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State v. Raynor

Supreme Court of Connecticut

December 24, 2019

STATE OF CONNECTICUT
v.
JAMES RAYNOR

          Argued January 16, 2019

         Procedural History

         Substitute information charging the defendant with the crimes of assault in the first degree as an accessory and conspiracy to commit assault in the first degree, brought to the Superior Court in the judicial district of Hartford and tried to the jury before Mullarkey, J.; verdict and judgment of guilty, from which the defendant appealed to the Appellate Court, DiPentima, C. J., and Sheldon and Flynn, Js., which affirmed the trial court's judgment, and the defendant, on the granting of certification, appealed to this court. Affirmed.

          Alice Osedach, assistant public defender, for the appellant (defendant).

          Timothy J. Sugrue, assistant state's attorney, with whom, on the brief, were Gail P. Hardy, state's attorney, and David L. Zagaja, senior assistant state's attorney, for the appellee (state).

          Robinson, C. J., and Palmer, McDonald, D'Auria, Kahn, Ecker and Vertefeuille, Js.

          OPINION

          PER CURIAM.

         The defendant, James Raynor, appeals, upon our grant of his petition for certification, [1]from the judgment of the Appellate Court affirming his conviction, rendered after a jury trial, of assault in the first degree as an accessory in violation of General Statutes §§ 53a-59 (a) (5) and 53a-8, and conspiracy to commit assault in the first degree in violation of General Statutes §§ 53a-59 (a) (5) and 53a-48. State v. Raynor, 175 Conn.App. 409, 412-13, 167 A.3d 1076 (2017). On appeal, the defendant claims that the Appellate Court incorrectly concluded that that the record was inadequate to review his challenge under Batson v. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 79, 106 S.Ct. 1712, 90 L.Ed.2d 69 (1986), to the prosecutor's exercise of a peremptory challenge on prospective juror R.E.[2] on the basis of his employment history, even though the record does not indicate the race or ethnicity of both R.E. and one of the two jurors, I.L. and G.H., whom the defendant highlighted as examples of disparate treatment by the prosecutor. In response, the state disagrees and also proffers, as an alternative ground for affirmance, that the trial court did not commit clear error in finding that the prosecutor did not engage in purposeful discrimination when he peremptorily challenged R.E. We affirm the judgment of the Appellate Court.

         The Appellate Court's opinion sets forth the following relevant facts and procedural history. ‘‘Jury selection occurred over the course of two days, October 30 and 31, 2014. On the first day of jury selection, the parties conducted voir dire of a prospective juror, R.E. Prior to defense counsel's questioning of R.E., the court inquired as to whether R.E. would suffer any financial hardship by participating in jury duty. In response, R.E. initially informed the court that, although he worked part-time, his shift began at 4:30 p.m. and . . . his job was within walking distance of the courthouse. The court then asked R.E. to contact his employer to determine whether he would be compensated for any work he missed or, alternatively, whether he would be able to begin his shift after 5 p.m. After speaking with his employer, R.E. stated that, if he were selected to serve, he would be able to start his shifts after the court had adjourned for the day, and thus he had no financial concerns about being selected as a juror.

         ‘‘Thereafter, defense counsel questioned R.E. as to whether he could keep an open mind, determine which witnesses were credible, follow the court's instructions on the law, and engage in a free exchange of ideas with his fellow jurors during deliberations. R.E. answered in the affirmative to each of these questions. Thereafter, the following colloquy occurred during the prosecutor's voir dire of R.E.:

‘‘ ‘[The Prosecutor]: . . . You're from Hartford?
‘‘ ‘[R.E.]: Yes.
‘‘ ‘[The Prosecutor]: You haven't heard anything about this incident-
‘‘ ‘[R.E.]: No, sir.
‘‘ ‘[The Prosecutor]: -which was presented to you? None of the names that were listed to you sounded familiar-
‘‘ ‘[R.E.]: No, sir.
‘‘ ‘[The Prosecutor]: -anything like that? So, you're [employed] at Easter Seals. You've been there for ...

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