STATE v. JANNETTE RODRIGUEZ-ROMAN, SC 18348
Judicial District of Fairfield
Criminal; Corrupt Organizations and Racketeering Activity Act; Whether the Defendant was Associated with an "Enterprise"; Whether it was Unreasonable to hold the Defendant Criminally Liable for Bribery Under Pinkerton Theory of Vicarious Liability. Following an investigation into the issuance of fraudulent licenses at the Bridgeport branch of the department of motor vehicles, the defendant, who worked as an examiner at that branch, was charged with violating the Corrupt Organizations and Racketeering Activity Act (CORA), General Statutes § 53-393 et seq., by receiving bribes and committing forgery. The defendant was also charged with several counts of bribery, bribe receiving, conspiracy to commit bribe receiving, forgery and conspiracy to commit forgery. At trial, the state presented evidence that the defendant and a nonemployee were engaged in a scheme whereby the nonemployee solicited customers for fraudulent licenses, sent them to the defendant's work station to obtain the license and paid the defendant for each license issued. The court instructed the jury, with respect to the bribery counts, that it could impose criminal liability on the defendant for the acts of her coconspirator under Pinkerton v. United States, 328 U.S. 640 (1946). The defendant was convicted as charged. On appeal, the defendant claims that the state failed to prove, as required by § 53-395 (c), that she was associated with an "enterprise." She argues that the evidence was not sufficient to prove the existence of an "enterprise," because her relationship with the nonemployee was best characterized as a "partnership," which is an entity that is specifically excluded from the definition of "enterprise" in the act. Further, the defendant maintains that even if the evidence was sufficient to support her CORA convictions, the court misled the jury by failing to instruct it on the essential element of "enterprise." In addition, the defendant claims that the evidence was insufficient to support her conviction for bribery under the Pinkerton doctrine, arguing that it was legally impossible for her, as one who received a bribe, to be convicted of bribing herself.