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CT: Prisoner’s Eight Year Sentence for Throwing Feces on Guard Affirmed

On April 26, 2016, the Appellate Court of Connecticut upheld the conviction of a prisoner who had thrown "liquid and fecal matter" at a guard's chest. The 3-0 decision affirmed the eight-year sentence imposed by the trial court, which was added to the life sentence the prisoner was already serving.

On May 27, 2011, a captain at the Northern Correctional Institution in Somers, CT, ordered a guard to transport prisoner Jason M. Day from his cell to the infirmary. Day had been refusing treatment for a leg injury causing an odor to waft from his cell. When the guard opened Day's cuff port to give him plastic bags to pack his belongings for the move, Day threw a mixture of a liquid and fecal matter hitting the guard in the chest.

Day was charged with assault of a correctional officer, a felony, and represented himself at his trial. Day was already serving a sentence of life without parole for a previous murder conviction. Day was convicted by a jury and the trial court sentenced him to eight years, to be served consecutively to his life sentence. Day appealed, raising ten claims, including ineffective assistance of standby counsel, prosecutorial misconduct, insufficient evidence, and numerous due process violations.

The appellate court rejected all of Day's arguments, many of which they said were not properly briefed nor preserved for appeal. Among the issues on which the court did reach the merits, the court held that the failure of the trial court to allow the jury to see a DVD of his cell area was proper because it was never admitted as evidence as well as irrelevant. The court also found that a prosecutor's question of Day regarding a previous charge which resulted in an acquittal was proper because Day opened the door by telling the jury this was the first time in 23 years he had "been to court on this type of charge."

Day finally asserted there was insufficient evidence to support his conviction because the guard was not performing his official duties at the time of the assault. The court rejected this claim, noting that the guard was on duty, in full uniform, and was acting at the lawful direction of the captain. See: State of Connecticut v. Day, No. 36383 (April 26, 2016).

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Related legal case

State of Connecticut v. Day