STATE v. BRIAN WRIGHT, SC 19189

Judicial District of Hartford

 

Criminal; Double Jeopardy; Whether Convictions and Sentences for Two Counts of Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Minor Arising Out of the Same Act Violated Constitutional Right Against Double Jeopardy. The defendant was convicted of one count of aggravated sexual assault of a minor in violation of General Statutes 53a-70c (a) (1) and one count of aggravated sexual assault of a minor in violation of 53a-70c (a) (6) after he lured a ten year old child into a secluded area of a public park and grabbed his buttocks. Section 53a-70c provides in relevant part: "(a) A person is guilty of aggravated sexual assault of a minor when such person commits a violation of [ 53-21 (a) (2), risk of injury to a child by contact with intimate parts] . . . and the victim of such offense is under thirteen years of age, and (1) such person kidnapped or illegally restrained the victim . . . [or] (6) such person was not known to the victim. . . ." Section 53a-70c (b) provides that [a]ggravated sexual assault of a minor is a class A felony and any person found guilty under this section shall, for a first offense, be sentenced to a term of imprisonment of twenty-five years which may not be suspended or reduced by the court. For each of the defendant's aggravated sexual assault convictions, the court imposed a consecutive term of fifty years of incarceration, twenty-five years of which was the mandatory minimum. The defendant appeals, claiming that his convictions and sentences for two counts of aggravated sexual assault of a minor violated his double jeopardy rights because he received multiple punishments for the same offense. He argues that the legislature did not intend to punish him separately for violations of multiple subdivisions of 53a-70c arising from the same underlying act or transaction. He claims that 53a-70c merely lists aggravating factors which elevate a single underlying offense such as sexual assault or risk of injury to a minor to aggravated sexual assault of a minor justifying the imposition of the twenty-five year mandatory minimum sentence for a first offense. The state, in turn, argues that under Blockburger v. United States, 284 U.S. 299 (1932), 53a-70c (a) (1) and (a) (6) set out different offenses for double jeopardy purposes in that each requires proof of an element that the other does not and that no legislative intent to the contrary is reflected in the plain language of the statute or in its legislative history.