State v. Leach

CourtAppellate Court of Connecticut
Citation165 Conn.App. 28,138 A.3d 445
Decision Date26 April 2016
Docket NumberNo. 37018.,37018.
PartiesSTATE of Connecticut v. Kareem LEACH.

165 Conn.App. 28
138 A.3d 445

STATE of Connecticut
Kareem LEACH.

No. 37018.

Appellate Court of Connecticut.

Argued Jan. 6, 2016.
Decided April 26, 2016.

138 A.3d 447

Glenn W. Falk, assigned counsel, Madison, for the appellant (defendant).

Laurie N. Feldman, special deputy assistant state's attorney, with whom, on the brief, were David I. Cohen, state's attorney, and James Bernardi, supervisory assistant state's attorney, for the appellee (state).



165 Conn.App. 29

The defendant, Kareem Leach, appeals from the judgment of conviction, rendered following a jury trial, of assault in the first degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a–59 (a)(5) and robbery in the first degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a–134 (a)(2). The defendant claims that the court's jury

165 Conn.App. 30

instructions were one-sided, favoring the state, and deprived him of a fair trial. We conclude that the defendant implicitly waived this unpreserved claim. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

The jury reasonably could have found the following facts. On January 13, 2013, the defendant met with his acquaintance, Anthony Jean–Pierre, and proposed that they rob a drug dealer. Jean–Pierre thought that another acquaintance, Leah Socci, would be an easy target because she was a female and unlikely to call the police. Socci received a text message from Jean–Pierre, indicating that he was interested in purchasing an ounce of marijuana. Jean–Pierre designated a meeting place to complete the purchase. Socci's friend, Julian Serrano, agreed to obtain the marijuana and insisted on accompanying Socci to the meeting place. Allison Marucci, another friend of Socci, drove Socci and Serrano to meet Jean–Pierre, with Socci in the front passenger seat and Serrano in the backseat. Upon arriving at the meeting place, Jean–Pierre walked up to the car and joined Serrano in the backseat. Serrano then showed Jean–Pierre the marijuana and indicated the price. Jean–Pierre told Serrano that his cousin was waiting in the parking lot and would complete the purchase. Marucci drove to the parking lot and approached the defendant. Jean–Pierre exited the vehicle, and the defendant entered the backseat with Serrano. As Serrano was preparing the marijuana, the defendant pointed a gun at him and told him to “give it up.” As Serrano attempted to push the gun away, the men struggled, and the defendant shot Serrano in the leg, warning him not to move or he would shoot again. The defendant took Serrano's marijuana and money, exited the car, and ran out of sight with Jean–Pierre.

Socci and Marucci identified Jean–Pierre to the police as the man who had accompanied the defendant. Jean–Pierre was arrested the day after the shooting, and he

165 Conn.App. 31

identified the defendant as the gunman. At trial, Jean–Pierre testified against the defendant with the expectation that he would receive leniency in the current case and another case in exchange for giving truthful testimony.

The defendant was convicted of robbery in the first degree with a deadly weapon

138 A.3d 448

and assault in the first degree by means of the discharge of a firearm. The defendant was sentenced to a total effective term of fourteen years imprisonment and six years special parole. This appeal followed.

On appeal, the defendant claims that the court gave imbalanced jury instructions that (1) warned against sympathy for the defendant but not against sympathy for the victim, (2) instructed the jury that it should not be concerned with the punishment of the accused, but then told the jury that the state is concerned with having “a guilty person punished,” (3) instructed the jury that the state is looking for it to act firmly, fairly, and honestly in upholding the law of the land by rendering a guilty verdict, but not by rendering a not guilty verdict, and (4) suggested that the state alone is interested in the safety and well-being of all citizens and in the protection of life and property, and that these interest can only be served by a guilty verdict. The defendant concedes that these specific claims were not preserved. According to the defendant, the court's imbalanced instructions deprived him of a fair trial. The state contends that the defendant waived these claims. We agree with the state and conclude that, pursuant to State v. Kitchens, 299 Conn. 447, 480, 10 A.3d 942 (2011), the defendant waived any claim regarding the court's jury instructions.

“Connecticut courts have deemed a claim of instructional error implicitly waived when the defense failed

165 Conn.App. 32

to take exception to, and acquiesced in, the jury instructions following one or more opportunities to review them.” Id. “Whether a defendant waives the right to challenge jury instructions is a question of law over which we exercise plenary review.... Relevant to the issue of waiver in the context of jury instruction claims, our Supreme Court stated that when the trial court provides counsel with a copy of the proposed jury instructions, allows a meaningful opportunity for their review, solicits comments from counsel regarding changes or modifications and counsel affirmatively accepts the instructions proposed or given, the defendant may be deemed to have knowledge of any potential flaws therein and to have waived implicitly...

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9 cases
  • State Marshal Ass'n of Conn., Inc. v. Johnson, AC 42131
    • United States
    • Appellate Court of Connecticut
    • June 30, 2020
    ...Conn. 589, 595–97, 134 A.3d 560 (2016). It is a bypass doctrine that permits review of an otherwise unpreserved claim. State v. Leach , 165 Conn. App. 28, 35, 138 A.3d 445, cert. denied, 323 Conn. 948, 169 A.3d 792 (2016) ; see also Practice Book § 60-5 (codifying plain error doctrine and p......
  • State v. Soyini, AC 40059
    • United States
    • Appellate Court of Connecticut
    • March 13, 2018
    ...We have recognized that a meaningful review requires the opportunity to review the proposed instructions overnight. State v. Leach , 165 Conn. App. 28, 33, 138 A.3d 445, cert. denied, 323 Conn. 948, 169 A.3d 792 (2016). We conclude, therefore, that the defendant was not afforded a meaningfu......
  • State v. Hines, 38002.
    • United States
    • Appellate Court of Connecticut
    • April 26, 2016
    ...was required, nor has the defendant provided any here.18 Also, the court twice dispatched defense counsel to the lockup to inquire 165 Conn.App. 28 whether the defendant wished to return to the courtroom for jury selection. The defendant twice declined the invitation to return. If the defen......
  • State v. Ward, AC 40534
    • United States
    • Appellate Court of Connecticut
    • October 29, 2019
    ...courts in the administration of justice in all aspects of the criminal process." (Internal quotation marks omitted.) State v. Leach , 165 Conn. App. 28, 35–36, 138 A.3d 445, cert. denied, 323 Conn. 948, 169 A.3d 792 (2016). We see no reason to invoke our supervisory powers here.7 The excerp......
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