State v. Victor C.
The state need not present physical evidence to secure a conviction; the jury may find a defendant guilty based solely on the testimony of one witness. Following a jury trial, Victor C. was found guilty of risk of injury to a child in violation of C.G.S. §53-21(a)(2), concerning allegations made by his 13 year old step-daughter. He appealed claiming, first, that the court improperly denied his post verdict motions for a judgment of acquittal and new trial based on insufficient evidence. The Appellate Court affirmed the judgment. The defendant argued that the inconsistency and impeachment of the victim's testimony cast significant doubt on its veracity and that the victim's testimony about the incident, absent physical evidence, was insufficient to support the verdict. The Appellate Court disagreed. The victim testified that when she was 13 years old, the defendant entered her bedroom one night, removed her clothing and rubbed his erect penis on her breasts and vagina. The victim's testimony provided evidence that the defendant's conduct met the elements of C.G.S. §53-21(a)(2) on the basis of either contact with the victim's intimate parts or the subjection of the victim to contact with the defendant's intimate parts such that the manner of contact was likely to impair the victim's health or morals. The jury was entitled to credit any portion of the victim's testimony and properly could find the defendant guilty based solely on her testimony about his conduct. Additionally, the court did not abuse its discretion in allowing the state, just prior to presenting its case-in-chief, to submit a substitute information expanding the time period during which the alleged crimes occurred and denying the defense a continuance. The court reasonably determined that the state showed good cause for amending the information to conform to anticipated testimony, including of a child victim unsure of the date when the incident occurred. Whether the incident occurred in March or Dec. 2009, or sometime in between, was not essential to being apprised of the crime charged with such reasonable certainty to formulate a defense. The defendant did not present an alibi defense. The defense theory was that the victim fabricated the story because she did not like him. The defendant still was able to elicit testimony exposing inconsistencies in the victim's testimony.