State v. Gonzalez
Sufficient evidence established the elements of the defendant's guilt of interference with a search beyond a reasonable doubt when the jury reasonably could have found that, based on the evidence, the defendant intentionally acted forcibly to resist, oppose, impede and interfere with detectives and officers when they attempted to obtain a DNA sample from the inside of his cheeks by struggling with them, flailing his arms and legs and otherwise physically resisting their efforts, including clenching his jaws shut. Miguel Gonzalez was charged with murder and interference with a search in violation of C.G.S. §54-33d. Following trial, the jury found him guilty of interference with a search but could not reach a verdict on the murder charge. Gonzalez appealed from the judgment of conviction, claiming that the evidence was insufficient to convict him of interference with a search and that the court abused its discretion by refusing to sever the charges. The Appellate Court affirmed the judgment. The defendant unsuccessfully argued the evidence was insufficient to prove either that his refusal to open his mouth or involuntary struggles to breathe constituted forcible interference with a search or that such use of force, if any, was intentional. The evidence was sufficient to prove that the defendant used physical force to resist, oppose, impede and to interfere with the execution of the search warrant. The jury reasonably could have found that the defendant resisted, opposed, impeded and interfered with the detectives and officers when they attempted to obtain a DNA sample from him by struggling with them, flailing his arms and legs and otherwise physically resisting their efforts. The intent requirements of C.G.S. §54-33d were satisfied. The evidence was sufficient for the jury reasonably to have found that the defendant had the requisite intent to engage in the conduct and to achieve his desired result—forcibly to resist, oppose, impede and otherwise to interfere with the search to avoid providing his DNA to the state. The trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying the defendant's motion to sever the charges. The evidence of the interference case was admissible in the murder case as consciousness of guilt evidence and the evidence of the murder charge was admissible in the interference case to prove the defendant's motive for interfering.