State v. Knight

Citation50 Conn.App. 109,717 A.2d 274
Decision Date25 August 1998
Docket NumberNo. 14679,14679
CourtAppellate Court of Connecticut
PartiesSTATE of Connecticut v. Frederick D. KNIGHT, Jr.

Avery S. Chapman, Hamden, filed a brief for appellant (defendant).

Eugene Callahan, State's Attorney, John A. East III, Assistant State's Attorney, and Robert Katz, Senior Assistant State's Attorney, filed a brief for appellee (State).

Before FOTI, FRANCIS X. HENNESSY and KULAWIZ, JJ.

FRANCIS X. HENNESSY, Judge.

The defendant, Frederick D. Knight, Jr., appeals from the judgment of conviction, rendered after a jury trial, of one count of the sale of narcotics in violation of General Statutes § 21a-277 (a), one count of the sale of narcotics within 1500 feet of a school in violation of General Statutes § 21a-278a (b), one count of possession of narcotics in violation of General Statutes § 21a-279 (a), and one count of possession of narcotics within 1500 feet of a school by a person who is not a student in violation of General Statutes § 21a-279 (d). Following the verdict on the charges, the defendant pleaded guilty to being a persistent drug offender as charged in part B of the substitute information. The defendant was sentenced to a total effective term of seven years, three years mandatory minimum. On appeal, the defendant claims that the trial court improperly denied his midtrial motion for judgment of acquittal. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

The jury reasonably could have found the following facts. On September 1, 1993, two members of a police surveillance team stationed in the area of South Main and Monroe streets in Norwalk observed the defendant in an alley on Monroe Street. One of the officers, Arthur Wisegerber, with the aid of high-powered binoculars, observed the defendant hand a man, later identified as Fred Robinson, a clear plastic bag that contained a small white object, approximately the size of a fingernail. Wisegerber observed Robinson give the defendant a quantity of paper currency in return. The entire transaction took approximately twenty seconds during which time Wisegerber had a clear view of the alley.

As he left the alley, Robinson was followed by members of the surveillance team and placed under arrest. Upon searching Robinson, the officers discovered a clear plastic bag that contained cocaine. Approximately thirty minutes after Robinson's arrest, the defendant returned to his car and drove toward the intersection of West Avenue and Martin Luther King Drive. As he approached the intersection, police officers stopped him and placed him under arrest. The defendant was taken to the Norwalk police station where both he and Robinson were identified by Wisegerber as the persons he had observed in the alley earlier that day.

At trial, the defendant testified that he did not sell drugs to Robinson, although he admitted selling drugs in the past. Likewise, Robinson testified that the defendant did not sell him the drugs found on his person, but that he purchased the narcotics from an anonymous "Spanish kid" whom he refused to identify. The jury returned a guilty verdict on all four counts.

On appeal, the defendant claims that the trial court should have exercised its discretion pursuant to General Statutes § 54-56 1 and dismissed the information when he moved for judgment of acquittal at the close of the state's case. In support, the defendant argues that the trial court improperly concluded that the evidence presented by the state, specifically the testimony of Wisegerber, was legally sufficient to support a conviction. 2 We disagree.

"This court's review of claims relating to the sufficiency of the evidence to sustain a criminal conviction is governed by a well established standard of law. Whether we review the findings of a trial court or the verdict of a jury, our underlying task is the same.... We first review the evidence presented at trial, construing it in the light most favorable to sustaining the facts expressly found by the trial court or impliedly found by the jury. We then decide whether, upon the facts thus established and the inferences reasonably drawn therefrom, the trial court or the jury could reasonably have concluded that the cumulative effect of the evidence established the defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt." (Internal quotations omitted.) State v. Joyner, 225 Conn. 450, 455, 625 A.2d 791 (1993).

In this appeal, the defendant's challenge of the evidence focuses primarily on the claim that the officer's testimony was not believable. "Such an argument challenges witness credibility not sufficiency of the evidence. The jury is the final arbiter of credibility ......

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8 cases
  • State v. Forde
    • United States
    • Connecticut Court of Appeals
    • March 9, 1999
    ...doubt.... State v. Joyner, 225 Conn. 450, 455, 625 A.2d 791 (1993)." (Internal quotation marks omitted.) State v. Knight, 50 Conn. App. 109, 112, 717 A.2d 274 (1998). The first question before us is whether, from the facts presented at trial, it was reasonable for the jury to determine that......
  • State v. Bronson
    • United States
    • Connecticut Court of Appeals
    • November 16, 1999
    ...of the evidence. The credibility of witnesses is solely within the province of the jury to determine. State v. Knight, 50 Conn. App. 109, 112, 717 A.2d 274 (1998). We conclude, therefore, that the court properly denied the defendant's motion to redact the videotaped session between M and Th......
  • State v. Cruz
    • United States
    • Connecticut Court of Appeals
    • March 11, 2003
    ...inferences drawn therefrom that support the jury's determination of guilt." (Internal quotation marks omitted.) State v. Knight, 50 Conn. App. 109, 113, 717 A.2d 274 (1998). At the time of the altercation, Martinez was unarmed. The defendant, however, was armed with a knife. The defendant t......
  • Wilson v. Hryniewicz
    • United States
    • Connecticut Court of Appeals
    • February 2, 1999
    ...1376 [cert. denied, 519 U.S. 1044, 117 S. Ct. 617, 136 L. Ed.2d 541] (1996)." (Internal quotation marks omitted.) State v. Knight, 50 Conn. App. 109, 113, 717 A.2d 274 (1998). Upon review of all of the evidence, we conclude that the trial court's approval of all aspects of the sale, includi......
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