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State v. O'Donnell

Court of Appeals of Connecticut

July 18, 2017

STATE OF CONNECTICUT
v.
GERALD O'DONNELL

          Argued January 9, 2017

         Procedural History

         Substitute information charging the defendant with two counts each of the crimes of tampering with a witness and perjury, and with the crime of bribery of a witness, brought to the Superior Court in the judicial district of Toll and, where the court, Graham, J., granted the state's motion to quash; thereafter, the matter was tried to the jury; subsequently, the court granted the defendant's motion for a judgment of acquittal as to one count of tampering with a witness and denied the defendant's motion for a mistrial; verdict of guilty of bribery of a witness and one count of tampering with a witness; thereafter, the court denied the defendant's motion to set aside the verdict and rendered judgment in accordance with the verdict, from which the defendant appealed to this court. Affirmed.

         Appeal from Superior Court, judicial district of Tolland, Graham, J

          Richard Emanuel, for the appellant (defendant).

          Melissa Patterson, assistant state's attorney, with whom, on the brief, were Matthew C. Gedansky, state's attorney, and Marcia A. Pillsbury, assistant state's attorney, for the appellee (state).

          DiPentima, C. J., and Beach and Danaher, Js. [*]

         Syllabus

         Convicted of the crimes of bribery of a witness and tampering with a witness, the defendant appealed to this court. He claimed, inter alia, that the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction because the state failed to prove both that he intended to bribe a witness, S, when he purchased a television for her, or that he induced or attempted to induce her to testify falsely in a prior proceeding. The defendant, a private investigator, had been assisting attorneys for two men, G and T, who, in 2003, filed petitions for writs of habeas corpus seeking a new trial after having been convicted in 1995 of various crimes, including murder, in connection with the 1993 robbery of a retail store and the shooting death of its owner. S, who was a key witness in the criminal trial of G and T, testified that G and T were at the store on the morning of the murder. Prior to the criminal trial, S, in 1993, gave the police two written statements in which she averred that she was in the vicinity of the store on the morning of the robbery and murder, and identified G and T as having been involved in the incident. Later in 1993, S gave testimony at a hearing in probable cause that was consistent with the events she had described in her first written statement and with her later testimony in the 1995 criminal trial. In 2006, S gave the defendant a signed statement in which she recanted the testimony that she gave in the criminal trial and averred that she had not been present at the scene at the time of the murder and that her prior statements were untrue. The defendant thereafter drove S to visit her mother and to medical appointments, bought her food and a television, helped pay her rent and gave her money that she used to purchase a stereo. The defendant also told S that he did not think that G and T were guilty of the murder, and that she might be able to obtain money in the future, depending on the outcome of G's and T's habeas trial. At the habeas trial in 2009, S testified that she lied in the written statements that she gave to the police in 1993, and in her testimony both at the hearing in probable cause and at the criminal trial. After the habeas court rendered judgments granting G's and T's habeas petitions, the Supreme Court reversed the judgments and remanded the matter for a new habeas trial. In preparation for the second habeas trial, the police in 2011 met with S, who told the police that the defendant had convinced her that her testimony in the 1995 criminal trial was wrong and that she should not speak with the state. Although S told the police that she would testify truthfully in the second habeas trial and confirm the testimony that she gave in G's and T's criminal trial, she asserted her fifth amendment privilege in the second habeas trial and did not testify. The habeas court thereafter denied the habeas petition.

         Held:

1. The evidence was sufficient to support the defendant's conviction of bribery of a witness, as the jury reasonably could have found that the defendant intended to bribe S when he purchased the television for her; although S's 2006 recantation to the defendant predated his 2007 purchase of the television, the jury reasonably could have found that he gave the television to S with the intent to influence her testimony at the first habeas trial and to ensure that she testified consistent with her 2006 recantation, as the defendant knew that S had given different accounts as to where she was on the morning of the murder, he helped her pay her rent and gave her money that she used to purchase the stereo, and, after her recantation to him, he drove her to different locations, bought her candy and pizza, and told her that she might be able to obtain money depending on the outcome of the first habeas trial.
2. The defendant's conviction of tampering with a witness was supported by sufficient evidence demonstrating that he induced S to testify falsely in the first habeas trial: contrary to the defendant's claim, the jury was presented with evidence from which it could have concluded that S testified truthfully in 1993 and 1995, and that the defendant had induced S to testify falsely in 2009, as S testified at both the hearing in probable cause in 1993 and the criminal trial in a manner that was consistent with her 1993 written statements to the police, in which she stated that she was in the vicinity of the store at the time of the murder and identified G and T as having been involved in the incident, and testimony from other witnesses supported the assertions that S made in 1993 and 1995; moreover, the defendant's unpreserved claim that the ‘‘one-witness-plus-corroboration'' rule that is applicable to perjury prosecutions should apply to his conviction of witness tampering was not review-able, as the claim was not of constitutional magnitude and, thus, not reviewable pursuant to a sufficiency of the evidence analysis, and, nevertheless, there was sufficient evidence of corroboration for the jury reasonably to conclude that the defendant induced or attempted to induce S to testify falsely at the first habeas trial.
3. The trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying the defendant's motion to set aside the verdict, in which he claimed that the evidence was confusing and was presented by the state in a one-sided manner in order to establish that S's 1993 and 1995 version of the events at issue was true; although the defendant claimed that the jury returned its verdict without having had access to highly relative and material information in the transcripts of S's 2006 recantation and her 2009 testimony in the first habeas trial, the defendant cross-examined a state's witness about S's 2006 statement and marked it as a defense exhibit for identification only but did not seek to have it admitted as a full exhibit, he provided no authority that required the state to offer and the court to admit into evidence S's 2009 habeas trial testimony, S's testimony at the first habeas trial was consistent with her testimony at the defendant's trial, and the jury did not send to the court any notes during deliberations indicating that it was confused by the court's jury instructions as to S's prior statements.
4. The defendant could not prevail on his unpreserved claim that the trial court improperly failed to include in its jury charge on witness tampering an instruction regarding the ‘‘one-witness-plus-corroboration'' rule, which has been adopted for perjury prosecutions: that court properly charged the jury regarding the elements of tampering with a witness, and even if the ‘‘one-witness-plus-corroboration'' rule applied to this case, there was sufficient corroboration evidence for the jury reasonably to conclude that the defendant induced or attempted to induce S to testify falsely in the first habeas trial; accordingly, the trial court's failure to charge the jury on the ‘‘one-witness-plus-corroboration'' rule did not constitute plain error, and this court declined to exercise its supervisory authority over the administration of justice to require trial courts to instruct juries regarding that rule in cases such as the present one.
5. The defendant could not prevail on his claim that the trial court erred when it permitted S to invoke her fifth amendment privilege in front of the jury and refused his request to have her testify, instead, in a proffer outside of the jury's presence concerning her invocation of that privilege; notwithstanding the defendant's assertion that the state had reason to believe S would invoke her fifth amendment privilege, the record showed that the parties and the court assumed that S would invoke the privilege and that the state would immunize her, the state did not attempt to build its case out of inferences arising from the privilege and did not advocate for S to invoke the privilege in the jury's presence, the defendant had the opportunity to cross-examine S when she continued testifying after she invoked the privilege and received immunity, and the jury, which already had heard evidence indicating that on prior occasions S had given conflicting testimony and had invoked her fifth amendment privilege in the second habeas trial, reasonably could have inferred that S invoked the privilege to protect herself from criminal prosecution and not because there was a connection between her possible criminal conduct and the defendant's possible criminal conduct.
6. The trial court did not abuse its discretion when it granted the state's motion to quash the defendant's subpoena for information related to the witness protection program, as the subpoena was overly broad in that it sought records pertaining to all benefits provided by the witness protection program, rather than records supporting a claim that benefits had been provided with the intent to alter testimony or to induce false testimony, and it sought information that was protected from disclosure by the witness protection statute (§ 54-82t [j]); moreover, although the defendant claimed that the conduct of his defense team was not materially different from that of the state in administering the witness protection program, and that the court, by quashing his subpoena, impaired his right to present a defense, including a selective prosecution claim, the purpose of that program is to protect witnesses from harm, whereas the offenses with which the defendant was charged involved altering testimony or inducing false testimony from a witness, and he presented no evidence that he was similarly situated to the individuals who administer the witness protection program for purposes of his selective prosecution claim.

          OPINION

          DANAHER, J.

         The defendant, Gerald O'Donnell, appeals from the judgment of conviction, rendered after a jury trial, of bribery of a witness in violation of General Statutes § 53a-149 and tampering with a witness in violation of General Statutes § 53a-151. On appeal, the defendant claims that (1) the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction, (2) the trial court erred in refusing to set aside the guilty verdict as being against the weight of the evidence, (3) the court erred in instructing the jury on the elements of tampering with a witness, (4) the court erred in denying the defendant's request for a witness to testify, in a proffer, outside the presence of the jury, and (5) the court erred in granting the state's motion to quash the defendant's subpoena requesting information and materials related to the witness protection program. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

         This appeal comes before this court following extensive litigation involving the murder of Eugenio Vega, the owner of La Casa Green, a retail store on Grand Avenue in New Haven, in the early morning hours of July 4, 1993. An understanding of the facts and procedural history involving the prior litigation, as the jury reasonably could have found, is necessary in order to understand fully the issues presented in the defendant's appeal.

         On the morning of Vega's murder, Pamela Youmans went to La Casa Green to make a purchase. Vega was alive when Youmans left the store. After Youmans left but while she was still in the vicinity of La Casa Green, she tossed a coin over her shoulder and a woman with a limp picked it up.[1] That same morning, Mary Boyd walked by La Casa Green and observed two black males inside the store. One of the males was taller than the other. Later that morning, when Boyd went into the store to make a purchase, Vega was not there and did not respond when Boyd called him, so Boyd called 911. Boyd then took some quarters, cigarettes and food stamps and left before the police arrived because she knew that there was an outstanding warrant for her arrest. When the police responded to the call, they discovered Vega, who had been shot and was deceased, with his hands tied behind his back.

         The New Haven Police Department questioned Doreen Stiles in the course of the investigation into Vega's murder. Stiles provided two written statements to the New Haven Police Department. In her first statement, dated July 29, 1993, Stiles described how she was in the vicinity of Vega's store on the morning of the murder when she saw a black male enter the store. Because the man frightened her, Stiles hid next door between the store and an alleyway, where she heard arguing from inside and someone asking Vega for money and to open the safe. She then heard a gunshot and saw two black males leave the store.[2] In her statement of July 29, 1993, Stiles identified George M. Gould as one of the individuals coming out of the store on the date of the murder. On August 2, 1993, Stiles gave a second written statement in which she identified Ronald Taylor as the other individual involved in the incident. At a probable cause hearing on October 14, 1993, Stiles testified consistently with her July 29, 1993 statement to the police. She also testified that she saw Boyd in the vicinity of the store on the morning of the murder. At the criminal trial of Gould and Taylor in January, 1995, Stiles, who testified that she had a disability in her leg, identified Taylor and Gould as being present at Vega's store on the morning of his murder.[3] Following a jury trial, Taylor and Gould were each convicted of felony murder in violation of General Statutes § 53a-54c, robbery in the first degree in violation of General Statutes §§ 53a-134 (a) (2) and 53a-8, attempt to commit robbery in the first degree in violation of General Statutes §§ 53a-134 (a) (2), 53a-8 and 53a-49, and conspiracy to commit robbery in the first degree in violation of General Statutes §§ 53a-48 (a) and 53a-134 (a) (2).[4] Our Supreme Court affirmed the judgments of the trial court, with the exception of Taylor's conviction of attempt to commit robbery in the first degree.[5] State v. Gould, 241 Conn. 1, 24, 695 A.2d 1022 (1997).

         In 2003, following their convictions, Taylor and Gould filed petitions for writs of habeas corpus. At that time, Taylor was represented by Attorney Peter Tsimbidaros and Gould was represented by Attorney Joseph Visone. The defendant was assisting Tsimbidaros and Visone as a private investigator. The defendant previously had worked as an inspector with the New Haven state's attorney's office. At some point, the defendant went to see Stiles, who was in a nursing home in Manchester undergoing rehabilitation for her legs, and indicated that he was investigating Vega's murder. They spoke briefly and, upon questioning by the defendant, Stiles told the defendant that she was not present at the scene at the time of the murder.[6] On December 6, 2006, Stiles gave a signed statement to the defendant in which she indicated that her prior statements regarding the murder had been untrue.

         Following the defendant's initial meeting with Stiles at the nursing home, the defendant continued to visit Stiles approximately once a week for ‘‘a year, maybe more.'' During those visits, the defendant came to the nursing home and checked to make sure he knew where Stiles was and kept her informed about the case. On two occasions during this period of time, the defendant drove Stiles to visit her mother. He also drove her to doctor appointments and bought her pizza and candy. On May 12, 2007, the defendant purchased a television and service plan for Stiles for a total of $204.43. He also gave Stiles money that she used to buy a stereo and told her that she might be able to obtain money in the future depending on the outcome of Taylor's and Gould's habeas trial.[7]

         In 2009, Stiles left the nursing home and moved into a motel with her husband, where she lived for approximately one year. During this time, the defendant periodically visited the motel to make sure that Stiles still lived there and to tell her what was happening with the trial. When Stiles was living in the motel, the defendant took her to visit her mother. Stiles and her husband usually paid the monthly rent of $930 at the motel. There were ‘‘a couple of months, '' however, when the defendant helped to pay the rent.[8] During this time, the defendant told Stiles that Taylor and Gould were trying to get a new trial, and that he did not think they were guilty of Vega's murder. According to Stiles, she and the defendant had become friends and they sometimes discussed their personal lives.

         On August 3, 2009, Taylor's and Gould's habeas trial began. At that trial, Stiles testified that she had lied about seeing Taylor and Gould when she gave the two prior statements to the police in 1993, in her testimony at the probable cause hearing in 1993 and in her 1995 criminal trial testimony.[9] On March 17, 2010, the habeas court, Fuger, J., granted the habeas petitions, concluding that Taylor and Gould had met their burden of proof with regard to their claim of actual innocence.[10] On July 19, 2011, our Supreme Court reversed the judgments of the habeas court and remanded the matters for a new habeas trial.[11] Gould v. Commissioner of Correction, 301 Conn. 544, 571, 22 A.3d 1196 (2011).

         Once the habeas trial ended, the defendant no longer visited with or spoke to Stiles. This surprised Stiles because prior to the trial, their friendship had been ‘‘somewhat consistent'' and he had told her that he would stay in touch with her. After the habeas trial in 2009, Stiles and her husband moved from the motel to an apartment in New Haven. On July 6, 2011, Stephen Coppola, a detective with the New Haven Police Department, and Edwin Rodriguez, an inspector with the chief state's attorney's office, went to see Stiles at her apartment in New Haven to verify her address for the second habeas trial that was coming up.[12] She accompanied them to the New Haven Police Department, where she indicated that the defendant had ‘‘gotten inside [her] head'' and overwhelmed her when he talked about the trial.[13] Stiles indicated that the defendant had convinced her that her testimony in the previous trial was wrong and that she ‘‘didn't see what she saw.'' Finally, Stiles informed Coppola and Rodriguez that the defendant had provided her with a television and stereo. On July 13, 2011, John H. Bannon, Jr., an inspector with the chief state's attorney's office, went to Stiles' apartment to talk to her regarding the statements she had made to the other inspectors. While he was there, Bannon took photographs of a television and stereo. At that meeting, Stiles told Bannon that the defendant had told her not to speak with the state at all and that the defendant continually was harassing and bothering her.

         The second habeas trial began on March 19, 2012. Because Taylor had died in 2011, the second habeas petition proceeded as to Gould only. Tsimbidaros and Visone both represented Gould at the second habeas trial. In preparation for the second habeas trial, Visone, Tsimbidaros and the defendant met with Stiles at her apartment in New Haven on April 11 or 12, 2012. As Tsimbidaros, Visone and the defendant were leaving Stiles' apartment, the defendant shook his head and said, in response to a question by Tsimbidaros, ‘‘the places we've had to go and the things we've had to do, you don't want to know.''

         On May 7, 2012, prior to the conclusion of the second habeas trial, the police executed a search warrant at Stiles' apartment and recovered the television and stereo. That same date, the police arrested the defendant at his home. On May 23, 2012, Bannon served a subpoena on Stiles to testify at the second habeas trial. At that time, Stiles told Bannon that she was going to tell the truth and confirm her original trial testimony. At the second habeas trial, however, Stiles asserted her fifth amendment privilege and did not testify. On September 18, 2012, the second habeas judge, Sferrazza, J., denied the second habeas petition.[14]

         In this case, the defendant was initially charged with one count of bribery of a witness, in violation of § 53a-149, and two counts of tampering with a witness in violation of § 53a-151. The state subsequently filed a substitute information that added two counts of perjury in violation of General Statutes § 53a-156. Following a jury trial in 2013, the defendant was found guilty of bribery of a witness and one count of tampering with a witness.[15] As a result of his conviction, the defendant was sentenced to a total effective term of four years of incarceration. The defendant then filed the present appeal.

         I

         The defendant first argues that the evidence was insufficient to establish his guilt of the crimes charged. With regard to the bribery charge, the defendant argues that the state failed to prove that his act of purchasing a television for Stiles on May 12, 2007 was performed with the specific intent to influence her testimony at the habeas hearing in 2009. With regard to the tampering with a witness charge, the defendant first argues that the state failed to prove that he induced or attempted to induce Stiles to testify falsely. The defendant further argues that the state failed to satisfy the ‘‘one-witness-plus-corroboration'' standard of proof.

         Before considering the defendant's specific claims, we set forth the applicable standard of review. ‘‘The two part test this court applies in reviewing the sufficiency of the evidence supporting a criminal conviction is well established. 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.'' (Internal quotation marks omitted.) State v. Lewis, 303 Conn. 760, 767, 36 A.3d 670 (2012). ‘‘This court cannot substitute its own judgment for that of the [finder of fact] if there is sufficient evidence to support the [finder of fact's] verdict.'' (Internal quotation marks omitted.) State v. Andriulaitis, 169 Conn.App. 286, 292, 150 A.3d 720 (2016).

         A

         We first consider the defendant's claim that the evidence was insufficient to establish that he was guilty of bribery of a witness in violation of § 53a-149. That statute provides: ‘‘A person is guilty of bribery of a witness if he offers, confers or agrees to confer upon a witness any benefit to influence the testimony or conduct of such witness in, or in relation to, an official proceeding.'' General Statutes § 53a-149 (a). To obtain a conviction under § 53a-149 (a), ‘‘[t]he state . . . was required to establish the following: (1) that the defendant offered, conferred or agreed to confer a benefit, (2) to a witness, (3) with the intent of influencing the witness' testimony or conduct in relation to an official proceeding.'' (Internal quotation marks omitted.) State v. Brantley, 164 Conn.App. 459, 472, 138 A.3d 347, cert. denied, 321 Conn. 918, 136 A.3d 1276 (2016). ‘‘[I]t is unnecessary that the thing offered or given is to induce a witness to testify falsely. It is sufficient if it were given with intent to influence his testimony or conduct. In the common acceptation of the term, the verb influence means to alter, move, sway, or affect. . . . If the promise or payment [was] made with the intent to affect the testimony or conduct of the prospective witness so that he would thereby be induced to testify more or less favorably to a party than he otherwise would have done, an intent to influence within the meaning of the statute exists.'' (Internal quotation marks omitted.) Id., 473.

         ‘‘[I]n determining the defendant's guilt as to the bribery charge, the jury was required to determine what the defendant intended when he made the offer. Intent is a question of fact, the determination of which should stand unless the conclusion drawn by the trier is an unreasonable one. . . . Moreover, the [jury is] not bound to accept as true the defendant's claim of lack of intent or his explanation of why he lacked intent. . . Intent may be and usually is inferred from conduct. Of necessity, it must be proved by the statement or acts of the person whose act is being scrutinized and ordinarily it can only be proved by circumstantial evidence.'' (Citation omitted; internal quotation marks omitted.) State v. Davis, 160 Conn.App. 251, 259, 124 A.3d 966, cert. denied, 320 Conn. 901, 127 A.3d 185 (2015).

         In the information, the state alleged that ‘‘on or about May 12, 2007, in the town of Manchester, the defendant conferred a benefit upon a witness to influence the witness' testimony in an official proceeding . . . .'' According to the defendant, there was insufficient evidence to establish that the benefit conferred on Stiles on May 12, 2007, was performed with the specific intent to influence Stiles' 2009 testimony in the first habeas trial. We disagree.

         On December 6, 2006, Stiles gave a statement to the defendant recanting her initial trial testimony. On May 12, 2007, the defendant bought Stiles a television and service plan. Although Stiles' December 6, 2006 recantation predated the gift of the television by approximately five months, the jury reasonably could have concluded that the defendant gave the television to Stiles with the intent to influence her testimony at the first habeas trial in 2009. Following the December 6, 2006 recantation, the defendant continued to visit Stiles over the course of the next ‘‘year, maybe more.'' He drove her to visit her mother or to doctor appointments, bought her candy and pizza, and told her that she might be able to obtain money depending on the outcome of the first habeas trial. In addition to the television, the defendant also gave Stiles money that she used to purchase a stereo. He also helped her pay the rent when she lived in a motel. During this time, the defendant told Stiles that Taylor and Gould were trying to get a new trial, and that he did not think they were guilty of Vega's murder. In discussing this case, the defendant made a comment indicating that Visone and Tsimbidaros did not want to know ‘‘the places we've had to go and the things we've had to do . . . .''

         Once the first habeas trial ended the defendant no longer visited Stiles. Stiles later told the police that the defendant had ‘‘gotten inside [her] head'' and had convinced her that her prior testimony was wrong and that she ‘‘didn't see what she saw.'' The defendant knew that Stiles had given different accounts as to where she was on the morning of the murder. Viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to sustaining the verdict, we conclude that the jury reasonably could have found that the defendant purchased the television for Stiles to ensure that she testified consistently with the December 6, 2006 recantation when she testified at the first habeas trial. We conclude, therefore, that the evidence was sufficient to convict the defendant on the charge of bribery of a witness.[16]

         B

         The defendant next argues that the evidence was insufficient to prove that he was guilty of the charge of tampering with a witness in violation of § 53a-151 (a). That statute provides: ‘‘A person is guilty of tampering with a witness if, believing that an official proceeding is pending or about to be instituted, he induces or attempts to induce a witness to testify falsely, withhold testimony, elude legal process summoning him to testify or absent himself from any official proceeding.'' General Statutes § 53a-151 (a). ‘‘[T]he witness tampering statute has two requirements: (1) the defendant believes that an official proceeding is pending or about to be instituted; and (2) the defendant induces or attempts to induce a witness to engage in the proscribed conduct.'' State v. Ortiz, 312 Conn. 551, 562, 93 A.3d 1128 (2014).

         ‘‘The language of § 53a-151 plainly warns potential perpetrators that the statute applies to any conduct that is intended to prompt a witness to testify falsely . . . in an official proceeding that the perpetrator believes to be pending or imminent. . . . A defendant is guilty of tampering with a witness if he intends that his conduct directly cause a particular witness to testify falsely . . . . So interpreted, § 53a-151 applies to conduct intentionally undertaken to undermine the veracity of testimony given by a witness. . . . The statute applies to successful as well a sun successful attempts to induce a witness to render false testimony.'' (Citations omitted; emphasis in original; internal quotation marks omitted.) State v. Carolina, 143 Conn.App. 438, 444, 69 A.3d 341, cert. denied, 310 Conn. 904, 75 A.3d 31 (2013).

         In the information, the state alleged that ‘‘on diverse dates . . . from May, 2007 through August, 2009, in the town of Manchester, when he believed that an official proceeding was pending, the defendant induced or attempted to induce a witness to testify falsely in that official proceeding . . . .'' According to the defendant, it is uncertain whether Stiles was truthful in 1993 and 1995 (when she gave statements and testified about seeing Gould and Taylor at La Casa Green at the time of Vega's murder), or whether she was truthful in 2006, 2009 and 2013 (when she made statements and testified that she had lied in 1993 and 1995, and was not present and did not see Gould and Taylor at La Casa Green at the time of Vega's murder). The defendant argues that he believes that Stiles lied in 1993 and 1995, when she inculpated Gould and Taylor, and that she told the truth in 2006, 2009 and 2013, when she exculpated Gould and Taylor. Absent evidence that Stiles was truthful in 1993 and 1995, the defendant argues that the jury could not reasonably have concluded that the defendant specifically intended and induced her to testify falsely in 2009. We disagree.

         The jury was presented with the following evidence from which it reasonably could have concluded that Stiles testified truthfully in 1993 and 1995, and that the defendant induced Stiles to testify falsely in 2009. Following Vega's murder in 1993, Stiles gave two written statements to the police in which she stated that she was in the vicinity of the store at the time of the murder, and she identified Gould and Taylor as the individuals involved in the incident. She testified consistently with these statements at the probable cause hearing in 1993 and the criminal trial in 1995. Youmans testified that she saw a woman with a limp in the vicinity of the store on the morning of the murder. Stiles testified at the criminal trial in 1995 that she has a disability in her leg and cannot move quickly. After Gould and Taylor were convicted in 1995, the defendant, who previously had worked with the New Haven state's attorney's office, visited Stiles in his capacity as an investigator for Visone and Tsimbidaros, the attorneys for Gould and Taylor in the first habeas action. After a very brief conversation, the defendant stated: ‘‘[Y]ou really weren't there, were you?'' In response to this question, Stiles responded that she was not there and gave a signed statement indicating that her prior statements were untrue. The defendant then followed up with weekly visits to Stiles in which he ...


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