State v. Elmer G., (AC 37596).

CourtAppellate Court of Connecticut
Writing for the CourtALVORD, J.
Citation176 Conn.App. 343,170 A.3d 749
Parties STATE of Connecticut v. ELMER G.
Docket Number(AC 37596).
Decision Date12 September 2017

176 Conn.App. 343
170 A.3d 749

STATE of Connecticut
v.
ELMER G.1

(AC 37596).

Appellate Court of Connecticut.

Argued May 16, 2017
Officially released September 12, 2017


170 A.3d 752

Pamela S. Nagy, assistant public defender, for the appellant (defendant).

Ronald G. Weller, senior assistant state's attorney, with whom, on the brief, were Stephen J. Sedensky III, state's attorney, and Warren C. Murray, supervisory assistant state's attorney, for the appellee (state).

Alvord, Prescott and Pellegrino, Js.

ALVORD, J.

176 Conn.App. 346

The defendant, Elmer G., appeals from the judgments of conviction, after a jury trial, of two counts of sexual assault in the second degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a–71(a)(1), two counts of risk of injury to a child in violation of General Statutes § 53–21(a)(2), and three counts of criminal violation of a restraining order in violation of General Statutes § 53a–223b. On appeal, the defendant claims that (1) there was insufficient evidence presented at trial to convict him of one of the two counts of sexual assault in the second degree and all three counts of criminal violation of a restraining order, and (2) certain prosecutorial improprieties at trial deprived him of his right to a fair trial. We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the judgments of the trial court.

On the basis of the evidence presented at trial, the jury reasonably could have found the following facts. The victim is the defendant's daughter. The victim was born in Guatemala and lived there until July, 2010. In Guatemala, family members raised the victim and four of her siblings (Guatemalan siblings) while their parents, the defendant and A.N., and four younger siblings (American siblings) resided together in Connecticut.2 The victim remembered meeting the defendant for the first time in 2007, when she was approximately

170 A.3d 753

ten years old. During that visit, the defendant began touching the victim in a sexually inappropriate manner. In the summer of 2010, the defendant arranged for two relatives to bring the victim, who was thirteen years old, to Connecticut illegally. Before she left Guatemala, the

176 Conn.App. 347

defendant told her "to get a shot for pregnancy, to avoid pregnancies ...." Approximately two weeks after arriving in Connecticut, the defendant resumed his sexual abuse of the victim and compelled her to engage in various sexual acts, including penile-vaginal intercourse and fellatio.

In June, 2011, the Department of Children and Families (department) conducted an investigation into allegations that the defendant was physically abusing his son, one of the victim's American brothers. In January, 2012, the department conducted another investigation into domestic violence after the victim's brother told someone at school that the defendant had brandished a knife at home, threatened his mother, A.N., and cut A.N.'s leg with the knife. At about this time, the defendant returned to Guatemala for a planned visit. Because the department was concerned about the well-being of A.N. and her children upon the defendant's return from Guatemala, it helped A.N. secure new housing for herself and her children.

When the defendant learned of these events from relatives, he called A.N. to discuss the situation. Because A.N. was fearful of the defendant coming to her new residence when he returned to Connecticut, on March 2, 2012, she applied for and was issued a two week, ex parte restraining order against the defendant, which protected herself and her children in Connecticut. On March 5, 2012, the defendant received in-hand marshal service of the ex parte restraining order. On March 15, 2012, after a hearing, A.N. was issued a six month restraining order (temporary restraining order) against the defendant, which protected herself and her children in Connecticut. While the ex parte restraining order and the temporary restraining order (collectively, restraining orders) were in effect, the defendant continued to communicate with the victim in a manner that violated these orders.

176 Conn.App. 348

After the department became involved with the victim's family in January, 2012, it referred the family to Altagracia Lara, an intensive family preservation clinician with Catholic Charities. During her conversations with the victim, Lara became concerned about the victim's relationship with the defendant and called the victim's pastor, Lourdes Lopez, and encouraged her to talk to the victim. On April 8, 2012, Lopez noticed that the victim was crying after church services and approached her to determine what was wrong. When the victim was not being responsive, Lopez brought the victim into her office, encouraged the victim to tell her what was wrong, and reassured the victim that she could trust her. The victim told Lopez that the defendant was physically and sexually abusing her. Lopez drove the victim home so they could speak with A.N. about her disclosure, and she called Lara, who reported the allegation to the department. The next morning, April 9, 2012, A.N. and Lara brought the victim to the police station to report the sexual abuse. After providing a written statement to the police, the victim was examined by a forensic pediatrician. The pediatrician found "very deep notches" in the victim's hymen, which was consistent with vaginal penetration and, after a second examination, diagnosed the victim with a sexually transmitted infection.

The defendant was subsequently charged in two informations, one alleging, inter alia, that he sexually abused the victim, and one alleging that he violated the

170 A.3d 754

restraining orders. In the operative sexual assault information, the defendant was charged with three counts of sexual assault in the second degree and three counts of risk of injury to a child. In the operative restraining order information, the defendant was charged with three counts of criminal violation of a restraining order. After a joint trial on both informations, the jury found the defendant guilty of two counts

176 Conn.App. 349

of sexual assault in the second degree, two counts of risk of injury to a child, and three counts of criminal violation of a restraining order. The jury found the defendant not guilty of one count of sexual assault in the second degree and one count of risk of injury to a child. The court sentenced the defendant to a total effective term of forty years of imprisonment, execution suspended after twenty-five years, followed by twenty-five years of probation. This appeal followed.

I

We begin with the defendant's claim that there was insufficient evidence presented at trial to convict him of one count of sexual assault in the second degree based on fellatio and three counts of criminal violation of a restraining order. We conclude that there was sufficient evidence presented at trial to support all of the defendant's convictions.

"The standard of review we apply to a claim of insufficient evidence is well established. In reviewing the sufficiency of the evidence to support a criminal conviction we apply a two-part test. First, we construe the evidence in the light most favorable to sustaining the verdict. Second, we determine whether upon the facts so construed and the inferences reasonably drawn therefrom the [finder of fact] reasonably could have concluded that the cumulative force of the evidence established guilt beyond a reasonable doubt....

"We note that the jury must find every element proven beyond a reasonable doubt in order to find the defendant guilty of the charged offense, [but] each of the basic and inferred facts underlying those conclusions need not be proved beyond a reasonable doubt.... If it is reasonable and logical for the jury to conclude that a basic fact or an inferred fact is true, the jury is permitted to consider the fact proven and may consider it in combination with other proven facts in determining

176 Conn.App. 350

whether the cumulative effect of all the evidence proves the defendant guilty of all the elements of the crime charged beyond a reasonable doubt....

"Finally, [a]s we have often noted, proof beyond a reasonable doubt does not mean proof beyond all possible doubt ... nor does proof beyond a reasonable doubt require acceptance of every hypothesis of innocence posed by the defendant that, had it been found credible by the [finder of fact], would have resulted in an acquittal.... On appeal, we do not ask whether there is a reasonable view of the evidence that would support a reasonable hypothesis of innocence. We ask, instead, whether there is a reasonable view of the evidence that supports the [finder of fact's] verdict of guilty." (Internal quotation marks omitted.) State v. Crespo , 317 Conn. 1, 16–17, 115 A.3d 447 (2015).

A

The defendant first claims that there was insufficient evidence presented at trial to support his conviction of sexual assault in the second degree based on...

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9 practice notes
  • State v. Turner, AC 40248
    • United States
    • Appellate Court of Connecticut
    • May 1, 2018
    ...(Internal quotation marks omitted.) State v. Campbell , 328 Conn. 444, 541–42, 180 A.3d 882 (2018) ; see also State v. Elmer G. , 176 Conn. App. 343, 363–64, 170 A.3d 749, cert. granted on other grounds, 327 Conn. 971, 173 A.3d 952 (2017). "[W]hen a defendant raises on appeal a claim that i......
  • State v. Gerald A., AC 39126
    • United States
    • Appellate Court of Connecticut
    • July 3, 2018
    ...evidence that supports the [finder of fact's] verdict of guilty.'' (Internal quotation 191 A.3d 1011marks omitted.) State v. Elmer G. , 176 Conn. App. 343, 349–50, 170 A.3d 749, cert. granted on other grounds, 327 Conn. 971, 173 A.3d 952 (2017).''The jury is entitled to draw reasonable and ......
  • State v. Hargett, AC 42405
    • United States
    • Appellate Court of Connecticut
    • March 3, 2020
    ...whether it deprived the defendant of his due process right to a fair trial." (Internal quotation marks omitted.) State v. Elmer G. , 176 Conn. App. 343, 363, 170 A.3d 749 (2017), aff'd, 333 Conn. 176, 214 A.3d 852 (2019). "Whether that impropriety was harmful and thus caused or contributed ......
  • State v. Elmer G., SC 20031
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • September 17, 2019
    ...of a restraining order in violation of General Statutes § 53a-223b.1 The Appellate Court upheld his convictions. State v. Elmer G. , 176 Conn. App. 343, 383, 170 A.3d 749 (2017). On further appeal to 214 A.3d 855 this court, the defendant claims that the state presented insufficient evidenc......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
9 cases
  • State v. Turner, AC 40248
    • United States
    • Appellate Court of Connecticut
    • May 1, 2018
    ...(Internal quotation marks omitted.) State v. Campbell , 328 Conn. 444, 541–42, 180 A.3d 882 (2018) ; see also State v. Elmer G. , 176 Conn. App. 343, 363–64, 170 A.3d 749, cert. granted on other grounds, 327 Conn. 971, 173 A.3d 952 (2017). "[W]hen a defendant raises on appeal a claim that i......
  • State v. Gerald A., AC 39126
    • United States
    • Appellate Court of Connecticut
    • July 3, 2018
    ...evidence that supports the [finder of fact's] verdict of guilty.'' (Internal quotation 191 A.3d 1011marks omitted.) State v. Elmer G. , 176 Conn. App. 343, 349–50, 170 A.3d 749, cert. granted on other grounds, 327 Conn. 971, 173 A.3d 952 (2017).''The jury is entitled to draw reasonable and ......
  • State v. Hargett, AC 42405
    • United States
    • Appellate Court of Connecticut
    • March 3, 2020
    ...whether it deprived the defendant of his due process right to a fair trial." (Internal quotation marks omitted.) State v. Elmer G. , 176 Conn. App. 343, 363, 170 A.3d 749 (2017), aff'd, 333 Conn. 176, 214 A.3d 852 (2019). "Whether that impropriety was harmful and thus caused or contributed ......
  • State v. Elmer G., SC 20031
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • September 17, 2019
    ...of a restraining order in violation of General Statutes § 53a-223b.1 The Appellate Court upheld his convictions. State v. Elmer G. , 176 Conn. App. 343, 383, 170 A.3d 749 (2017). On further appeal to 214 A.3d 855 this court, the defendant claims that the state presented insufficient evidenc......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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