STATE v. DEMETRICE L. LEWIS, SC 18369
Judicial District of New Haven
Criminal; Sufficiency of the Evidence; Whether There was Insufficient Evidence of the Defendant's Intent to Sell the Narcotics that he Possessed at the Specific Location Where he was Apprehended, Which was Within 1500 Feet of a School; Whether There was Insufficient Evidence That the School in Question was an Elementary or Secondary School. The trial court convicted the defendant of possession of narcotics with intent to sell within 1500 feet of a school and possession of drug paraphernalia with intent to use within 1500 feet of a school. The defendant appealed to the Appellate Court, arguing, among other things, that there was insufficient evidence to sustain his convictions. In particular, he asserted that in order to be convicted of the crimes charged, the state needed to prove, among other things, that the forbidden acts occurred within 1500 of real property comprising a public or private elementary school or a secondary school. He further asserted that the only evidence adduced was that the school in question was a New Haven public school and that there was no evidence that it was an elementary or a secondary school. The Appellate Court (113 Conn. App. 731) agreed, indicating that there are public schools that are neither elementary schools nor secondary schools. It thus determined that because there was no evidence that the school in question was an elementary or secondary school, which was an element of both crimes, there was insufficient evidence to support the defendant's convictions. The defendant next argued that there was insufficient evidence that he intended to sell narcotics at any particular location. The Appellate Court agreed with this claim also, concluding that although there was evidence indicating an intent to sell, including the quantity and packaging of the narcotics and the amount of money found on the defendant, the evidence did not raise a permissible inference of an intent to sell at the specific location where the defendant was arrested. It stated that when the defendant was stopped, he was on his bicycle in the neighborhood where he lived and that the police did not observe him engaging in any activity consistent with immediate drug sales but, rather, stopped him because he resembled the description of a robbery suspect. Moreover, it stated that there was no evidence that the defendant was in the location at issue for any length of time sufficient to support an inference that he was doing more than passing through. In this appeal, the Supreme Court will determine whether the Appellate Court properly concluded that the evidence was insufficient to support the defendant's convictions.