STATE v. DANIEL JAY GOLODNER, SC 18826
Judicial District of New London
Criminal; Whether Convictions for Interfering with Police Officer and Reckless Endangerment Should be Reversed Because Land Surveyors had no Right Under General Statutes § 52-557o to Enter onto Defendant's Property Without Permission; Whether Trial Court Should Have Instructed on Entrapment Defense; Whether Reckless Endangerment Charge was Barred by Statute of Limitations. The defendant's neighbor hired a licensed surveyor to prepare a survey to resolve a dispute the two were having about the boundaries of their properties. Two field surveyors, who had been sent out to do the survey, told the defendant that they needed to go onto his property to complete their work. The defendant refused to allow them on his land and called the police. The field surveyors told the police officers that they had a right to enter onto the property under General Statutes § 52-557o, which states that “[n]o action for trespass shall lie against any [licensed] surveyor . . . or person acting at the direction of any such licensed surveyor who enters upon land other than the land being surveyed . . . in order to perform a survey . . . .” The officers agreed and, despite the defendant's objections, told the defendant that they were going to escort the field surveyors onto the defendant’s property so that they could perform their survey. The officers claimed that the defendant then entered his truck, revved his engine and accelerated in their direction. They further claimed that the defendant started a physical confrontation with them, attempted to escape and was then tackled by an officer. The defendant countered that he got in his truck in order to go to work, the officers blocked his progress, and he did not come close to hitting anyone. The defendant further claimed that the officers initiated the physical altercation and that the attack lasted for a couple of minutes. The defendant was subsequently convicted of interfering with an officer and resisting arrest and of second degree reckless endangerment. On appeal, the defendant challenges his convictions, claiming that § 52-557o provides only immunity from civil suit and does not a grant a privilege or right to surveyors to trespass onto private property. The defendant further contends that the police officers acted so far outside of the scope of their duties by assisting an illegal entry onto his property and by aiding and abetting a crime by forcing him to submit to the illegal entry that his convictions violated his due process rights. The defendant also argues that the trial court violated his right to present a defense by refusing to instruct the jury on entrapment and that the reckless endangerment charge was time barred because the state added it as a count in a substitute information more than one year after the incident in violation of the applicable statute of limitations.