State v. Kitchens
In State v. Kitchens, 299 Conn. 447, 10 A.3d 942 (Conn. 2011), the trial court failed to follow State v. Salamon, 287 Conn. 509, 949 A.2d 1092 (Conn. 2008), which held that the jury must consider whether the victim's detention rose to the level of kidnapping or an unlawful restraint or was merely incidental to another offense. Kitchens, 10 A.3d at 952.
Kitchens was charged with assault in the first degree, attempted assault in the first degree, burglary in the second degree, kidnapping in the second degree, and unlawful restraint in the first degree, but the jury convicted him only of kidnapping and unlawful restraint. Id. at 948.
On appeal, Kitchens argued that the trial court committed plain error because it failed to instruct the jury pursuant to Salamon.
The Connecticut Supreme Court agreed with Kitchens that the error was plain, but disagreed that it warranted reversal, reasoning that the erroneous jury instruction was harmless under the circumstances because the defendant was acquitted of all charges other than kidnapping and unlawful restraint, thus indicating that the jury believed only the victim's allegations with respect to the defendant's moving her forcibly from the apartment building's vestibule to another area outside and then back inside and up to her godfather's apartment, where the defendant then confined her temporarily. Put differently, the jury's verdict, which indicated the jury's disbelief of the victim's allegations of assault ... is a conclusive finding that there was no separate crime underlying the kidnapping charge. Id. at 953.