State v. Hinton

Citation493 A.2d 837,196 Conn. 289
CourtSupreme Court of Connecticut
Decision Date28 May 1985
PartiesSTATE of Connecticut v. Wilbert HINTON.

Robert F. McWeeny, Hartford, for appellant (defendant).

Roland D. Fasano, Asst. State's Atty., with whom, on brief, was Arnold Markle, State's Atty., for appellee (state).


ARTHUR H. HEALEY, Associate Justice.

The defendant was convicted by a jury on three counts of sexual assault in the first degree, one count of burglary in the first degree, and one count of robbery in the first degree. On appeal, he claims that the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress pretrial identifications and in denying his motion for production of "statements" of the victim contained in police reports and in notes of police officers. As to the latter, the defendant claims alternatively that such reports and notes should have been marked for identification and inspected in camera by the trial court. We disagree and find no error.

The facts underlying the crime do not appear to be in dispute. 1 C, a thirty-one year old woman, was living in a first floor New Haven apartment when this incident occurred. On July 9, 1981, she awoke sometime between 5:30 and 6 a.m. and, to obtain some relief from the heat, she opened the back kitchen door, leaving the outside screen door unlocked. She then fell asleep on the living room couch. At approximately 7 a.m., C awoke and saw a man, later identified as the defendant, standing about fifteen feet away from her in the apartment. It was "light out," "very sunny," at the time and the apartment was "very bright." Her living "room" and dining "room" were "really one room," just different areas and there were no draperies or blinds on the front windows. There were eight-foot windows in this combination living and dining room. The defendant had a chrome kitchen knife and said to C, "Don't move or I'll kill you." The defendant was wearing a gray sweatshirt, which he had "pulled up over his mouth." He walked over to C and held the knife to her neck. C had a clear view of her assailant's face except for the mouth area.

With the knife still at her throat, the assailant ordered her to go into the bathroom and kept repeating that he was going to kill her. He closed the door and told her to stand facing the wall. He demanded the jewelry that she was wearing and then ordered her to turn around and disrobe. The assailant then sexually assaulted C three times in the bathroom, and he kept up a "steady conversation" during the assaults. After these sexual assaults, the assailant "wiped" himself and other items in the bathroom. C was then able to view his profile "very clearly," although she was unable to see his mouth. He subsequently left the bathroom, closed the door, and left the apartment. The assailant was in the presence of the victim for approximately twenty minutes.

Later on the day of the incident, C made two photo identifications of the defendant as her assailant. On July 17, 1981, C also identified the defendant, who was among a group of arraignees in a New Haven courtroom. At trial, C made an in-court identification of the defendant as her assailant. Evidence of her out-of-court identifications was also admitted.


The defendant on appeal contends that the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress pretrial identifications. 2 The victim had made two photographic identifications of the defendant at the police station within hours after these crimes and had also identified him eight days later in court at his arraignment on an unrelated offense.

After the incident, C immediately telephoned the police, who responded and then took her to a hospital. Following her examination there, she was taken directly to the police station. There the investigating detective, Raymond DellaCamera, placed "five or six trays" of photographs before her. He did not indicate, however, that the police suspected any particular individual of the crime. On the average, the trays each contain "between 150 and 200" photographs of black males. C began examining the photographs, and soon after she had begun she identified one positively as that of her assailant. She pointed out the photograph to the detective, and he then left the room and set up another full tray containing a more recent photograph of the black male she had already identified. Upon going through this tray, C identified the second photograph of this black male as soon as she came to it.

On July 17, 1981, C was taken by another detective, Joseph Reynolds, Jr., to the New Haven courthouse "to view black males" who were being arraigned there. The detective told C "to look around the courtroom, see if she would recognize him, be able to identify the subject that assaulted her, and that he may not be in the courtroom." There were thirteen male arraignees seated together on the left side of the courtroom: Seven were black, two hispanic, and four white. The defendant, who was one of the arraignees, was born on June 30, 1953; the birthdates of the other six black arraignees were September 22, 1961; September 4, 1964; April 9, 1960; June 27, 1957; January 11, 1947; and October 17, 1921. C was able to identify her assailant "right away" and reported it to the detective, who sat away from her. Upon her request, C returned to the courtroom to see him standing and hear him speak. She did and informed the detective that she had no question that it was "the same guy."

We have recently reiterated that " '[i]n determining whether identification procedures violate a defendant's due process rights, the required inquiry is made on an ad hoc basis and is two-pronged: first, it must be determined whether the identification procedure was unnecessarily suggestive; and second, if it is found to have been so, it must be determined whether the identification was nevertheless reliable based on examination of the "totality of the circumstances." ' State v. Theriault, 182 Conn. 366, 371-72, 438 A.2d 432 (1980); see Manson v. Brathwaite, 432 U.S. 98, 114, 97 S.Ct. 2243, 2253, 53 L.Ed.2d 140 (1977)." State v. Austin, 195 Conn. 496, 499, 488 A.2d 1250 (1985). "A defendant who moves to suppress identification evidence bears the initial burden of proving that the identification resulted from an unconstitutional procedure." State v. Fullwood, 193 Conn. 238, 244, 476 A.2d 550 (1984); State v. McKnight, 191 Conn. 564, 570, 469 A.2d 397 (1983); State v. Hafner, 168 Conn. 230, 235, 362 A.2d 925, cert. denied, 423 U.S. 851, 96 S.Ct. 95, 46 L.Ed.2d 74 (1975). The defendant challenges the trial court's ruling that there was "no evidence" of "impermissible suggestiveness" or of "a substantial likelihood of misidentification." 3 To prevail on this claim, the defendant must demonstrate that the trial court erred in both of its determinations regarding "suggestiveness" and "reliability" of identifications in the totality of the circumstances. See, e.g., State v. Vass, 191 Conn. 604, 611, 469 A.2d 767 (1983); State v. Hafner, supra, 168 Conn. at 240-41, 362 A.2d 925.

The defendant contends that the photographic display was suggestive because of the recurrence of a "single" photograph of the defendant in two separate displays and because "the photographic display was not segregated in any way but race and sex, containing black males of all sizes, ages and with and without beards." The factual premise of this claim is erroneous, however. The second identification of the defendant's photograph involved a "newer photo" of him, not a "recurrence of a single photo" as the defendant's brief suggests. While "we have recognized that pictorial recurrence can be suggestive in that it increases the risk of misidentification"; State v. McKnight, supra, 191 Conn. at 572, 469 A.2d 397; State v. Ledbetter, 185 Conn. 607, 613, 441 A.2d 595 (1981); the initial identification in this case was made with such a "high degree of assurance" that the second identification procedure involving a more recent photograph could only have benefitted the defendant. State v. Austin, supra, 195 Conn. at 502, 488 A.2d 1250. Moreover, the defendant makes no claim of improper procedure such as the "unduly suggestive" police comments we criticized in State v. Austin. 4

The defendant, in his second attack on the photographic arrays, complains that they were not segregated in terms of size, age, and facial hair. In his brief, however, the defendant fails to indicate in what manner the arrangement of the photographic array emphasized the defendant's photograph as he seems to suggest. See State v. Vass, supra, 191 Conn. at 610-11, 469 A.2d 767; State v. Gold, 180 Conn. 619 655-56, 431 A.2d 501, cert. denied, 449 U.S. 920, 101 S.Ct. 320, 66 L.Ed.2d 148 (1980). The complainant's initial identification was made from one photograph of the defendant situated randomly in one of the trays without any suggestion whatsoever from the police. To the extent that the multitudinous photographs in this case were of black males of differing sizes, ages, and facial hair, the defendant challenged the complainant's testimony regarding the photographic identification. "Such challenges go to the weight rather than to the admissibility of the evidence." State v. Ledbetter, supra, 185 Conn. at 612, 441 A.2d 595; see also State v. Miles, 195 Conn. 552, 556, 489 A.2d 373. The record indicates that, upon his cross-examination of the complainant, the defendant availed himself of the opportunity to attempt to discredit her photographic identification.

Nor can we say that, under the circumstances, the procedure for identification at arraignment was so suggestive as to be constitutionally infirm. The complainant had previously made two positive photographic identifications. As the state points out, only the defendant stood to benefit by subsequent identification procedures once he had already been positively identified by...

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  • State v. Aversa
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • December 3, 1985
    ...evidence bears the initial burden of proving that the identification resulted from an unconstitutional procedure.' " State v. Hinton, 196 Conn. 289, 293, 493 A.2d 837 (1985); State v. Fullwood, 193 Conn. 238, 244, 476 A.2d 550 (1984). "The determination whether an identification procedure h......
  • State v. Miller
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    • Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • March 10, 1987
    ...We have recognized that pictorial recurrence can be suggestive because it increases the risk of misidentification. State v. Hinton, 196 Conn. 289, 292-93, 493 A.2d 837 (1985). We conclude, however, that, under the circumstances of this case, the viewing by Elizabeth of the three "old photog......
  • State v. Harris, SC 19649
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • September 4, 2018
    ......See, e.g., State v. Payne , 219 Conn. 93, 107, 591 A.2d 1246 (1991) ("we recognize the potential for suggestiveness inherent in an arraignment identification"); State v. Hinton , 196 Conn. 289, 295, 493 A.2d 837 (1985) ("we have recognized that an arraignment identification may be ‘suggestive’ "); see also 191 A.3d 127 State v. Ledbetter , 185 Conn. 607, 613, 441 A.2d 595 (1981) ("[t]he mischief involved in the arraignment observation is the real possibility ......
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