Argued April 20, 2015
Substitute information charging the defendant with the crimes of murder, assault in the first degree by means of the discharge of a firearm and carrying a pistol or revolver without a permit, brought to the Superior Court in the judicial district of New Haven and tried to the jury before B. Fischer, J.; verdict and judgment of guilty of the lesser included offense of manslaughter in the first degree and carrying a pistol or revolver without a permit, from which the defendant appealed to this court.
Convicted of the crimes of manslaughter in the first degree as a lesser offense included within the crime of murder and carrying a pistol or revolver without a permit in connection with the shooting death of the victim, the defendant appealed to this court. The defendant's conviction stemmed from an incident in which he shot two individuals, who had attacked him and were shot as they were running away. Although the defendant had raised a claim of self-defense at trial, the jury returned a verdict of guilty of manslaughter in the first degree. On appeal, the defendant claimed that the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction of manslaughter in the first degree and that the trial court improperly rejected his proposed jury instructions that used the phrase " not guilty" instead of " innocent," which he argued are legally distinct concepts.
1. Contrary to the defendant's claim, there was sufficient evidence to sustain his conviction of manslaughter in the first degree, as a reasonable view of the evidence supported the jury's guilty verdict; the defendant's statutory (§ 53a-19) self-defense claim rested on a competing interpretation of the evidence, which indicated that, contrary to the defendant's testimony, one of the victims did not possess a firearm during the fight, the victims were shot while running away, and the defendant was not injured from the fight, and the jury reasonably could have inferred by crediting the testimony of the state's witnesses that the defendant's alleged belief that deadly force was about to be used against him or that he was going to suffer great bodily harm was unreasonable and, therefore, defeated his self-defense claim.
2. The trial court did not abuse its discretion by charging the jury with the words that the defendant is " presumed to be innocent" and that the defendant does not have to " prove his innocence," as the trial court gave an instruction that was identical to the one that this court recently concluded in State v. Dickson (150 Conn.App. 637, 91 A.3d 958) was correct in law and provided ample guidance to the jury; furthermore, the defendant conceded in his brief that Dickson controlled this issue, and, therefore, this court did not consider the defendant's claim raised at oral argument that Dickson was distinguishable, that claim having been inadequately briefed.
Deren Manasevit, assigned counsel, for the appellant (defendant).
Lisa A. Riggione, senior assistant state's attorney, with whom, on the brief, were Michael Dearington, state's attorney, and Eugene R. Calistro, Jr., senior assistant state's attorney, for the appellee (state).
Alvord, Sheldon and Norcott, Js.
[159 Conn.App. 619] NORCOTT, J.
The defendant, Kmel Kelly Davis, appeals from the judgment of conviction, rendered after a jury trial, of one count of manslaughter in the first degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-55, and one count of carrying a pistol or revolver without a permit in violation of General Statutes § 29-35 (a). The defendant claims on appeal that (1) the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction of first degree manslaughter because the state failed to disprove his claim of self-defense beyond a reasonable doubt; and (2) the trial court improperly rejected his proposed jury [159 Conn.App. 620] instructions on the presumption of innocence and the burden of proof that replaced the word " innocent" with the words " not guilty" in each. We reject both of these claims and, therefore, affirm the judgment of the trial court.
The jury could reasonably have found the following facts. On or about September 30, 2011, in the vicinity of 161 Clay Street, New Haven, Melvin Galloway was shot and killed, and Demetrius Wilkes was also shot, although he survived. That afternoon, before ...