in these instructions, however, the trial court specifically reminded the jury that, although abduction may be accomplished in "two manners," for the purposes of this case, "you recall we're limiting it to one [of the statutory alternatives]." The trial court, in discussing the element of lack of consent, remarked that if the defendant had accomplished restraint of the victim by moving her from place to place by physical force or intimidation, then proof of actual lack of consent would have...

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41 cases
  • State v. Edwards
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    ...in conducting the voir dire. Ristaino v. Ross, 424 U.S. 589, 594-95, 96 S.Ct. 1017, 1020, 47 L.Ed.2d 258 (1976); State v. Dahlgren, 200 Conn. 586, 601, 512 A.2d 906 (1986). the "extent to which parties may go in such an examination rests largely in the discretion of the court, and the exerc......
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    ...error unless it has clearly been abused or harmful prejudice appears to have resulted." (Citations omitted.) State v. Dahlgren , 200 Conn. 586, 601, 512 A.2d 906 (1986).Our analysis must focus on "the scope of the trial court's ruling, i.e., what specific question or questions actually were......
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    ...unless the court has clearly abused its discretion or it appears that prejudice to one of the parties has resulted. State v. Dahlgren, 200 Conn. 586, 601, 512 A.2d 906 (1986); State v. Rogers, 197 Conn. 314, 318, 497 A.2d 387 In this case the court sustained the state's objection to the que......
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2 books & journal articles
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