May 20, 2019
from the Superior Court in the judicial district of
Fairfield, and tried to the jury before E. Richards, J.
Michtom, assistant public defender, for the appellant
F. Miller, assistant states attorney, with whom, on the
brief, were John C. Smriga, states attorney, and Michael A.
DeJoseph, senior assistant states attorney, for the appellee
C.J., and Lavine and Prescott, Js.
Conn.App. 186] The defendant, Mario Chavez, appeals from the
judgment of conviction, rendered following a jury trial, of
manslaughter in the first degree in violation of General
Statutes § 53a-55 (a) (1). On appeal, the defendant claims
that the court improperly (1) deprived him of his
constitutional right to a fair trial by failing to instruct
the jury, sua sponte, about the "inherent
shortcomings" of simultaneous foreign language
interpretation of trial testimony, and (2) instructed the
jury that it could consider, as consciousness of guilt
evidence, that the defendant changed his shirt shortly after
the victim was stabbed. We disagree and, accordingly, affirm
the judgment of conviction.
basis of the evidence adduced at trial, the jury reasonably
could have found the following facts. On the morning of May
27, 2012, the defendant drove a number of friends home after
a night of drinking in Bridgeport. Upon arriving in the
neighborhood of one of the friends, an argument developed and
a physical altercation ensued between two of the passengers
in the defendants vehicle. During the fight, a small group
of onlookers, who had observed the altercation from a nearby
home, approached the combatants in the street. Thereafter,
some of the onlookers attempted to break up the fight, while
the victim approached the defendant.
victim confronted the defendant and forcibly removed a chain
worn around the defendants neck. In response, the defendant
drew a knife and stabbed the victim once in the chest.
Shortly after stabbing the victim, the defendant fled the
scene. Surveillance footage taken from the defendants
apartment complex showed [191 Conn.App. 187] the defendant
returning to his apartment a short time later. Surveillance
footage also showed the defendant leaving the complex not
long after wearing a different color shirt.
following day, the defendant learned of the victims death
and fled the country. The defendant ultimately was
apprehended and extradited to the United States where he was
charged with murder and manslaughter in the first degree in
connection with the victims death. In a substitute
information, the state later charged the defendant with
case was tried before a jury in October and November, 2017.
The defendant testified in his own defense with the
assistance of a Spanish-English interpreter. The defendant
asserted that he ...