STATE OF CONNECTICUT v. DAREN Y., SC 20725

Judicial District of Tolland

 

Criminal; Admissibility and Sufficiency of Evidence; Statute of Limitations; Whether Evidence Was Sufficient to Prove Sexual Assault; Whether Defendant Waived Statute of Limitations Defense; Whether Evidence of Defendant's Prior Misconduct Was Improperly Admitted; Whether Trial Court Erred in Declining to Review Psychiatric Records in Camera. In separate cases later consolidated for trial, the defendant was charged with multiple counts of first- and fourth-degree sexual assault and risk of injury to a minor arising out of conduct vis--vis his now-adult children, D.Y., B.Y., and J.Y. Prior to trial, the defendant moved for an in camera review of his children's psychiatric records. The trial court reviewed D.Y.'s records in camera but declined to release them on the ground that they were not relevant to D.Y.'s credibility. The court declined to review B.Y.'s and J.Y.'s records on the ground that the defendant had failed to offer any justification therefor other than the fact that B.Y. and J.Y. had been engaged in therapy. At the jury trial, the defendant's children testified regarding the bases for the charged offenses. As proof of the defendant's propensity for aberrant sexual behavior with respect to each child, the court admitted evidence of uncharged misconduct committed by the defendant, most of which consisted of the evidence of the allegations made by his children in the other consolidated cases. The defendant was convicted on all counts, but the court later vacated one of the charges of fourth-degree sexual assault as to J.Y., as it was a lesser included offense of the first-degree sexual assault conviction. Following sentencing, the defendant directly appealed to the Supreme Court pursuant to General Statutes 51-199 (b) (3). The defendant first claims that the state failed to present sufficient evidence to sustain his first-degree sexual assault conviction with respect to J.Y. or the vacated fourth-degree sexual assault conviction. At trial, J.Y. testified that the defendant used to blow "raspberries" against her belly and that on one occasion he instead "very deliberately blew in [her] crotch region over [her] clothes." According to the defendant, the jury could not have reasonably concluded that he had made sexual contact with J.Y., as required to prove the assault charges. He next claims that the trial court should have dismissed, sua sponte, the charges relating to B.Y. because they were clearly time-barred and he never expressly waived that defense. The defendant further claims that the court improperly admitted the uncharged misconduct evidence, arguing that the court failed to provide the jury with appropriate cautionary instructions and that the prejudicial effect of the evidence outweighed its probative value. Finally, the defendant claims that the court erred in declining to conduct an in camera review of B.Y.'s and J.Y.'s records in light of certain statements made by the children during forensic interviews, which he argues is sufficient to meet the low threshold required for in camera review. The defendant also requests that the Supreme Court conduct its own in camera review of D.Y.'s psychiatric records to determine whether the trial court properly declined to release them.