May 20, 2019
charging the defendant with the crimes of murder and
manslaughter in the first degree, brought to the Superior
Court in the judicial district of Fairfield, and tried to the
jury before E. Richards, J.; verdict and judgment of guilty
of manslaughter in the first degree, from which the defendant
appealed to this court. Affirmed.
Michtom, assistant public defender, for the appellant
Jennifer F. Miller, assistant state's attorney, with
whom, on the brief, were John C. Smriga, state's
attorney, and Michael A. DeJoseph, senior assistant
state's attorney, for the appellee (state).
DiPentima, C. J., and Lavine and Prescott, Js.
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
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 defendant's 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 defendant's 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
defendant's apartment complex showed 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 victim's
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 victim's death.
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 stabbed the victim accidentally while trying
to defend himself.
defendant was found not guilty of murder but was found guilty
of manslaughter in the first degree. The court sentenced the
defendant to a total effective sentence of seventeen years of
incarceration followed by three years of special parole. This
appeal followed. Additional facts and procedural history will
be provided as necessary.
defendant first claims that the court improperly failed to
instruct the jury, sua sponte, regarding the
‘‘inherent shortcomings'' of translated
testimony. Specifically, the defendant argues that because
his testimony was translated from Spanish to English, it may
have appeared less coherent or credible than a witness who
testified in English. According to the defendant, the
court's failure to provide an instruction on