State v. Dixon, No. 19349.

CourtSupreme Court of Connecticut
Writing for the CourtESPINOSA, J.
Citation318 Conn. 495,122 A.3d 542
PartiesSTATE of Connecticut v. Randy DIXON.
Docket NumberNo. 19349.
Decision Date08 September 2015

318 Conn. 495
122 A.3d 542

STATE of Connecticut
v.
Randy DIXON.

No. 19349.

Supreme Court of Connecticut.

Argued March 16, 2015.
Decided Sept. 8, 2015.


122 A.3d 546

Emily Wagner, assistant public defender, for the appellant (defendant).

Laurie N. Feldman, special deputy assistant state's attorney, with whom, on the brief, were John Smriga, state's attorney, and Joseph Corradino, senior assistant state's attorney, for the appellee (state).

ROGERS, C.J., and PALMER, ZARELLA, EVELEIGH, ESPINOSA and ROBINSON, Js.

Opinion

ESPINOSA, J.

318 Conn. 497

The defendant, Randy Dixon, was convicted, following a jury trial, of murder in violation of General Statutes § 53a–54a(a). On appeal,1 the defendant claims that: (1) the trial court had an obligation to provide, sua sponte, a jury instruction on the risk of misidentification by an eyewitness pursuant to State v. Ledbetter, 275 Conn. 534, 579, 881 A.2d 290 (2005), cert. denied, 547 U.S. 1082, 126 S.Ct. 1798, 164 L.Ed.2d 537 (2006) ; (2) the scope of the trial court's inquiry into the allegation of juror bias violated his constitutional right to a fair trial by an impartial jury because the court only interviewed the foreperson and one juror, J.S., about whether they had safety concerns following a court attendee's contact with J.S., and the safety concerns could have biased the jury against him2 ; and (3)

318 Conn. 498

his exclusion from the hearing concerning possible juror bias was a violation of his constitutional rights to be present at a critical stage of the proceedings, to counsel, and to be presumed innocent. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

The jury reasonably could have found the following facts. At approximately 1 a.m. on December 3, 2010, the victim, Lawrence Acevedo, was visiting with friends on Capitol Avenue in Bridgeport. He was on a second floor porch when a car playing loud music pulled up and stopped across the street. The victim shouted at the car to turn down the volume of the music and the defendant, who was driving the vehicle, responded, “I'll be right back,” and sped away.

A few minutes later, the car returned, still playing loud music. The victim ran downstairs toward the car and the defendant

122 A.3d 547

began shooting at the victim. During a break in the shooting, the victim ran to the driver's side of the car and punched the window, unsuccessfully trying to break it. He then went around the back of the car to the passenger side and the defendant fired a few more shots at him. To avoid the shots coming through the vehicle, the victim ducked behind the car.

The defendant got out of the car and confronted the victim. The defendant shot the victim in the knee and the victim fell. The defendant then stood over the victim and again shot him, before getting into his car and driving away. The autopsy on the victim showed that he bled to death as a result of multiple gunshot wounds. The court rendered judgment in accordance with the jury's verdict, and the defendant appealed. Additional facts will be set forth as necessary.

318 Conn. 499

I

We first consider the defendant's claim that the trial court had an obligation to provide sua sponte a jury instruction on the risk of misidentification by an eyewitness pursuant to Ledbetter. The following additional facts are relevant to this claim. In the course of the investigation into the victim's murder, the police received information that Ervin Moses, a resident of Capitol Avenue, had witnessed the murder. The police asked Moses to come to the police station, which he did, and, while there, he was shown a photographic array and asked to make an identification of the perpetrator. It is undisputed that “[t]he officer who interviewed ... Moses began the identification procedure by telling [him] that the perpetrator may or may not be in the photo[graphic] array....” Moses identified the defendant from a photographic array of suspects.

The defendant's trial began on May 9, 2012. On Friday, May 11, 2012, the state informed the court that it would expect to rest its case on the following Monday, May 14, 2012. The court considered holding the charging conference that morning, May 11, 2012, but defense counsel stated that he needed the weekend to do some research. The court and both sides then agreed that the charging conference would take place on May 14, 2012, with the charge to the jury taking place on Tuesday, May 15, 2012.

On May 14, 2012, the charging conference was held and the court subsequently outlined what transpired at that conference on the record. The court invited counsel to add anything that it had missed. The court stated: “There will be a charge on identification and ... I gave my charge to each of the attorneys to review if they had any questions on it.” After the court finished summarizing the charging conference, the court asked

318 Conn. 500

if either counsel had anything to add. Defense counsel responded, “Nothing to add, Your Honor.”

On Tuesday, May 15, 2012, the court gave the charge to the jury. Prior to bringing the jury into the courtroom, the court asked both counsel if they were ready and defense counsel replied, “Yes, Your Honor.” In the jury charge, the court provided an instruction on identification of the defendant by witnesses and included factors that the jury should consider in determining the reliability of a witness' identification. After the court finished its instructions to the jury, defense counsel stated that he had “no exceptions.”

It is undisputed that the defendant did not request an instruction regarding misidentification pursuant to Ledbetter, and that the court did not give such an instruction. Accordingly, we conclude that this issue was not preserved because the defendant did not raise it in the trial court. “This court is not bound to consider claims

122 A.3d 548

of law not made at the trial.... Th[is] serve[s] to alert the trial court to potential error while there is still time for the court to act.... [B]ecause the sine qua non of preservation is fair notice to the trial court ... the determination of whether a claim has been properly preserved will depend on a careful review of the record to ascertain whether the claim on appeal was articulated below with sufficient clarity to place the trial court on reasonable notice of that very same claim.” (Internal quotation marks omitted.) State v. Taylor G., 315 Conn. 734, 769–70, 110 A.3d 338 (2015).

In Ledbetter, we set forth the rule that courts must “incorporate an instruction in the charge to the jury, warning the jury of the risk of misidentification, in those cases where: (1) the state has offered eyewitness identification evidence; (2) that evidence resulted from an identification procedure; and (3) the administrator of that procedure failed to instruct the witness that the

318 Conn. 501

perpetrator may or may not be present in the procedure.” State v. Ledbetter, supra, 275 Conn. at 579, 881 A.2d 290. We stated that this instruction is not constitutionally required; id., at 577, 881 A.2d 290 ; a point which the defendant in the present case acknowledges. Instead, the requirement that a Ledbetter instruction be given under the appropriate circumstances is a prophylactic rule that we established to “mitigat[e] the risks of misidentification in the courts of this state.” Id.

In the present case, the defendant has conceded that he did not request that the trial court give a Ledbetter instruction. We conclude, therefore, that the defendant did not preserve this claim.3 Because the present case is not one in which “the administrator of that procedure failed to instruct the witness that the perpetrator may or may not be present in the procedure”; id., at 579, 881 A.2d 290 ; Ledbetter would not apply and the court had no obligation to give sua sponte the Ledbetter instruction.

II

We next consider the defendant's claim that the scope of the trial court's inquiry into the allegations of juror bias violated his constitutional right to a fair trial by an impartial jury. The following additional facts are necessary for our resolution of this claim. The defendant's trial began on May 9, 2012. When the jurors were excused for lunch, the court stated that they were not to speak about the case with anyone and that if anyone tried to talk to them, they should report it immediately. The court reiterated this warning throughout the trial and deliberations. The jury began deliberating on May

318 Conn. 502

15, 2012. On May 16, 2012, the court received notification from the jury that it could not reach a unanimous decision and inquired about what it should do next. The court called the jurors into the courtroom and told them that it is “not unusual for jurors not to reach a unanimous verdict the first day.” The court excused the jurors for lunch and...

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26 practice notes
  • State v. Hughes, SC 20268
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • November 23, 2021
    ...of inferences drawn from such testimony, we review such assessments under the abuse of discretion standard. See, e.g., State v. Dixon, 318 Conn. 495, 506-507, 122 A.3d 542 (2015); State v. Small, 242 Conn. 93, 113, 700 A.2d 617 (1997). See generally State v. Newsome, 238 Conn. 588, 628, 682......
  • State v. Montanez, AC 40359
    • United States
    • Appellate Court of Connecticut
    • October 23, 2018
    ...the juror alleged to have made the remarks." Id. Our Supreme Court declined to so exercise its supervisory authority in State v. Dixon , 318 Conn. 495, 509, 122 A.3d 542 (2015), to require a specific scope of questioning in situations involving concerns about juror bias due to fear. In Dixo......
  • State v. Berrios, SC 19494
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • January 26, 2016
    ...inquiry into jury tampering is governed by the same standards as other possible instances of jury bias. See, e.g., State v. Dixon, 318 Conn. 495, 507, 122 A.3d 542 (2015). Thus, "[w]ith respect to allegations that a juror potentially may be biased, [e]ven where a juror has formed some preco......
  • State v. Purcell, AC 38206
    • United States
    • Appellate Court of Connecticut
    • July 4, 2017
    ...In the absence of any one of these conditions, the defendant's claim will fail." (Internal quotation marks omitted.) State v. Dixon, 318 Conn. 495, 511, 122 A.3d 542 (2015). "The first two steps in the Golding analysis address the reviewability of the claim, while the last two steps involve......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
26 cases
  • State v. Hughes, SC 20268
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • November 23, 2021
    ...of inferences drawn from such testimony, we review such assessments under the abuse of discretion standard. See, e.g., State v. Dixon, 318 Conn. 495, 506-507, 122 A.3d 542 (2015); State v. Small, 242 Conn. 93, 113, 700 A.2d 617 (1997). See generally State v. Newsome, 238 Conn. 588, 628, 682......
  • State v. Montanez, AC 40359
    • United States
    • Appellate Court of Connecticut
    • October 23, 2018
    ...the juror alleged to have made the remarks." Id. Our Supreme Court declined to so exercise its supervisory authority in State v. Dixon , 318 Conn. 495, 509, 122 A.3d 542 (2015), to require a specific scope of questioning in situations involving concerns about juror bias due to fear. In Dixo......
  • State v. Berrios, SC 19494
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • January 26, 2016
    ...inquiry into jury tampering is governed by the same standards as other possible instances of jury bias. See, e.g., State v. Dixon, 318 Conn. 495, 507, 122 A.3d 542 (2015). Thus, "[w]ith respect to allegations that a juror potentially may be biased, [e]ven where a juror has formed some preco......
  • State v. Purcell, AC 38206
    • United States
    • Appellate Court of Connecticut
    • July 4, 2017
    ...In the absence of any one of these conditions, the defendant's claim will fail." (Internal quotation marks omitted.) State v. Dixon, 318 Conn. 495, 511, 122 A.3d 542 (2015). "The first two steps in the Golding analysis address the reviewability of the claim, while the last two steps involve......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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