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State v. Louis D.

Court of Appeals of Connecticut

March 27, 2018

STATE OF CONNECTICUT
v.
LOUIS D. [*]

          Argued December 11, 2017

         Procedural History

         Substitute information, in the first case, charging the defendant with the crime of criminal violation of a protective order, and substitute information, in the second case, charging the defendant with the crime of criminal violation of a protective order, and substitute information, in the third case, charging the defendant with the crimes of criminal possession of a firearm and of criminal violation of a protective order, brought to the Superior Court in the judicial district of Fairfield, geographical area number two, where the cases were consolidated; thereafter, the matter was tried to tried to the jury before the court, Holden, J.; subsequently, the court denied the defendant's motion for a judgment of acquittal as to the count of criminal possession of a firearm; verdicts and judgments of guilty, from which the defendant appealed to this court. Affirmed.

          Guy P. Soares, with whom was Justin P. Soares, for the appellant (defendant).

          Linda F. Currie-Zeffiro, assistant state's attorney, with whom, on the brief, were John C. Smriga, state's attorney, and Kevin Dunn, senior assistant state's attorney, for the appellee (state).

          OPINION

          LAVINE, J.

         The defendant, Louis D., appeals from the judgments of conviction, rendered after a jury trial, of three counts of criminal violation of a protective order in violation of General Statutes § 53a-223 (a) and one count of criminal possession of a firearm in violation of General Statutes (Supp. 2014) § 53a-217 (a) (4) (A) arising out of three separate informations.[1] On appeal, the defendant claims that the trial court improperly (1) consolidated the three informations for trial, and (2) denied his motion for a judgment of acquittal. We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the judgments of the trial court.

         The following facts and procedural history are relevant. In 2013, the victim commenced an action against the defendant seeking a dissolution of their marriage. On December 25, 2014, a dispute between the victim and the defendant escalated to the point where the defendant pushed the victim to the ground. The victim contacted the police, and the defendant was arrested for disorderly conduct. At the defendant's December 26, 2014 arraignment, the court, Devlin, J., issued a protective order as a condition of the defendant's release on bail. The protective order permitted the defendant to live in the family residence, but required him to surrender all firearms and provided that he could not ‘‘assault, threaten, abuse, harass, follow, interfere with or stalk'' the victim.

         The defendant continued to reside in the family home with the victim and their son. On January 4, 2015, the defendant pushed the victim into a safe room in the basement and closed the vault door until she pleaded to be released. In February, 2015, the victim and the couple's son moved into the home of the victim's brother. On March 17, 2015, the court, Doyle, J., issued a protective order that included the same terms as the December 26, 2014 protective order and permitted the defendant to return to the family residence one time with police to retrieve his belongings, but ordered him to otherwise stay away from that residence or wherever the victim lived.

         On March 18, 2015, the victim and the couple's son moved back into the family residence. That night, the defendant telephoned the victim and threatened to take his own life and the life of the family dog if she did not cease all legal proceedings. The following day, the victim had a security company assess the family residence to install security cameras in the home. On March 19, 2015, the defendant telephoned the victim and threatened to break the security cameras. The victim informed the police, and a warrant was issued for the defendant's arrest. The defendant was arrested and charged in docket number CR-15-0283581-S with violating the March 17, 2015 protective order that prohibited him from harassing the victim. On March 30, 2015, the court, Pavia, J., issued a third protective order that the defendant not contact the victim in any manner.

         On April 5, 2015, the defendant had his sister, who lived in the same duplex as the victim and his son, deliver an Easter basket to his son. The defendant's sister placed the basket in the foyer of the duplex. The victim noticed that the defendant had addressed an Easter card to her. The victim notified the police, and the defendant was arrested and charged in docket number CR-15-0284214-S with a violation of the March 30, 2015 protective order that prohibited him from having contact with the victim.

         On July 23, 2015, the victim hired a locksmith to open the vault door of the safe room in the basement. Inside the safe room was a .22 caliber Ruger pistol along with rifle and pistol ammunition. The victim informed the police. The victim also found a .25 caliber Berretta handgun in the safe room and informed the police again. The Ruger and the Beretta were both registered to a friend of the defendant, to whom he had transferred registration of the Beretta and the Ruger years earlier when he was not permitted to possess firearms. The defendant was arrested on November 29, 2015, and was charged, by way of substitute long form information in docket number CR-15-0287545-S, with criminal possession of a firearm, and a violation of the December 26, 2014 protective order requiring him to surrender all firearms and ammunition.

         Before trial commenced, the state moved for a consolidated trial on the charges in the three informations. The defendant filed a motion for severance arguing that the joinder of the three cases would prejudice him severely. Following a hearing, the court, Holden, J., granted the state's motion to consolidate. The state then filed a consolidated long form information charging the defendant with one count of criminal possession of a firearm and three counts of criminal violation of a protective order.

         Following a jury trial, the defendant was convicted of one count of criminal possession of a firearm and three counts of violation of a protective order. The defendant was sentenced to seven years incarceration, execution suspended after three and one-half years, with five years ...


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