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State v. Shin

Appellate Court of Connecticut

October 1, 2019

STATE of Connecticut
v.
YOON CHUL SHIN

         Argued April 10, 2019

          Appeal from the Superior Court, Judicial District of Stamford-Norwalk, Blawie, J., of three counts of interfering with an officer and disorderly conduct. Defendant appealed.

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          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.

         [193 Conn.App. 351] 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

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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 [193 Conn.App. 352] 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.

         [193 Conn.App. 353] 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.

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          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 [193 Conn.App. 354] 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.

         [193 Conn.App. 355] 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 ...


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