State v. Padua

In In State v. Padua, 73 Conn. App. 386, 808 A.2d 361 (2002), cert. granted on other grounds, 262 Conn. 941, 815 A.2d 672 (2003), the state failed to present expert testimony to demonstrate that being near or having access to marijuana can be injurious to the health of a child. Accordingly, the Court held that the state had failed to demonstrate, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the defendant had created a risk of injury to the victim under 53-21. Id. at 398. In Padua, the Court stated that "while we certainly do not condone a child's being put in this type of situation, we cannot conclude that the jury, without the assistance of expert testimony, could have been expected to understand or to appreciate the possible detrimental physical effects of eating marijuana or solely being in its presence." Id. at 396. The Court held that the state's proof was sufficient to establish that the subject apartment complex was a public housing project where the sole evidence to that effect consisted of the statements of the manager of the apartment complex and a police officer that the complex was a public housing project. Id., 409-10. In coming to that conclusion, we noted that the defendant (1) had not cross-examined on the issue of whether the apartment complex was a housing project, (2) did not take an exception to the portion of the jury charge defining the public housing project element of the charged crime and (3) did not request that the court add to its instruction the definition of a public housing project. Id., 410-12.