State v. Tinsley, SC 20479

CourtSupreme Court of Connecticut
Writing for the CourtROBINSON, C. J.
Citation264 A.3d 560,340 Conn. 425
Docket NumberSC 20479
Decision Date27 August 2021
Parties STATE of Connecticut v. Darrell TINSLEY

340 Conn. 425
264 A.3d 560

STATE of Connecticut
v.
Darrell TINSLEY

SC 20479

Supreme Court of Connecticut.

Argued April 1, 2021
Officially released August 27, 2021*


264 A.3d 565

Melissa L. Streeto, senior assistant state's attorney, with whom, on the brief, were Sharmese L. Hodge, state's attorney, Gail P. Hardy, former state's attorney, and John Fahey, supervisory assistant state's attorney, for the appellant (state).

Naomi T. Fetterman, for the appellee (defendant).

Robinson, C. J., and McDonald, D'Auria, Kahn, Ecker and Keller, Js.

ROBINSON, C. J.

264 A.3d 566
340 Conn. 427

The sole issue in this certified appeal is the extent to which a court should consider the facts alleged by the state in the charging documents when determining whether a crime is a lesser included offense of another, rather than confining its analysis to the elements of the statutes at issue, under Blockburger v. United States , 284 U.S. 299, 52 S. Ct. 180, 76 L. Ed. 306 (1932). The state appeals, upon our grant of its petition for certification,1 from the judgment of the

340 Conn. 428

Appellate Court reversing the judgment of the trial court, which denied the motion to correct an illegal sentence filed by the defendant, Darrell Tinsley, on the basis of its conclusion that the defendant's convictions of manslaughter in the first degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-55 (a) (1)2 and risk of injury to a child in violation of General Statutes (Rev. to 1995) § 53-21, as amended by Public Acts 1995, No. 95-142, § 1,3 violate the constitutional prohibition against double jeopardy. See State v. Tinsley , 197 Conn. App. 302, 304, 326, 232 A.3d 86 (2020). On appeal, the state claims that the Appellate Court improperly considered the factual allegations in the information in concluding that risk of injury to a child, as charged therein, was a lesser included offense of manslaughter in the first degree, rendering the defendant's conviction of both offenses a violation of his right to be free from double jeopardy. We conclude that the Appellate Court improperly considered the facts alleged in the state's information, rather than confining its analysis to the statutory elements under the Blockburger test, insofar as risk of injury to a child is not a lesser included offense of manslaughter in the first degree because each offense requires the state to prove an element the other does not. Accordingly, we reverse the judgment of the Appellate Court.

340 Conn. 429

The record reveals the following relevant facts and procedural history, aptly set

264 A.3d 567

forth by the Appellate Court in its opinion. "[Despite having] an unstable relationship, [the defendant and the victim's mother] cohabited in a one bedroom apartment along with the [fifteen month old] victim .... During the course of the adults’ relationship, individuals who knew the victim noticed a marked change in his behavior when he was in the presence of the defendant. At such times, the victim was timid, withdrawn and afraid of the defendant. The defendant's attitude toward the victim ranged from indifference to dislike. When [the victim's mother] was no longer able to avail herself of professional child care, the defendant sometimes took care of the victim while [the victim's mother] worked.

"Prior to his death, the victim was in good health. On December 8, 1996, between 8 and 8:30 a.m., the defendant drove [the victim's mother] to her place of employment. According to [the victim's mother], there was nothing wrong with the victim when she went to work. During the morning, [the victim's mother] and the defendant spoke by telephone several times concerning the victim. At approximately 11:15 a.m., the defendant telephoned [the victim's mother], stating that there was something wrong with the victim and that he did not know what was the matter. The defendant then drove the victim to [the victim's mother's] place of employment, and, from there, all three proceeded to the Connecticut Children's Medical Center (medical center) in Hartford. They were involved in a motor vehicle accident en route.

"When he arrived at the medical center, the victim was in critical condition because he was not breathing and had little heart activity. The victim died when resuscitation efforts failed. An autopsy revealed bruises on the victim's right cheek, left leg and chest, which an associate medical examiner from the [O]ffice of the

340 Conn. 430

[C]hief [M]edical [E]xaminer determined occurred shortly before the victim's death. The injuries were inconsistent with an automobile accident, a twelve inch fall into a bathtub, cardiopulmonary resuscitation or bumping into a fire door, which were explanations offered by the defendant. The victim also suffered significant internal injuries, namely, multiple fresh cranial hemorrhages, a broken rib and a lacerated liver that caused three quarters of his blood to enter his abdominal cavity. According to the associate medical examiner, the victim's liver was lacerated by blunt trauma that occurred within [one] hour of death and was the cause of death." (Internal quotation marks omitted.) Id., at 304–306, 232 A.3d 86.

"The state charged the defendant with capital felony in violation of General Statutes (Rev. to 1995) § 53a-54b (9), as amended by [§ 3 of] No. 95-16 of the 1995 Public Acts, and risk of injury to a child in violation of § 53-21. The jury found the defendant guilty of the lesser included offense of manslaughter in the first degree in violation of § 53a-55 (a) (1) and risk of injury to a child. On February 6, 1998, the court sentenced the defendant to twenty years of incarceration on the manslaughter count and ten years of incarceration on the risk of injury count with the sentences to run consecutively. ... On March 8, 2018, the defendant ... filed a ... motion to correct an illegal sentence and an accompanying memorandum of law, [claiming that his sentence violated his federal and state constitutional rights to be free from] double jeopardy .... On May 15, 2018, the court issued its memorandum of decision denying the defendant's motion to correct an illegal sentence." (Footnotes omitted.) Id., at 306–307, 232 A.3d 86.

Specifically, the court stated: " ‘It ... seems to me entirely possible that the fatal blows to the ribs, liver, and abdomen could

264 A.3d 568

have occurred from a separate blow that was interrupted perhaps by a minute or so before or after trauma was inflicted to the child's face and

340 Conn. 431

head, which is also alleged in the information. And in that situation it would not clearly be one continuous uninterrupted assault. I acknowledge the defense argument that there's no way to actually parse through all this at this time twenty years later, but ultimately it's the defendant's burden, and if we can't do that then the defendant has not met his burden.’ " Id., at 309, 232 A.3d 86.

The defendant appealed from the judgment of the trial court to the Appellate Court, claiming that "his conviction and punishment for manslaughter in the first degree and risk of injury arose from the same transaction and that risk of injury is a lesser included offense of manslaughter in the first degree, as charged in this matter, in violation of his right to be free from double jeopardy." Id. The Appellate Court agreed with the defendant. Specifically, the court concluded that, despite risk of injury not being a lesser included offense of manslaughter in the first degree under the Blockburger test, it was nevertheless a lesser included offense as charged in the information in this case. Id., at 325, 232 A.3d 86. Accordingly, the Appellate Court reversed the judgment of the trial court and remanded the case for further proceedings. Id., at 326, 232 A.3d 86. This certified appeal followed.

Before turning to the parties’ claims, we set forth the applicable standard of review and background principles governing the analysis of double jeopardy claims. "A defendant's double jeopardy claim presents a question of law, over which our review is plenary. ... The double jeopardy clause of the fifth amendment to the United States constitution provides: [N]or shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb. The double jeopardy clause [applies] to the states through the due process clause of the fourteenth amendment. ... This constitutional guarantee prohibits not only multiple trials for the same offense, but also multiple punishments for the same offense in a single trial." (Internal quotation marks omitted.)

340 Conn. 432

State v. Porter , 328 Conn. 648, 654–55, 182 A.3d 625 (2018).

"Double jeopardy analysis in the context of a single trial is a [two step] process, and, to succeed, the defendant must satisfy both steps. ... First, the charges must arise out of the...

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6 practice notes
  • State v. Jose A. B., SC 20332
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • March 22, 2022
    ...provisions). Relying on the Appellate Court's decision in 342 Conn. 532 State v. Tinsley , 197 Conn. App. 302, 232 A.3d 86 (2020), rev'd, 340 Conn. 425, 264 A.3d 560 (2021), the defendant asserts that, as charged in the information, it is not possible to commit the offenses of sexual assaul......
  • State v. Abraham, SC 20314
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • May 31, 2022
    ...is whether each provision requires proof of a fact [that] the other does not." (Internal quotation marks omitted.) State v. Tinsley , 340 Conn. 425, 432, 264 A.3d 560 (2021). As we explained in part II of this opinion, the defendant's criminal conduct can be separated into two different act......
  • State v. Holmes, AC 43632
    • United States
    • Appellate Court of Connecticut
    • December 14, 2021
    ...the same offense, thereby placing a defendant who is prosecuted under both statutes in double jeopardy. See State v. Tinsley , 340 Conn. 425, 432, 264 A.3d 560 (2021). "The applicable rule is that where the same act or transaction constitutes a violation of 267 A.3d 356 two distinct statuto......
  • State v. Daniels, SC 20376
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • March 29, 2022
    ...to commit the crime of intentional manslaughter without committing the crime of reckless manslaughter. See, e.g., State v. Tinsley , 340 Conn. 425, 435–36, 264 A.3d 560 (2021) (one offense is not lesser included offense of another if it is possible to commit alleged greater crime without co......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
6 cases
  • State v. Jose A. B., SC 20332
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • March 22, 2022
    ...provisions). Relying on the Appellate Court's decision in 342 Conn. 532 State v. Tinsley , 197 Conn. App. 302, 232 A.3d 86 (2020), rev'd, 340 Conn. 425, 264 A.3d 560 (2021), the defendant asserts that, as charged in the information, it is not possible to commit the offenses of sexual assaul......
  • State v. Abraham, SC 20314
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • May 31, 2022
    ...is whether each provision requires proof of a fact [that] the other does not." (Internal quotation marks omitted.) State v. Tinsley , 340 Conn. 425, 432, 264 A.3d 560 (2021). As we explained in part II of this opinion, the defendant's criminal conduct can be separated into two different act......
  • State v. Holmes, AC 43632
    • United States
    • Appellate Court of Connecticut
    • December 14, 2021
    ...the same offense, thereby placing a defendant who is prosecuted under both statutes in double jeopardy. See State v. Tinsley , 340 Conn. 425, 432, 264 A.3d 560 (2021). "The applicable rule is that where the same act or transaction constitutes a violation of 267 A.3d 356 two distinct statuto......
  • State v. Daniels, SC 20376
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • March 29, 2022
    ...to commit the crime of intentional manslaughter without committing the crime of reckless manslaughter. See, e.g., State v. Tinsley , 340 Conn. 425, 435–36, 264 A.3d 560 (2021) (one offense is not lesser included offense of another if it is possible to commit alleged greater crime without co......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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