May 28, 2003
MEMORANDUM OF DECISION
Raul Larracuente, petitioner, was convicted after trial by jury of Assault in the First Degree in violation of General Statutes Sec. 53a-59 (a) (5) which provides a penalty of up to 20 years incarceration and Carrying a Pistol Without a Permit in violation of General Statutes Sec. 29-35 which provides a penalty of up to 5 years incarceration with a one-year mandatory minimum.
The underlying factual basis for the charges involves an argument between the petitioner and another against two brothers. The petitioner pulled a firearm from his waistband and began firing at the two brothers who were on a street corner. Both brothers suffered gunshot wounds, one of whom died from his wounds. The petitioner claimed self-defense and was acquitted of the murder of the deceased, but was found guilty of intentionally inflicting physical injury on the surviving victim by means of a firearm.
At the hearing before the Division counsel for the petitioner claimed that the petitioner did all he reasonably could to avoid the situation. Counsel indicated that the decedent threatened to kill the petitioner and petitioner's brother. A fist fight ensued. Counsel indicated that one of the victims said to his brother, "let's go get a gun." The victims were in front of the petitioner's house and petitioner armed himself with a firearm. Counsel claims the decedent reached for his waistband and he was shot (and killed) by petitioner.
Counsel for the petitioner claimed that petitioner fired 3 shots in rapid succession and counsel expressed concern as to how the jury could find self-defense as to the murder and yet convict as to the surviving victim. Counsel emphasized that petitioner did not seek out the victims, they came and threatened petitioner. Counsel claimed that based on all the circumstances the sentence imposed is disproportionate.
Counsel for the State countered that the trial court is that entity that is most acquainted with the facts presented. Counsel indicated that 4 months previous to this incident the petitioner was discharged from incarceration in Puerto Rico for apparently petitioner's involvement in crime(s) of violence.
At the time of sentencing the trial court indicated that "(the petitioner) was charges (sic) in Puerto Rico with attempted murder, aggravated burglary and illegal weapon. He admits possession of an AK .47. Then 4 months later he was involved in this incident in Bridgeport. So he does have a history of violence involving weapons . . ." (Transcript, July 30, 1999, page 19.)
Pursuant to Connecticut Practice Book § 43-23 et seq., the Sentence Review Division is limited in the scope of its review. The Division is to determine whether the sentence imposed "should be modified because it is inappropriate or disproportionate in the light of the nature of the offense, the character of the offender, the protection of the public interest and the deterrent, rehabilitative, isolative and denunciatory purposes for which the sentence was intended."
Taking into consideration the petitioner's criminal history of violence with the use of firearms, the sentence imposed is neither inappropriate or disproportionate to others similarly situated.
In reviewing the record as a whole, the Division finds that the sentencing court's actions were in accordance with the parameters of Practice Book §§ 43-23 et seq.
The sentence is AFFIRMED.
Miano, J., Holden, J., and Iannotti, J., participated in this decision.
CT Page 6998-a