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. Whitnum-Baker

Court of Appeals of Connecticut

November 29, 2016

STATEOF CONNECTICUT
v.
LISA WHITNUM-BAKER

          Argued September 15, 2016

         Appeal from Superior Court, judicial district of Stamford-Norwalk, geographical area number twenty, Wenzel, J.

          Lisa Whitnum-Baker, self-represented, the appellant (defendant).

          Nancy L. Walker, deputy assistant state's attorney, with whom, on the brief, were John C. Smriga, state's attorney, Jacob L. McChesney, former special deputy assistant state's attorney, and John R. Whalen, supervisory assistant state's attorney, for the appellee (state).

          Beach, Sheldon and Gruendel, Js.

          OPINION

          PER CURIAM.

          The defendant, Lisa Whitnum-Baker, [1]appeals from the judgment of conviction, rendered after a trial to the court, of creating a public disturbance in violation of General Statutes § 53a-181a. On appeal, the defendant claims that there was insufficient evidence to convict her of creating a public disturbance. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

         The court reasonably could have found the following facts. On April 24, 2014, the defendant entered the Stamford Courthouse Law Library. After an argument ensued between the defendant and another library patron, the librarian requested assistance from a state marshal, Patrick Valcourt, who was posted in the hallway immediately outside of the library. Valcourt entered the library, observed the defendant arguing loudly, and instructed her to stay away from the other patron. Because the defendant was uncooperative, Valcourt, with other marshals then present, began to escort her out of the library. While being escorted, the defendant began yelling loudly and attempted to bite Valcourt's arm. The supervising marshal who observed the attempted bite then ordered that the defendant be handcuffed and detained. Once the defendant was properly restrained, the marshals escorted her out of the library to the detention area, where she was held until she was arrested by state police on the charge of breach of the peace in the second degree, in violation of General Statutes § 53a-181. The state later filed a substitute information charging the defendant with creating a public disturbance in violation of § 53a-181a.

         On appeal, the defendant claims that there was insufficient evidence to support her conviction for creating a public disturbance in violation of § 53a-181a (a) because the state failed to prove all essential elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. Specifically, the defendant contends that the trial court erred by not crediting her testimony about the events leading up to her arrest, which, she asserts, disproves the state's evidence.[2] We disagree.

         We first set forth our standard of review and the relevant law. ‘‘The appellate standard of review of sufficiency of the evidence claims is well established. In reviewing a sufficiency [of the evidence] claim, we apply a two part test. First, we construe the evidence in the light most favorable to sustaining the verdict. Second, we determine whether upon the facts so construed and the inferences reasonably drawn therefrom the jury reasonably could have concluded that the cumulative force of the evidence established guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. . . .

         ‘‘The evidence must be construed in a light most favorable to sustaining the [court's] verdict. . . . Our review is a fact based inquiry limited to determining whether the inferences drawn by the [fact finder] are so unreasonable as to be unjustifiable. . . . [T]he inquiry into whether the record evidence would support a finding of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt does not require a court to ask itself whether it believes that the evidence . . . established guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. . . . Instead, the relevant question is whether, after viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the prosecution, any rational trier of fact could have found the essential elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. . . .

         ‘‘We do not sit as a [seventh] juror who may cast a vote against the verdict based upon our feeling that some doubt of guilt is shown by the cold printed record. We have not had the [fact finder's] opportunity to observe the conduct, demeanor, and attitude of the witnesses and to gauge their credibility. . . . We are content to rely on the [fact finder's] good sense and judgment.'' (Internal quotation marks omitted.) State v. Serrano, 91 Conn.App. 227, 241-42, 880 A.2d 183, cert. denied, 276 Conn. 908, 884 A.2d 1029 (2005).

         General Statutes § 53a-181a (a) provides: ‘‘A person is guilty of creating a public disturbance when, with intent to cause inconvenience, annoyance or alarm, or recklessly creating a risk thereof, he (1) engages in fighting or in violent, tumultuous or threatening behavior, or (2) annoys or interferes with another person by offensive conduct; or (3) makes unreasonable noise.''

         ‘‘‘Violent' is defined as ‘characterized by extreme force' and ‘furious or vehement to the point of being improper, unjust, or illegal.' . . . ‘Threatening' is defined as a ‘promise [of] punishment' or, ‘to give signs of the approach of (something evil or unpleasant).' . . . When two or more words are grouped together, it is possible to ascertain the meaning of a particular word by reference to its relationship with other associated words and phrases under the doctrine of noscitur a sociis. . . . Placed within the context of the other words in the statute, the word ‘threatening' takes on a more ominous tone. The statute proscribes ‘engaging in fighting or in violent, tumultuous, or threatening behavior.' . . . [T]he language of subdivision (1) . . . ‘violent, tumultuous or threatening behavior, ' evinces a legislative ...


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.