Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

State v. Jusino

Appellate Court of Connecticut

March 8, 2016

STATE OF CONNECTICUT
v.
JOSE JUSINO

         Argued December 8, 2015.

         As Corrected March 28, 2016.

          Substitute information charging the defendant with the crimes of murder and capital felony, brought to the Superior Court in the judicial district of Tolland, where the state filed notice of the aggravating factor that it intended to prove during the penalty phase of the proceedings; thereafter, the guilt phase of the proceedings was tried to the jury before Mullarkey, J.; verdict of guilty; subsequently, in the penalty phase of the proceedings, the jury found that the state did not prove the existence of the aggravating factor beyond a reasonable doubt; judgment of guilty; thereafter, the court vacated the conviction of murder, and the defendant appealed.

          SYLLABUS

         Convicted of the crimes of murder and capital felony in connection with the death of his cellmate in a correctional facility, the defendant appealed. The defendant previously had pleaded guilty to a charge of murder and was imprisoned on that conviction at the time of the victim's death. The defendant had asphyxiated the victim in their cell and thereafter carved his street name into the victim's chest. The defendant later admitted to correction officers and the police that he had killed the victim. At the defendant's trial before a jury, the state sought the death penalty. In the first phase of the trial, the jury found the defendant guilty of murder after the trial court had declined his request to instruct the jury on the affirmative defense of extreme emotional disturbance. Thereafter, he was tried on the capital felony charge, which required for a finding of guilt that the state prove as an essential element of that charge that he previously had been convicted of murder. During the capital felony trial, the court precluded the defendant from presenting evidence to collaterally attack the prior murder conviction for which he was imprisoned at the time of his cellmate's death. The defendant claimed that he was guilty only of manslaughter because he had lacked the specific intent to kill, and further claimed that his attorney had rendered ineffective assistance by failing to investigate evidence that would have shown the lack of specific intent. The jury thereafter found the defendant guilty of capital felony and, in the third phase of the trial, found that the state had failed to prove the existence of an aggravating factor so as to warrant the death penalty. The court thereafter rendered judgment on the jury's guilty verdict. On appeal to this court, the defendant claimed, inter alia, that the trial court improperly had infringed on his right to present a defense to the capital felony charge by precluding him from introducing evidence to attack the prior murder conviction that had resulted from his guilty plea. Held :

         1. The trial court did not abuse its discretion in precluding the defendant from presenting evidence during the trial on the capital felony charge to collaterally attack the validity of his prior conviction of intentional murder that had resulted from his guilty plea, as that evidence was not relevant to rebut the evidence that the state had presented to prove that he previously had been convicted of intentional murder; contrary to the defendant's claim, the court did not relieve the state of its burden to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he previously had been convicted of murder, and his assertion regarding ineffective assistance of counsel did not permit him to relitigate the facts and circumstances of the prior murder conviction by essentially having a habeas trial before the jury.

         2. The trial court properly declined the defendant's request to instruct the jury on the affirmative defense of extreme emotional disturbance prior to its deliberations on the murder charge, as the evidence was insufficient for the jury to find that he had established that defense; a review of the evidence established that the defendant had carefully planned the attack on the victim, that his anger at the victim at the time of the killing amounted to nothing more than unhappiness or annoyance, that the defendant's self-control and ability to reason had not been overcome by extreme emotion, and that his admissions to correction officers and the police that he had killed the victim exhibited a consciousness of guilt.

         Pamela S. Nagy, assistant public defender, for the appellant (defendant).

         Bruce R. Lockwood, senior assistant state's attorney, with whom, on the brief, were Matthew C. Gedansky, state's attorney, and Andrew Reed Durham, assistant state's attorney, for the appellee (state).

         Gruendel, Lavine and Prescott, Js. LAVINE, J. In this opinion the other judges concurred.

          OPINION

          [163 Conn.App. 619] LAVINE, J.

          The defendant, Jose Jusino, appeals from the judgment of conviction, rendered after a jury trial, of murder in violation of General Statutes § 53a-54a and [163 Conn.App. 620] capital felony in violation of General Statutes (Rev. to 2009) § 53a-54b (3).[1] Section 53a-54b provides in relevant part: " A person is guilty of a capital felony who is convicted of . . . (3) murder committed by one who has previously been convicted of intentional murder . . . ." At the time of the murder, the defendant was serving a thirty year sentence after having pleaded guilty in 2006 to a prior charge of murder in violation of § 53a-54a. On appeal, the defendant claims that the trial court (1) deprived him of his constitutional right to due process and a fair trial under the fifth, sixth, and fourteenth amendments by precluding him from introducing evidence at the guilt stage of the capital felony trial to collaterally attack his prior murder conviction; and (2) erred in declining to instruct the jury on the affirmative defense of extreme emotional disturbance. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

         The following facts, which the jury reasonably could have found, and procedural history are relevant to this appeal. Prior to and on July 29, 2009, the defendant was incarcerated at the Northern Correctional Institution pursuant to his 2006 conviction of murder in violation of § 53a-54a. He shared a cell with Reynaldo Robles (victim). On July 29, 2009, the defendant told Correction Officer John Latulippe that the victim was " not waking up . . . ." Correction officers entered the cell and found the unresponsive victim with his hands bound with cloth strips torn from bedsheets The victim had wounds to his chest that spelled out " King Guala." Guala was the defendant's street name, and the defendant used the word " King" to demonstrate his desire to change gang affiliations. The medical staff rendered emergency treatment to the victim and transported him [163 Conn.App. 621] to Johnson Memorial Hospital in Stafford where he was pronounced dead on arrival. A state medical examiner, Frank Evangelista, determined that the death was a homicide and the cause of death was asphyxia by neck compression. Evangelista also determined that the words had been carved into the victim's chest postmortem.

         Correction Officers Tony Williams, Edwin Diaz, and Chris Blais each testified that the defendant admitted to them that he killed the victim. The warden, Angel Quiros, read into evidence the defendant's inmate request form in which the defendant admitted that he killed the victim and wanted to change his gang affiliation. The defendant also gave a written statement to state police Detective Priscilla Vining, confessing that he killed the victim. The defendant was charged with murder in violation of § 53a-54a, and capital felony in violation of § 53a-54b (3), as he had previously been convicted of intentional murder. The state intended to seek the death penalty.

         The trial in this case proceeded in three stages. The defendant was first tried and found guilty of murder in violation of § 53a-54a. The capital felony charge was then tried. The state presented evidence that the defendant previously had been convicted of murder and, thus, was guilty of a capital felony in violation of § 53a-54b (3). The jury found the defendant guilty of capital felony. During the final phase of trial, the penalty phase, the state sought the death penalty by attempting to prove as an aggravating factor that the defendant had committed the murder in an especially heinous, cruel, or depraved manner. General Statutes § 53a-46a (i) (4). The jury found that the state had not proven the aggravating factor. On April 8, 2013, the court sentenced the defendant to ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.