STATE v. JOHN WILLIAM DAVIS, JR., SC 19511
Judicial District of New Haven
Criminal; Whether Appellate Court Properly Reversed Conviction on Charges of Unlawful Possession of a Pistol on Ground that State Failed to Prove that Defendant Lacked a Permit to Carry a Pistol. The defendant was convicted of carrying a pistol without a permit and unlawful possession of a weapon in a vehicle after he engaged police in a high speed chase. He appealed, claiming that the evidence was insufficient to establish an essential element of both crimes, namely, that he lacked a permit to carry a pistol issued pursuant to General Statutes (Rev. to 2011) § 29-28 (b). That statute provides that, prior to applying for a five-year state permit to carry a pistol, an applicant must obtain a sixty-day temporary state permit from the local authority of the town where he or she has “a bona fide residence or place of business.” The defendant contended that, while the state proved that he did not have a five-year permit, it failed to prove that he did not have a sixty-day temporary permit. The Appellate Court (156 Conn. App. 175) agreed and reversed the defendant’s conviction. The court noted that, although the state established that the city of New Haven did not issue the defendant a temporary permit, it failed to present any evidence showing that he was a resident of New Haven or that his place of business was there during the sixty-day period immediately preceding his arrest. The court ruled that the state had therefore failed to establish that on the date of the incident, the defendant lacked a temporary permit to carry a pistol issued by the local authority of his town of residence or place of business pursuant to § 29-28 (b), as required to convict him on the charges of unlawfully possessing a pistol. The Appellate Court rejected the state’s claim that the defendant’s flight from the police and his discarding of the pistol during the police pursuit evidenced his guilty conscience and supported an inference that he did not possess a permit to carry a pistol, explaining that consciousness of guilt evidence does not relieve the state of its burden of proving the essential elements of a crime. The state appeals, and the Supreme Court will decide whether the Appellate Court properly determined that the evidence was insufficient to support the defendant's convictions for carrying a pistol without a permit and unlawful possession of a weapon in a vehicle.