Judicial District of New Britain


      Criminal; Trial Court Jurisdiction; Whether Trial Court had Jurisdiction over Motion to Correct Illegal Sentence Alleging that Defendant's Counsel Failed to Review Presentence Investigation Report with Defendant Prior to Sentencing.  The defendant pleaded guilty under the Alford doctrine to a charge of murder.  The trial court sentenced the defendant in accordance with his plea agreement to a term of thirty years imprisonment.  The defendant subsequently filed a motion to correct illegal sentence pursuant to Practice Book § 43-22, claiming that (1) he was not afforded an opportunity to review the presentence investigation report prepared prior to his sentencing; and (2) he was denied his right to counsel at all critical stages of the proceedings because his attorney failed to review the report with him and neglected to bring alleged inaccuracies in the report to the court's attention.  Pursuant to § 43-22, a trial court "may at any time correct an illegal sentence or other illegal disposition, or it may correct a sentence imposed in an illegal manner or any other disposition made in an illegal manner."  The trial court dismissed the motion, finding that it lacked jurisdiction to address the defendant's claims.  The court reasoned that the defendant's claims would be more appropriately raised in a petition for writ of habeas corpus alleging ineffective assistance of counsel because the claims do not relate to the conduct of the sentencing court or the state but, rather, relate to the conduct of the defendant's counsel.  The court additionally noted that because the court sentenced the defendant in accordance with his plea agreement, under which the defendant had no right to argue for a lesser sentence, the defendant would have received the same thirty year sentence even if he had been able to review the presentence investigation report.  In this appeal, the defendant argues that his claims of error were properly raised by way of a motion to correct illegal sentence because (1) his sentence was imposed in an illegal manner in that, prior to sentencing, he was denied the right to a meaningful opportunity to review and comment on the information contained in the presentence investigation report either directly or through counsel; and (2) the parties' interest in an accurate presentence investigation report for  determining an inmate's security classification and suitability for various programs during incarceration cannot await the lengthy habeas corpus process in order to correct any errors.