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State v. Fudge

Court of Appeals of Connecticut

February 13, 1990

STATE of Connecticut
v.
Dolphus FUDGE.

Argued Dec. 5, 1989.

Page 1146

John T. Walkley, Sp. Public Defender, for appellant (defendant).

Vincent J. Dooley, Deputy Asst. State's Atty., with whom, on the brief, was Michael Dearington, State's Atty., for appellee (state).

Before DUPONT, C.J., and EDWARD Y. O'CONNELL and LAVERY, JJ.

EDWARD Y. [20 Conn.App. 666] O'CONNELL, Judge.

The defendant appeals from the judgment of conviction, after a jury trial, of the crimes of robbery in the first degree in violation of General Statutes §§ 531-134(a)(4) and 53a-8, larceny in the first degree in violation of General Statutes §§ 53a-119, 53a-122(a)(2) and 53a-8, and conspiracy to commit robbery in the first degree in violation of General Statutes §§ 53a-48(a) and 53a-134(a)(4). The defendant claims (1) that the evidence was insufficient to sustain the verdict, (2) that his simultaneous convictions for robbery in the first degree and conspiracy to commit robbery in the first degree violated his double jeopardy rights, and (3) that the court erred in instructing the jury on accomplice liability. We find no error.

The charges against the defendant relate to an armed robbery of a bank in New Haven on June 30, 1983. Testimony at trial by the state's key witness showed that the defendant helped to plan the crime but did not participate in the actual robbery,

Page 1147

which was committed by two other participants. The robbery and larceny convictions were based on General Statutes § 53a-8, which provides for accessorial liability. Additional facts are included in the discussion of the first issue.

I

The defendant first argues that the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions for larceny in the first degree and robbery in the first degree. [1] In reviewing a sufficiency of evidence claim, we give the evidence the construction most favorable to sustaining the verdict. State v. Ruth, 16 Conn.App. 148, 153-54, 547 A.2d 548 (1988), cert. denied, 209 Conn. 827, 552 A.2d [20 Conn.App. 667] 434 (1989). We then determine if any rational trier of fact could have found the essential elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. State v. Kelly, 208 Conn. 365, 386, 545 A.2d 1048 (1988).

The state proceeded under the theory that the defendant was guilty as an accessory to the crimes of robbery in the first degree and larceny in the first degree and not that he directly participated in their commission. See General Statutes § 53a-8. [2] In support of this theory, the jury could reasonably have found the following facts. The robbery was planned in the apartment of the state's key witness. The defendant arrived at the apartment the day Before the robbery, accompanied by the men later convicted of committing the holdup. The defendant and the others had driven from New York in a van that the witness believed belonged to the defendant. That evening, the defendant and the others discussed the robbery, and the defendant, who was older than the others, did most of the talking. It was decided that the defendant would drive the getaway car while the others entered the bank. The conspirators also decided that they would plant a fake bomb in another location in order to distract the police while the robbery was in progress.

The defendant was present when the fake bomb was prepared. In addition, the next day he twice instructed the witness to call a local television station and report the bomb threat. After the call was made, the defendant and the robbers left the witness' apartment together.

The defendant does not dispute the sufficiency of the evidence to convict the other men of the actual robbery[20 Conn.App. 668] and larceny. He claims instead that the state failed to show that he intended that conduct constituting a crime be performed.

To justify a conviction as an accessory, the state must prove both that the defendant had the intent to aid the principal and that, in so aiding, he had the intent to commit the crime. State v. Foster, 202 Conn. 520, 525-26, 522 A.2d 277 (1987); In re Elieser C., 14 Conn.App. 445, 449, 541 A.2d 528 (1988). " 'Mere presence as an inactive companion, passive acquiescence, or the doing of innocent acts which may in fact aid the one who commits the crime must be distinguished from the criminal intent and community of unlawful purpose shared by one who knowingly and willingly assists the perpetrator of the offense in the acts which prepare for, facilitate, or consummate it. State v. Laffin, 155 Conn. 531, 536, 235 A.2d 650 (1967).' " State v. Smith, 15 Conn.App. 122, 127, 543 A.2d 301 (1988).

It is the duty of the jury to determine what inferences may properly be drawn from the evidence. State v. Smith,212 Conn. 593, 602-603, 563 A.2d 671 (1989). We conclude that, on the basis of ...


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