STATE v. MARKEASE HILL, SC 18662
Judicial District of New Haven
Criminal; Whether Evidence of Flight was Improperly Admitted to Prove Consciousness of Guilt; Whether Trial Court Improperly Failed to give Jury Limiting Instruction Concerning Uncharged Misconduct Evidence; Whether State Engaged in Prosecutorial Impropriety by Misleading Court as to Admissibility of Evidence. The defendant was convicted of murder, capital felony, carrying a pistol without a permit and criminal possession of a firearm in connection with the June 11, 2008 shooting deaths of two men. At trial, three police officers testified that, on August 26, 2008, the defendant engaged them in a high speed car chase on Interstate 91 for approximately twenty-five minutes before crashing into a police cruiser. After the crash, the defendant fled on foot but was ultimately apprehended. A videotape of the chase and photographs of the defendant's vehicle and the damaged police cruiser were also admitted into evidence. The trial court found that evidence of the car chase was admissible as evidence of flight to prove consciousness of guilt. On appeal, the defendant claims that the trial court's admission of the police officers' testimony, as well as the videotape and the photographs, as evidence of flight tending to prove consciousness of guilt was improper because the evidence was uncharged misconduct evidence that should have been excluded because its prejudicial impact outweighed its probative value. The defendant contends that the evidence was prejudicial because it served to show that he has little regard for the law or human life. The defendant further contends that the evidence had little or no probative value because, at the time of the car chase, he had no reason to flee from the police because the arrest warrant in the present case had not yet issued against him. The defendant also claims on appeal that the prejudicial effect of the evidence was exacerbated by the fact that the trial court improperly failed to give an instruction limiting the jury's use of the uncharged misconduct evidence so that it did not use the evidence to find that the defendant has a bad character or criminal tendencies. The defendant also claims that the state engaged in prosecutorial impropriety by misleading the trial court regarding the admissibility of the evidence.