State v. Wright
Multiple sentences for three separate conspiracies arising out of a single unlawful agreement were unlawful and could not stand; but, the court's prohibition of the use of the conclusory term "prostitute" had no bearing on the trial's outcome when the jury heard evidence from which it reasonably could have found that the victim was a prostitute. The jury reasonably could have found the following facts. The victim accompanied Bryan Fuller to a vacant apartment where Fuller's fellow gang members, including the defendant, Chywon Wright, hit the victim and engaged in oral intercourse with her. Wright vaginally penetrated the victim with a black plastic bag on his penis. Others engaged in vaginal and anal intercourse with her. The victim left without her shoes, cell phone or purse and went to a hospital. Following a jury trial, Wright was convicted on counts of aggravated sexual assault in the first degree, conspiracy to commit aggravated sexual assault, conspiracy to commit kidnapping, assault in the third degree and conspiracy to commit such assault. Wright appealed, claiming, first, that the court improperly excluded evidence relevant to his defense of consent and the victim's bias or motive to falsely accuse him. The Appellate Court affirmed and reversed the judgment, in part. Under the rape shield statute, C.G.S. §54-86f, the court precluded defense counsel from cross-examining the victim during the state's case-in-chief on whether she offered a codefendant to engage in sexual acts with four men for $500 and had consensual sex with two men for $250 shortly before the charged conduct. But, the defendant was permitted to offer such evidence in his case-in-chief, after the state introduced his written statement to police into evidence and the court found the issue of consent sufficiently raised. Although the court did not permit the victim to be called a prostitute, whether she was a prostitute reasonably was a question of fact for the jury to decide from the evidence. However, the defendant's sentences for three counts of conspiracy based on a single unlawful agreement violated the Double Jeopardy Clause of the U.S. Constitution. The appropriate remedy, under the 2013 Supreme Court decision in State v. Polanco, was to reverse the conspiracy convictions and remand the case with direction to render judgment on one conspiracy count and for resentencing.