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State v. Wiggins

Appellate Court of Connecticut

September 8, 2015

STATE OF CONNECTICUT
v.
KIPP MENDEZ WIGGINS

Argued May 14, 2015

Information charging the defendant with criminal violation of a protective order, brought to the Superior Court in the judicial district of Litchfield, geographical area number eighteen, and tried to the jury before Marano, J.; thereafter, the court denied the defendant's motion for judgment of acquittal; verdict and judgment of guilty, from which the defendant appealed to this court.

SYLLABUS

Convicted, after a jury trial, of the crime of criminal violation of a protective order, the defendant appealed to this court. The defendant previously had been charged with the crimes of criminal trespass in the third degree and stalking, arising out of prior unwelcome contact with the complainant, with whom the defendant was acquainted. Following his arrest on those charges, the trial court issued a protective order against the defendant and in favor of the complainant requiring, inter alia, that he refrain from coming within 100 yards of the complainant. The order was to remain in effect until the final disposition of that case or until further order of the court. While that case was pending, the defendant slowly rode his bicycle by the complainant's residence as she was in her car in her driveway, which was no more than fifty-five feet from the defendant, and he made eye contact with her and smiled. After the defendant left, the complainant called the police. The defendant later told the responding officer that he knew he was not supposed to be there or near the complainant. At trial, the clerk of the court that issued the protective order testified that, in the court's usual course of business, the defendant would have received notice of the protective order when he was arraigned on the pending charges. The defendant moved for judgment of acquittal, alleging that the state had failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he had actual notice of the protective order and its terms. The trial court denied the motion, and the defendant appealed to this court.

Held :

1. Contrary to the defendant's claim, this court did not need to decide whether the state prove must prove beyond reasonable doubt that a defendant had actual notice of the protective order and its terms in order to prove criminal violation of a protective order, as the state presented sufficient evidence in this case for the jury to determine beyond reasonable doubt that the defendant had such notice; the responding officer testified that the defendant had stated that he knew he was not supposed to go near the complainant and the jury reasonably could have inferred that the defendant's knowledge of this fact stemmed from the restrictions in the protective order and not some other source, and the jury could have inferred from the testimony of the court clerk that the standard courthouse procedure had been followed in the defendant's case and that he had received notice of the protective order at his arraignment.

2. The defendant could not prevail on his claim that the complainant's testimony was not credible as a matter of law, as the issue of her credibility was a question of fact for the jury to determine and this court would not revisit the jury's credibility determinations.

Michael Zariphes, assigned counsel, for the appellant (defendant).

Kelli N. Ford, certified legal intern, with whom were Nancy L. Chupak, senior assistant state's attorney, and, on the brief, David S. Shepak, state's attorney, and Devin T. Stilson, supervisory assistant state's attorney, for the appellee (state).

DiPentima, C. J., and Prescott and Bear, Js.

OPINION

Page 903

[159 Conn.App. 599] PRESCOTT, J.

The defendant, Kipp Mendez Wiggins, appeals from the judgment of conviction, rendered after [159 Conn.App. 600] a jury trial, of one count of criminal violation of a protective order in violation of General Statutes § 53a-223.[1] On appeal, the defendant claims that the trial court improperly denied his motion for judgment of acquittal. Specifically, he argues that (1) there was insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant had actual notice of the protective order and its terms; and (2) the complainant's " testimony was incredible as a matter of law." We affirm the judgment of the court.

The following facts, which the jury reasonably could have found, and procedural history are relevant to our discussion. The defendant and the female complainant were acquainted to each other prior to the underlying incident. The defendant had visited the complainant's place of residence and work where he would leave gifts and " many notes" for her.[2] On December 2, 2009, the complainant encountered the defendant in the driveway of her ...


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