April 18, 2018
information charging the defendant with the crimes of
criminal possession of a firearm, possession of a weapon in a
motor vehicle, and carrying a pistol or revolver without a
permit, brought to the Superior Court in the judicial
district of Fairfield and tried to the jury before
Kavanewsky, J.; thereafter, the court denied the
defendant's motion to dismiss; verdict and judgment of
guilty, from which the defendant appealed to this court.
Boehlert, assigned counsel, for the appellant (defendant).
M. Shair, senior assistant state's attorney, with whom
were John C. Smriga, state's attorney, and, on the brief,
C. Robert Satti, Jr., supervisory assistant state's
attorney, for the appellee (state).
Lavine, Bright and Bishop, Js.
defendant, Jacqui Smith, appeals from the judgment of
conviction, rendered after a trial to a jury, of criminal
possession of a firearm in violation of General Statutes
§ 53a-217 (a) (1),  possession of a weapon in a motor
vehicle in violation of General Statutes § 29-38 (a),
and carrying a pistol or revolver without a permit in
violation of General Statutes § 29-35 (a). On appeal, the
defendant claims that there was insufficient evidence from
which the jury reasonably could have found him guilty of the
three crimes. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.
basis of the evidence before it, the jury reasonably could
have found the following facts beyond a reasonable doubt. On
July 28, 2014, Keith Johnson was living near the intersection
of Indian Place and Indian Avenue in Bridgeport. Tonahja
Cohen and Johnson are cousins. At approximately 5:30 p.m. on
that date, the defendant called Cohen and asked him to come
to the place where Johnson was living. Cohen drove to the
location in his Chevrolet Monte Carlo automobile and parked
behind the defendant's Chevrolet Malibu automobile. He
met the defendant, who was angry, but Cohen did not know why.
The defendant had a handgun, which Cohen took from him and
put in the trunk of the Monte Carlo. Cohen wanted to ensure
that nothing happened. He then went into the house and asked
Johnson to come outside. When Johnson came out, he too had a
gun, which was put in the trunk of the Monte Carlo. The
defendant, Johnson, and Cohen got into the Malibu, which the
defendant drove around while they tried to work things out.
According to Cohen, Johnson and the defendant were arguing
about ‘‘some bullshit.''
about that time, Officer Brian Pisanelli of the Bridgeport
Police Department received a radio communication from Officer
Bruno Rodrigues that prompted Pisanelli to drive to Indian
Avenue. Detective Martinez was in a car directly behind
Pisanelli. As Pisanelli drove north on Indian Avenue,
approaching its intersection with Indian Place, he saw a
Malibu with three occupants and an unoccupied Monte Carlo
parked on the right side of the street. He drove along the
left side of the Malibu. The defendant attempted to drive off
at a high rate of speed but Pisanelli was able to pull in
front of the Malibu and block it.
approached the Malibu and asked the defendant for his
operator's license, registration, and insurance card,
which the defendant was unable to produce. Pisanelli issued a
motor vehicle summons to the defendant, who gave his address
as 190 Denver Avenue in Bridgeport. Pisanelli arrested the
defendant, placed him in the rear seat of his patrol car and
drove him to the police department on Congress Street. During
the drive, Pisanelli did not question the defendant but the
defendant spontaneously stated, ‘‘I brought that
gun over to settle the score with [Johnson].''
Bridgeport police officers arrived on the scene: Rodrigues,
Officer Ilidio Pereira, Detective Borrico and Detective John
Tenn. Those officers interacted with Cohen and Johnson.
Rodrigues asked Cohen if he could search the Monte Carlo.
Cohen agreed, gave Rodrigues the keys, and stated that
whatever is in there was not his. Rodrigues used the keys to
open the trunk of the Monte Carlo, where he saw two handguns.
Cohen was placed under arrest and later was charged with
possession of firearms in a motor vehicle.
2016, the defendant was charged in a substitute information
with criminal possession of a firearm by a person previously
convicted of a felony in violation of § 53a-217 (a) (1),
possession of a weapon in a motor vehicle in violation of
§ 29-38 (a),  and carrying a pistol or revolver without
a permit in violation of § 29-35 (a).At trial, he
stipulated that he was a convicted felon.
testified at trial that he was charged with two counts of
possession of weapons in a motor vehicle and that he pleaded
guilty to those charges and could be sentenced to ten years
incarceration, execution suspended after five years in
prison, with the right to argue for less. He, however,
expected that the sentencing judge would be informed of his
testimony in the present matter and that he would receive a
sentence of probation only. Cohen also testified that he was
convicted of two felonies in 2013, was sentenced to
probation, and that he had violated his probation. Given his