State v. Dennis

CourtSupreme Court of Connecticut
Writing for the CourtBefore BALDWIN; BALDWIN; KING
Citation188 A.2d 65,150 Conn. 245
PartiesSTATE of Connecticut v. Charles P. DENNIS. Supreme Court of Errors of Connecticut
Decision Date15 January 1963

Page 65

188 A.2d 65
150 Conn. 245
STATE of Connecticut
v.
Charles P. DENNIS.
Supreme Court of Errors of Connecticut.
Jan. 15, 1963.

George R. Tiernan, Asst. State's Atty., with whom, on the brief, was Arthur T. Gorman, State's Atty., for appellant (state).

[150 Conn. 246] Edward B. Winnick, New Haven, with whom were Arnold M. Potash and, on the brief, Alexander Winnick, New Haven, and Richard M. Vishno, for appellee (defendant).

Before [150 Conn. 245] BALDWIN, C. J., and KING, MURPHY, SHEA and ALCORN, JJ.

[150 Conn. 246] BALDWIN, Chief Justice.

The state, pursuant to General Statutes § 54-96, has appealed from a judgment rendered on a verdict of not guilty. The information charged that the defendant 'did commit certain acts likely to impair the morals of a minor child' in violation of § 53-21 of the General Statutes. The defendant at first pleaded guilty. The court ordered a presentence report, a copy of which was given to the defendant's counsel.

Page 66

Thereafter, the defendant moved to withdraw his plea, and the court granted the motion. The defendant then entered a plea of not guilty and elected a trial to a jury.

The state has assigned error in the granting of the defendant's motion to withdraw his plea of guilty and in the court's charge to the jury. The ruling on the motion was within the sound discretion of the court. State v. Carta, 90 Conn. 79, 82, 96 A. 411, L.R.A.1916E, 634; note, 66 A.L.R. 628. There was no abuse of discretion in this ruling.

Section 53-21 of the General Statutes reads as follows: 'Any person who wilfully or unlawfully causes or permits any child under the age of sixteen years to be placed in such a situation that its life, or limb is endangered, or its health is likely to be injured, or its morals likely to be impaired, or does any act likely to impair the health or morals of any such child, shall be fined not more than five hundred dollars or imprisoned not more than ten years or both.' The state claims to have proved that on Saturday evening, July 8, 1961, the defendant did certain perverted sexual acts with his seven-year-old daughter--acts, it is not disputed, [150 Conn. 247] of such a base nature as to impair the morals of any minor child. The defendant claimed to have proved that he was a heavy drinker, that he had imbibed alcoholic liquor freely on the evening in question and that he remembered nothing of what had taken place.

In the charge, the court, after telling the jury that the defendant was accused of committing certain acts likely to impair the morals of a minor child, purported to quote from § 53-21 as follows: "Any person who shall wilfully or unlawfully cause or permit any child under sixteen years to be placed in such a situation that its morals are likely to be impaired' shall be punished.' The court then stated that an essential element of the crime would be that 'the accused wilfully caused or permitted * * * [his daughter] to be put in such a situation,' and that 'wilfully' meant 'intentionally, with volition, and not passively acquiescent.' As to the claim of the defendant that he had been intoxicated and remembered nothing of what had taken place, the court instructed the jury that, although voluntary drunkenness is in itself no excuse for crime, it becomes significant if it so affects the mind of an accused that he is made incapable of forming a rational intent or of controlling his will and that its presence to that extent negatives the existence of criminal...

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88 practice notes
  • State v. McCall
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • May 11, 1982
    ...the state must prove (1) an act (2) likely to impair the morals or health (3) of a child under the age of sixteen. See State v. Dennis, 150 Conn. 245, 250, 188 A.2d 65 (1963). The second element, likelihood of impairment of the morals or health of a child, is not a necessary corollary of se......
  • State v. Mancinone, No. 5046
    • United States
    • Appellate Court of Connecticut
    • July 19, 1988
    ...Statutes § 53-21, under the statutory theory of creating a harmful situation, rather than committing specific acts. See State v. Dennis, 150 Conn. 245, 250, 188 A.2d 65 (1963); compare State v. Dumlao, 3 Conn.App. 607, 614, 491 A.2d 404 (1985) (harmful situation theory) with id., 621-22, 49......
  • State v. Sullivan, No. 3013
    • United States
    • Appellate Court of Connecticut
    • May 26, 1987
    ...properly permitted. [11 Conn.App. 90] The defendant's claim that General Statutes § 53-21 is "separable" under State v. Dennis, 150 Conn. 245, 248, 188 A.2d 65 (1963), does not change our holding. In State v. Dennis, supra, our Supreme Court held that "[t]he use of the disjun......
  • State v. Miranda, (SC 16271)
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • April 16, 2002
    ...perpetrated on the person of the minor and injurious to his moral or physical well-being." (Citation omitted.) State v. Dennis, 150 Conn. 245, 250, 188 A.2d 65 (1963). "[T]he first part of § 53-21 prohibits the wilful creation of a `situation' likely to impair the health of a chil......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
88 cases
  • State v. McCall
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • May 11, 1982
    ...the state must prove (1) an act (2) likely to impair the morals or health (3) of a child under the age of sixteen. See State v. Dennis, 150 Conn. 245, 250, 188 A.2d 65 (1963). The second element, likelihood of impairment of the morals or health of a child, is not a necessary corollary of se......
  • State v. Mancinone, No. 5046
    • United States
    • Appellate Court of Connecticut
    • July 19, 1988
    ...Statutes § 53-21, under the statutory theory of creating a harmful situation, rather than committing specific acts. See State v. Dennis, 150 Conn. 245, 250, 188 A.2d 65 (1963); compare State v. Dumlao, 3 Conn.App. 607, 614, 491 A.2d 404 (1985) (harmful situation theory) with id., 621-22, 49......
  • State v. Sullivan, No. 3013
    • United States
    • Appellate Court of Connecticut
    • May 26, 1987
    ...properly permitted. [11 Conn.App. 90] The defendant's claim that General Statutes § 53-21 is "separable" under State v. Dennis, 150 Conn. 245, 248, 188 A.2d 65 (1963), does not change our holding. In State v. Dennis, supra, our Supreme Court held that "[t]he use of the disjun......
  • State v. Miranda, (SC 16271)
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • April 16, 2002
    ...perpetrated on the person of the minor and injurious to his moral or physical well-being." (Citation omitted.) State v. Dennis, 150 Conn. 245, 250, 188 A.2d 65 (1963). "[T]he first part of § 53-21 prohibits the wilful creation of a `situation' likely to impair the health of a chil......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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