State v. Henry

In State v. Henry, 72 Conn. App. 640, 805 A.2d 823, cert. denied, 262 Conn. 917, 811 A.2d 1293 (2002), we found that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in permitting Pelletier to testify as an expert on gangs, recognizing that he had an "intimate knowledge" of the Island Brothers and that his frequent contacts with members of the gang put him in a "unique position to evaluate the information they gave him regarding their activities and motivations." Id., 658. In Henry, the state sought to introduce into evidence the testimony of Pelletier to establish that the motive for a shooting was to "avenge the murder of a former member of the defendant's gang . . . ." Id., 643. In Henry, the Court rejected the defendant's claim that the trial court improperly admitted the testimony of Pelletier because the testimony was based on inadmissible hearsay. Id., 652. "The fact that an expert opinion is drawn from sources not in themselves admissible does not render the opinion inadmissible, provided the sources are fairly reliable and the witness has sufficient experience to evaluate the information. . . . An expert may base his opinion on facts or data not in evidence, provided they are of a type reasonably relied on by experts in the particular field. . . . This is so because of the sanction given by the witness's experience and expertise." Id., 657.