State v. Arroyo

In State v. Arroyo (284 Conn 597, 935 A2d 975 [2007]), the Court held that a third-party culpability instruction should have been given to the jury. The complainant, a five year old at the time of the crime, accused her godfather of sexual abuse. The defendant contended that she had fabricated the allegation to protect her father. The court summarized the principal evidence of third-party culpability as follows: "Testimony--that the victim had a secret that concerned the part of her body between her belly button and her genital area, a secret that she shared with her father, a secret that was about the fact that she and her father engaged in secret games together, a secret that she was ashamed to tell, a secret that she was afraid to tell because her mother had told her not to tell anyone, a secret that made her nervous when she talked about it--does more than raise a bare suspicion. It suggests a direct connection between the father and the sexual assaults of the victim. This testimony presents the type of third party culpability evidence that would permit a jury, if it had doubt about the credibility of the victim's testimony and the rest of the state's case, to conclude that a reasonable doubt existed as to whether the defendant, rather than the victim's father, committed the crimes." (State v. Arroyo, 284 Conn at 611-612, 935 A2d at 985.)