State v. Holley
Sufficient evidence supported a conviction for risk of injury to a child under the situation prong of Connecticut General Statutes §53-21(a)(1), where the jury reasonably could have inferred that engaging five police officers in a physical altercation in close proximity to a child would create a situation likely to endanger that child's life or limb. The jury reasonably could have found the following facts. Alexander Holley, Jr., entered a bedroom where K was braiding Holley's girlfriend's hair while K's young child, Z, slept on the bed. Holley allegedly enticed his girlfriend to perform oral sex on him. K left to speak with her friend in the kitchen. K informed Holley she intended to leave. He began "clinking" what K thought was a gun. K agreed to finish the braiding. K's friend left, alerting police. Holley allegedly smoked crack cocaine with his girlfriend. Police knocked, received no response, and entered the apartment through a window. Officers forced open the bedroom door Holley held shut, finding K and Holley's girlfriend naked with Z on the bed. Holley refused to comply with officers' commands and a struggle ensued. Following a jury trial, Holley was found not guilty of a first degree kidnapping and aggravated sexual assault charge, but guilty of risk of injury to a child in violation of C.G.S. §53-21. He appealed claiming, first, that insufficient evidence supported the conviction. The Appellate Court affirmed the judgment. The defendant did not dispute his involvement in a physical altercation with police officers in close proximity to the child. His sufficiency claim was limited to the magnitude of the risk implicated by his conduct. The jury reasonably could have inferred from testimony, that the defendant intentionally barricaded the door to prevent police from entering. The jury heard testimony that the defendant refused to comply with commands to lie on the floor and engaged five officers in a "violent struggle" in close proximity to Z, knocking the bed, moving it around significantly. Given the evidence and based on its common knowledge and experience, the jury reasonably could have inferred that engaging five police officers in a physical altercation in close proximity to a child would create a situation likely to endanger that child's life or limb. Prosecutorial impropriety claims were also rejected.