STATE v. SEAN RAMIREZ, SC 18159
Judicial District of New Haven
Criminal; Whether Jury's Guilty Verdict on Charge of Assault in the Second Degree By Means of a Dangerous or Deadly Weapon was Inconsistent With Its Not Guilty Verdict on Charge of Carrying a Dangerous Weapon. In connection with a road rage incident, a jury found the defendant guilty of assault in the second degree by means of a dangerous or deadly weapon in violation of General Statutes § 53a-60 (a) (2), and it acquitted him of carrying a dangerous weapon in violation of General Statutes § 53-206. The defendant moved for a judgment of acquittal notwithstanding the jury's verdict, claiming that the verdicts were both legally and factually inconsistent. The trial court denied his motion and sentenced him accordingly. The defendant then appealed to the Appellate Court, arguing that the trial court improperly denied his motion for a judgment of acquittal. In particular, he claimed that because the jury found him not guilty of carrying a dangerous weapon, namely, a baseball bat, the jury's guilty verdict on the charge of assault in the second degree with the same baseball bat was illogical. The Appellate Court (107 Conn. App. 51) disagreed and affirmed the defendant's conviction. In so ruling, it determined that where a claim of inconsistent verdicts involves a simultaneous conviction and acquittal on different offenses, if the offenses charged contain different elements, then a conviction of one offense is not inconsistent on its face with an acquittal of the other. It then determined that because assault in the second degree and carrying a dangerous weapon contain different elements, the assault conviction was not legally inconsistent with the acquittal of the carrying a dangerous weapon charge. Moreover, it determined that carrying a dangerous instrument on one's person and assaulting someone by means of a dangerous instrument are not identical concepts and that the use of a dangerous instrument does not necessitate carrying a dangerous instrument. In this appeal, the Supreme Court will determine whether the Appellate Court properly determined that a guilty verdict on the charge of assault in the second degree is not inconsistent with a not guilty verdict on the charge of carrying a dangerous weapon.