Assault Convict “A Danger to Society;” Sentence Modification Not Warranted

Written by Lindsay E. Raber, Esq.

In a recent criminal law matter, the Sentence Revision Division of the Superior Court of Connecticut (Division) declined to modify a defendant’s lengthy sentence, as it was neither inappropriate nor disproportionate.

In this case, the petitioner was operating a car, with a sawed off shotgun in plain view, when a marked police cruiser initiated a valid traffic stop. Two foot patrol officers were nearby and provided backup, but the petitioner sped away to a nearby, confined property. As the petitioner attempted to escape the area, he “struck one of the officers on foot with the car [causing a serious physical injury] and drove it at the other without hitting him.”

The petitioner was subsequently arrested and charged with attempted assault in the first degree, assault on a peace officer, attempted assault on a peace officer, and possession of a sawed off shotgun. He was convicted on all counts and sentenced to a total effective sentence of forty years incarceration. The petitioner sought downward modification of his sentence, arguing it was inappropriate and disproportionate: “he claim[ed] that had no intent to hurt anyone, that he was raised in a crime ridden neighborhood and that he was under the influence of drugs at the time of the incident.”

In opposing modification, the State argued that the jury convicted the petitioner of assault in the first degree, which requires “the specific intent to do serious physical injury to the victim by use of a dangerous instrument.” It further pointed out that at the time of the incident, the petitioner was participating in a gang initiation, had multiple felony convictions as well as a limited work history, and had been involved with illegal drug activity since he was in his teens.

When the Division reviews a sentence, it is without authority to modify unless the sentence is “inappropriate or disproportionate” in light of such factors as the nature of the offense and the character of the offender.  Taking into account the State’s arguments, the Division found no merit to the petitioner’s claim, and characterized him as “a danger to society.” Therefore, it affirmed the sentence as both appropriate and proportionate.

Should you have any questions regarding criminal defense, please do not hesitate to contact Attorney Joseph C. Maya in the firm’s Westport office in Fairfield County at 203-221-3100 or at JMaya@Mayalaw.com.