State v. Shipman
For a claim of disparate treatment of a venireperson, the races of the relevant venirepersons are requisite facts without which the Appellate Court is unable to conduct a comparison of the state's treatment of a black venireperson, against its treatment of nonminority venirepersons. In connection with a drug turf dispute resulting in the murders of Marsha Larose and Gary Louis-Jeune, Somen Shipman was convicted, following a jury trial, of two counts of murder and one count each of capital felony and conspiracy to commit murder. Shipman appealed claiming that the Supreme Court improperly granted the state's motion to reconsider its order to rectify the trial court record to reflect the races of the jury venirepersons and improperly permitted the state to exercise a peremptory challenge to excuse a black vernireperson from sitting as an alternate juror. The Appellate Court affirmed the judgment. The Appellate Court denied review of the first claim, declining the defendant's invitation to substitute its judgment for that of the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court determined, finally, that under Connecticut law, the defendant was not entitled to a rectification of the trial court record. To engage in a re-analysis and review the highest court's decision would be improper and fruitless. The Appellate Court was not persuaded that the court improperly found that the state's proffered reasons for excluding a black venireperson, T.G., were not pretext for racial discrimination. Following the defendant's request under the 1986 U.S. Supreme Court case of Batson v. Kentucky, the prosecutor, C. Robert Satti, Jr., articulated his reasons for excluding T.G., including his knowledge of the area where the murders occurred and drug dealing given his father's work as a police officer on a drug task force. The Appellate Court could not review the merits of the defendant's claim that the state treated nonminority jurors differently than T.G., because the record did not include the races of the relevant venirepersons. The trial court's finding that there was no pretext in excluding T.G. was not clearly erroneous or based on the court's own expressed concern about T.G.'s exposure to his father's drug task force experience. The court noted its own concern after its Batson analysis and excusing T.G.