STATE v. DASHAWN JAMES REVELS, SC 19170
Judicial District of New London
Criminal; Whether Certainty of Eyewitness Should be Considered in Determining Reliability of Identification; Whether Trial Court Properly Denied Motion for Jury to View Crime Scene; Whether Jury Instruction on Initial Aggressor was Proper. The defendant appeals from his conviction of murder in connection with the shooting death of Bryan Davila. He claims that the trial court wrongly denied his motion to suppress eyewitness Fidelia Carrillo’s identification of him as the shooter because the identification was the product on an unnecessarily suggestive police “show-up” identification procedure and because Carillo’s identification was unreliable under a totality of the circumstances analysis. As to the reliability of the identification, the defendant claims that recent scientific and psychological studies have cast substantial doubt on the accuracy of the factors considered under the federal standard for determining the reliability of eyewitness identifications. The defendant urges that the Supreme Court adopt a more stringent standard under our state constitution for gauging the reliability of eyewitness identifications. He argues that, as studies have shown that there is at best a weak correlation between the level of certainty demonstrated by a witness at the identification and the accuracy of the identification, a witness’ certainty about the identification should no longer be considered as a factor in measuring whether the identification is reliable. The defendant also claims that the trial court improperly denied his motion to have the jury view the crime scene, that the jury instruction on the initial aggressor exception to self-defense was improper in defining an initial aggressor as “the first person who appeared to threaten the imminent use of physical force,” and that the state did not disprove beyond a reasonable doubt that he acted in self-defense.