STATE v. MARVIN KITCHENS, SC 18421
Judicial District of Hartford
Criminal; Jury Instructions; Whether the Defendant's Kidnapping Conviction Should be Reversed Because the Jury was not Instructed, in Accordance with State v. Salamon, 287 Conn. 509 (2008), on the Degree of Restraint Required for the Commission of the Crime of Kidnapping when Kidnapping is Charged in Conjunction with Another Crime. On the afternoon of April 19, 2007, the victim told the defendant over the phone that she wanted to end their relationship. That evening, while the victim was visiting a friend at his apartment, the defendant called and asked the victim to meet him outside. The victim decided not to meet the defendant and instead went downstairs to lock the front door of the apartment building. The defendant, who was waiting for the victim at the front door, dragged the victim up the stairs to the friend's apartment. Once inside the apartment, the victim attempted to run for the door but the defendant blocked her way. Subsequently, when they were in the kitchen, the defendant grabbed the victim by her hair and dragged her to the stove. The defendant then pushed the victim's face into a frying pan containing hot oil. The victim sustained first and second degree burns to her face, eyelids, nose and cheeks. As a result of the incident, the defendant was charged with, inter alia, the crimes of first degree assault and second degree kidnapping. After trial, the jury acquitted the defendant of the assault charge but found him guilty of the kidnapping charge. Subsequent to the defendant's conviction, the Supreme Court issued its opinion in State v. Salamon, 287 Conn. 509 (2008). In that case, the Supreme Court held that when a defendant is charged with kidnapping in conjunction with another crime, the jury, in order to find the defendant guilty of kidnapping, must find that the defendant intended to prevent the victim's liberation for a longer period of time or to a greater degree than that which was necessary for the commission of the other crime. Prior to Salamon, the appellate courts had interpreted the kidnapping statutes to include any restraint that was necessary or incidental to the commission of a separate underlying crime. On appeal, the defendant claims that his kidnapping conviction should be reversed because the jury was not instructed in accordance with Salamon. He argues that, if the jury had been instructed in accordance with Salamon, it is likely he would not have been found guilty of kidnapping, as any alleged confinement or movement of the victim was purely incidental and necessary to the commission of the assault. In response, the state argues that a reversal of the defendant's kidnapping conviction is not required under Salamon because no reasonable jury could find that the restraint involved in the kidnapping did not exceed the restraint that was incidental and necessary to the commission of the assault. The state also claims that Salamon is inapplicable to a situation, such as the one here, where the jury finds a defendant guilty of kidnapping but not guilty of committing other crimes that were charged in conjunction with kidnapping.