State v. Fredericks

Decision Date19 December 1961
Citation176 A.2d 581,149 Conn. 121
CourtConnecticut Supreme Court
PartiesSTATE of Connecticut v. Walter B. FREDERICKS, Jr. Supreme Court of Errors of Connecticut

Aaron Slitt, Bloomfield, with whom was Robert B. Eddy, Hartford, for appellant (defendant).

George D. Stoughton, Asst. State's Atty., Hartford, with whom, on the brief, were John D. LaBelle, State's Atty., Manchester, and J. Read Murphy, Asst. State's Atty., Hartford, for appellee (state).


SHEA, Associate Justice.

The jury found the defendant guilty on an information charging him with receiving stolen goods in violation of § 53-65 of the General Statutes. He has appealed, claiming error in the denial of his motion to set aside the verdict, in the charge to the jury and in the admission of evidence.

The state offered evidence to prove and claimed to have proved the following facts: On or about October 12, 1959, certain musical instruments, the property of Raymond Perlmutter, who operated a music store in Hartford, were missing from the trunk of an automobile owned by Harvey Goldstein, to whom the instruments had been entrusted for delivery to some school children. At that time, the defendant was the manager of the Main Street Variety Store in Hartford. On November 5, 1959, the defendant offered a commission to a salesman who visited the store if he could sell some musical instruments. A store employee, acting under the defendant's directions, took from a hall closet in the rear of the store two shopping bags and put them in the rear of the salesman's car. The bags were then taken by the salesman to a store in New Britain, where it was found that they contained two clarinets and a flute. These were left with the storekeeper, who, upon examination of the instruments, discovered Perlmutter's name on one of them. The police were called, and the instruments were identified by Perlmutter as some of his missing property.

The defendant offered evidence to prove and claimed to have proved the following: Melvin Harper, an employee at the variety store, had brought the instruments into the store and at approximately the same time had stolen about $1200 of store money. The defendant complained to the police and Harper was summoned to appear in court on October 30. He failed to appear, though his case was twice continued, and on November 17 the bond posted by him was forfeited. The police have been unable to locate Harper. The defendant thought that the musical instruments belonged to Harper and wanted to sell them to recover some of the money which Harper had stolen. The defendant had, in March, 1955, been convicted of the crime of receiving stolen goods.

In its charge, the court told the jury: '[Y]ou may consider the fact that * * * [the accused] was convicted of receiving stolen goods * * * as one of the circumstances in this case in determining whether or not the accused had any knowledge that these particular instruments had been stolen.' The defendant took an exception to this instruction.

To convict a defendant of the crime of receiving stolen goods, it is necessary for the state to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he had actual knowledge that the goods were stolen when he received them. State v. Pambianchi, 139 Conn. 543, 546, 95 A.2d 695; State v. Newman, 127 Conn. 398, 400, 17 A.2d 774. Ordinarily, guilty knowledge can be established only through an inference from other proved facts and circumstances. The inference may be drawn if the circumstances are such that a reasonable man of honest intentions, in the situation of the defendant, would have concluded that the property was stolen. State v. Heno, 119 Conn. 29, 32, 174 A. 181, 94 A.L.R. 696; State v. Weiner, 84 Conn. 411, 417, 80 A. 198.

As a general rule, evidence of guilt of other crimes is inadmissible to prove that a defendant is guilty of the crime charged against him. State v. Harris, 147 Conn. 589, 599, 164 A.2d 399. The rule is subject to certain exceptions. State v. Barnes, 132 Conn. 370, 372, 44 A.2d 708. In a prosecution for receiving...

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30 cases
  • State v. O'Neill
    • United States
    • Connecticut Supreme Court
    • June 24, 1986
    ...a defendant is guilty of the crime charged against him. State v. Harris, 147 Conn. 589, 599, 164 A.2d 399 [1960].' State v. Fredericks, 149 Conn. 121, 124, 176 A.2d 581 (1961); McCormick, Evidence (2d Ed.1972) § 190; 1 Wharton, Criminal Evidence (13th Ed.) § 170. The rationale of this rule ......
  • State v. Moynahan
    • United States
    • Connecticut Supreme Court
    • April 5, 1973
    ...Conn. 411, 416, 417, 80 A. 198. This rule also applied to the second claim of the state as charged by the court. See State v. Fredericks, 149 Conn. 121, 124, 176 A.2d 581; State v. Heno, 119 Conn. 29, 32, 174 A. 181; State v. Kaplan,72 Conn. 635, 45 A. 1018; People v. Estrada, 234 Cal.App.2......
  • State v. Gabriel
    • United States
    • Connecticut Supreme Court
    • March 13, 1984
    ...84 Conn. 411, 418 [80 A. 198 (1911) ]." State v. Appletree, 35 Conn.Sup. 531, 534, 394 A.2d 744 (1977); see also State v. Fredericks, 149 Conn. 121, 124, 176 A.2d 581 (1961). We do not regard the enactment of General Statutes § 53a-119(8) as having modified these principles. State v. Applet......
  • State v. Coleman
    • United States
    • Connecticut Supreme Court
    • October 22, 1974
    ...v. Farrah, supra. The necessary intent may be inferred from the circumstances and from what was done by the accused. State v. Fredericks, 149 Conn. 121, 124, 176 A.2d 581. We find no merit to the contention of the defendant that the court erred in refusing to set aside the verdict as contra......
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