Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

State v. Shin

Court of Appeals of Connecticut

October 1, 2019

STATE OF CONNECTICUT
v.
YOON CHUL SHIN

          Argued April 10, 2019

         Procedural History

         Substitute information charging the defendant with three counts of the crime of interfering with an officer and with the crime of disorderly conduct, brought to the Superior Court in the judicial district of Stamford-Norwalk, geographical area number one, and tried to the jury before Blawie, J.; verdict and judgment of guilty, from which the defendant appealed to this court. Appeal dismissed in part; affirmed.

          Yoon Chul Shin, self-represented, the appellant (defendant).

          Sarah Hanna, assistant state’s attorney, with whom, on the brief, were Richard J. Colangelo, Jr., state’s attorney, and Daniel E. Cummings, deputy assistant state’s attorney, for the appellee (state).

          Keller, Bright and Beach, Js.

          OPINION

          KELLER, J.

         The self-represented defendant, Yoon Chul Shin, appeals from the judgment of conviction, rendered by the trial court following a jury trial, of three counts of interfering with an officer in violation of General Statutes § 53a-167a and one count of disorderly conduct in violation of General Statutes § 53a-182. On appeal, the defendant raises a plethora of claims. Primarily, he claims that (1) he was illegally seized by the police because he was arrested without probable cause or an arrest warrant; (2) the evidence was insufficient to find him guilty of any of the crimes with which he was charged because testimony elicited from police officers at trial was fabricated; (3) the court improperly admitted testimony from police officers about statements the defendant made in a video he posted on the Internet; (4) the court abused its discretion in denying his request to excuse a prospective juror for cause during voir dire; (5) the court violated his constitutional right to compulsory process by declining to issue a subpoena; (6) the court improperly found him incompetent to stand trial but restorable before later determining that he was competent;[1] and (7) the court improperly imposed on him as part of his conditional discharge a special condition that he stay out of the state of Connecticut.[2] We dismiss the last claim as moot and, with respect to the remaining claims, affirm the judgment of the trial court.

         On the basis of the evidence adduced at trial, the jury reasonably could have found the following facts. In August, 2016, the Maccabi Games, an athletic event for Jewish athletes, were held over a span of four days at West Hill High School (school) in Stamford. On August 10, 2016, the Stamford Police Department (department) received from the Stamford Jewish Community Center’s internal security staff a memorandum alerting it that a suspicious individual from California, later identified as the defendant, was driving a blue Toyota Celica covered in white painted writing across the country to various synagogues and that he may be seen around the school during the Maccabi Games. Upon receipt of the memorandum, the department forwarded it to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) joint terrorism task force, which, in turn, sent an email to the department stating that it had opened an investigation of the defendant in Cincinnati, Ohio, and that it found a video posted on the Internet by the defendant in which he stated that he was in the process of desecrating Jewish temples and that he was ‘‘on a mission to rid the Jew . . . of the planet.’’ This information was disseminated to the Stamford police officers assigned to provide security at the Maccabi Games on August 11, 2016.

         On the morning of August 11, 2016, Officer Michael Montero alerted other officers via radio that he had seen the defendant’s vehicle passing the school and continuing north on Roxbury Road. After receiving the radio call, Lieutenant Christopher Baker and Sergeant Steven Perrotta drove north on Roxbury Road, where they eventually observed the defendant’s parked vehicle blocking a residential driveway directly across from Temple Beth El, a Jewish temple. Lieutenant Baker and Sergeant Perrotta turned on their vehicle’s overhead lights and pulled behind the defendant’s vehicle. When Lieutenant Baker approached the defendant’s vehicle, he noticed that the rear window was covered in tin foil, making it impossible to see who or what was in the vehicle. When Lieutenant Baker asked the defendant for his driver’s license and vehicle registration, the defendant did not comply with his request. The defendant also was agitated and repeatedly stated that he was only praying and that the police had no right to stop him. Lieutenant Baker observed on the dashboard of the defendant’s car two pyramid shaped metal devices, one of which had 12 gauge wire sticking out of it. When Lieutenant Baker asked about the objects, the defendant stated that they were what he used to desecrate the temples.

         Lieutenant Baker subsequently asked the defendant several times to turn off his vehicle’s motor, but he refused. Sergeant Perrotta then reached into the vehicle and shut it off. Lieutenant Baker on several occasions ordered the defendant out of his vehicle, but he repeatedly refused. Due to the defendant’s noncompliance, Lieutenant Baker opened the defendant’s door and extricated him from the vehicle. Sergeant Felix Martinez, who had arrived to assist Lieutenant Baker and Sergeant Perrotta, attempted to escort the defendant to the back of his police vehicle. As he was being placed in the back of the police vehicle, the defendant was screaming anti-Semitic comments loud enough to be overheard by a group of civilians who had gathered near the scene. Sergeant Martinez and Sergeant Perrotta attempted to place the defendant in the police car, but the defendant braced himself against the vehicle to prevent himself from being placed into the car. Eventually, Sergeant Martinez and Sergeant Perrotta were able to physically push the defendant into the police car.

         On the basis of the information provided by the FBI, the video made by the defendant, the defendant’s behavior while interacting with the police officers, and the pyramids on the dashboard of the defendant’s car, Lieutenant Baker requested the presence of a bomb sniffing dog to ensure that the defendant’s car did not contain any explosives. Upon arrival, the bomb sniffing dog indicated that explosives were either present or had been present.[3] Accordingly, a safety perimeter around the defendant’s vehicle was established while it was being searched. As a precaution, children who had been playing outside at a nearby school were evacuated from the area. While the defendant’s vehicle was being searched for explosives, the defendant was twice taken out of Sergeant Martinez’ police car so that Sergeant Erin Trew could question him about the pyramid devices on his dashboard. During his second conversation with Sergeant Trew, the defendant again began to scream obscenities and anti-Semitic comments audible to a crowd of bystanders. The defendant then was put in handcuffs and placed under arrest. When Sergeant Martinez again tried to place the defendant back in his police vehicle, the defendant began yelling and screaming while he resisted attempts to be placed in the vehicle. Due to the defendant’s resistance, Sergeant Trew needed to go to the other side of the vehicle and pull the defendant into the car. The defendant was thereafter transported to the police station.

         The defendant originally was charged with breach of the peace in the second degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-181 and inciting injury to persons or property in violation of General Statutes § 53a-179a. [See file] In a substitute information filed before trial, the defendant was charged with three counts of interfering with an officer in violation of § 53a-167a[4] and one count of disorderly conduct in violation of § 53a-182.[5]

         After a jury trial, in which the defendant elected to represent himself, [6] the defendant was found guilty on all counts. The court rendered a judgment of conviction in accordance with the jury’s verdict and imposed a total effective sentence of three years of incarceration, execution suspended after seven months, with two years of conditional discharge.[7] This appeal followed. Additional facts will be set forth as necessary.

         I

         The defendant first claims that he was illegally seized by the police because he was arrested without probable cause or an arrest warrant. The state argues that, even if the defendant’s arrest was illegal, it cannot serve as the basis to overturn the defendant’s conviction. We agree with the state.

         Our Supreme Court has stated that ‘‘[t]he relationship between an illegal arrest and a subsequent prosecution under federal constitutional law is well settled. In an unbroken line of cases dating back to 1886, the federal rule has been that an illegal arrest will not bar a subsequent prosecution or void a resulting conviction.’’ (Internal quotation marks omitted.) State v. Bagnaschi, 180 Conn.App. 835, 857, 184 A.3d 1234, cert. denied, 329 Conn. 912, 186 A.3d 1170 (2018). ‘‘[E]ven when an arrest is made without probable cause, a subsequent conviction is not void if no evidence was obtained as the result of the illegal arrest.’’ State v. Silano, 96 Conn.App. 341, 344, 900 A.2d 540, cert. denied, 280 Conn. 911, 908 A.2d 542 (2006).

         In the present case, the defendant does not argue in his principal appellate brief that evidence was obtained or used against him at trial as a result of his purported illegal arrest. Rather, his argument merely centers on the assertion that he was illegally seized. As a result, even if his arrest was illegal, it cannot serve as the basis for overturning his conviction. Therefore, the defendant’s claim fails.

         Moreover, the defendant in his reply brief claims for the first time that photographs of his vehicle and the pyramids on his dashboard, police officer testimony adduced at trial, and police reports are ‘‘invalid’’ due to his illegal seizure. It is, however, a ‘‘well established principle that arguments cannot be raised for the first time in a reply brief.’’ (Internal quotation marks omitted.) State v. Myers, 178 Conn.App. 102, 106, 174 A.3d 197 (2017). Furthermore, the defendant never moved to suppress this evidence. Accordingly, the record is inadequate for appellate review because the court did not make any factual findings or legal conclusions regarding whether any evidence was illegally seized.[8]See, e.g, State v. Collins, 124 Conn.App. 249, 256–57, 5 A.3d 492 (record inadequate for review where defendant failed to file motion to suppress and no evidentiary hearing held), cert. denied, 299 Conn. 906, 10 A.3d 523 (2010); State v. Necaise, 97 Conn.App. 214, 220, 904 A.2d 245 (declining to review claim regarding out-of-court identification due to inadequate record where defendant failed to file motion to suppress and to object at trial, and no evidentiary hearing held), cert. denied, 280 Conn. 942, 912 A.2d 478 (2006).

         II

         The defendant next argues that the evidence was insufficient to find him guilty of the offenses with which he was charged because the police officers’ testimony adduced at trial was fabricated.[9] We disagree.

         We begin by briefly setting forth the standard of review for claims of evidentiary insufficiency in a criminal appeal. ‘‘In reviewing the sufficiency of the evidence to support a criminal conviction we apply a two-part test. 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 [finder of fact] reasonably could have concluded that the cumulative force of the evidence established guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. . . .

         ‘‘We note that the [finder of fact] must find every element proven beyond a reasonable doubt in order to find the defendant guilty of the charged offense, [but] each of the basic and inferred facts underlying those conclusions need not be proved beyond a reasonable doubt. . . . If it is reasonable and logical for the [finder of fact] to conclude that a basic fact or an inferred fact is true, the [finder of fact] is permitted to consider the fact proven and may consider it in combination with other proven facts in determining whether the cumulative effect of all the evidence proves the defendant guilty of all the elements of the crime charged beyond a reasonable doubt. . . .

         ‘‘In evaluating evidence, the [finder] of fact is not required to accept as dispositive those inferences that are consistent with the defendant’s innocence. . . . The [finder of fact] may draw whatever inferences from the evidence or facts established by the evidence it deems to be reasonable and logical. . . .

         ‘‘On appeal, we do not ask whether there is a reasonable view of the evidence that would support a reasonable hypothesis of innocence. We ask, instead, whether there is a reasonable view of the evidence that supports the [finder of fact’s] verdict of guilty.’’ (Internal quotation marks omitted.) State v. Dojnia, 190 Conn.App. 353, 371–72, 210 A.3d 586 (2019).

         In the present case, the defendant essentially asks us to assess the credibility of the witnesses who testified at trial. It is well settled, however, that ‘‘[a reviewing court] cannot retry the facts or pass upon the credibility of the witnesses.’’ (Internal quotation marks omitted.) Frauenglass & Associates, LLC v. Enagbare, 149 Conn.App. 103, 114, 88 A.3d 1246, cert. denied, 314 Conn. 927, 101 A.3d 273 (2014). ‘‘[W]e must defer to the finder of fact’s evaluation of the credibility of the witnesses that is based on its invaluable firsthand observation of their conduct, demeanor and attitude. . . . [The fact finder] is free to juxtapose conflicting versions of events and determine which is more credible. . . . It is the [fact finder’s] exclusive province to weigh the conflicting evidence and to determine the credibility of witnesses. . . . The [fact finder] can . . . decide what-all, none, or some-of a witness’ testimony to accept or reject.’’ (Citation omitted; internal quotation marks omitted.) State v. Colon, 117 Conn.App. 150, 154, 978 A.2d 99 (2009). ‘‘Because it is the sole province of the trier of fact to assess the credibility of witnesses, it is not our role to second-guess such credibility determinations.’’ (Internal quotation marks omitted.) State v. Carlos C., 165 Conn.App. 195, 200, 138 A.3d 1090, cert. denied, 322 Conn. 906, 140 A.3d 977 (2016).

         In the present matter, the jury as the finder of fact was free to credit or discredit the testimony of the police officers. Moreover, the jury heard testimony from the defendant that the police officers’ testimony was false. Accordingly, the jury was free to weigh the conflicting testimony and assess the credibility of the various witnesses. Thus, after construing the evidence in the light most favorable to sustaining the verdict, we conclude that there is a reasonable view of the evidence that supports the jury’s verdict of guilty. Therefore, we reject the defendant’s claim.

         III

         The defendant next claims that the court improperly admitted testimony from police officers about statements made in an Internet video posted by the defendant, of which the officers were made aware by the FBI, before their interaction with him on August 11, 2016. In that video, the defendant made derogatory remarks about Jewish people and discussed desecrating Jewish temples. Specifically, the defendant argues that the testimony was ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.