State v. Pond
Under the 2005 Connecticut Supreme Court case of State v. Padua, in order to prove the defendant guilty of conspiracy to commit robbery in the second degree in violation of C.G.S. §53a-135(a)(2), the state needed to prove that he and his coconspirator specifically had an agreement to display a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument and that the defendant had the specific intent that such a weapon or instrument would be displayed. The jury reasonably could have found the following facts. Stanislaw Grzadko, walking in Hamden, was approached by Tyrell Pond and Montel Harris on bicycles. Grzadko ignored their orders for him to stop. Pond pushed his bicycle in front of Grzadko, forcing him to stop. Harris raised his jacket displaying what appeared to be a gun handle in his waistband and ordered Grzadko to remove everything from his pockets. Grzadko ran into traffic and escaped. Following a jury trial, Pond was convicted of conspiracy to commit robbery in the second degree and acquitted of attempt to commit robbery. Pond appealed claiming, first, that there was insufficient evidence of his specific intent that, in the course of the robbery, another participant in the robbery would display or threaten the use of what was represented to be a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument and that the trial court improperly failed to instruct the jury that the state had to prove that the defendant had such specific intent. The Appellate Court agreed with the claim of instructional error alone and reversed the judgment. Under Padua, the specific intent required by the conspiracy statute requires the specific intent to bring about all elements of the conspired offense, even those that do not, by themselves, carry a specific intent with them. The trial court improperly failed to instruct the jury that the state was required to prove that the defendant specifically intended that, in the course of the robbery, what was represented to be a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument would be used or displayed. The trial court's instruction was constitutionally defective and was likely to have misled the jury in arriving at its verdict. The induced error doctrine did not apply. Judge Borden concurred separately to point out an anomaly in the Supreme Court's interpretation of the conspiracy section of the penal code.