The mission of the Connecticut Judicial Branch is to serve the interests of justice and the public by resolving matters brought before it in a fair, timely, efficient and open manner.

Habeas Appellate Court Opinion

by Townsend, Karen


AC44258 - Donald v. Commissioner of Correction (“On appeal, the petitioner contends that the habeas court improperly rejected his claims that (1) the state violated his due process right to a fair trial in the underlying criminal trial by (a) knowingly presenting false or misleading testimony to the jury concerning the details of its agreement with one of his alleged accomplices, Tierais Harris, to testify against him in that trial and (b) failing to disclose material evidence to him, for his use in that trial, concerning the credibility of two of the state’s witnesses, both his alleged accomplice, Harris, and the lead detective in the case, Reginald Early, who testified to the petitioner’s alleged confession to participating in the armed robbery and shootings on which the charged offenses were based; and (2) his trial counsel in the underlying criminal trial, J. Patten Brown III, rendered ineffective assistance in connection with the petitioner’s sentencing after that trial by failing to present an effective argument urging leniency on the petitioner’s behalf and failing to support such an argument by developing and presenting to the trial court any of the extensive mitigating information about the petitioner’s troubled background and upbringing to which he and his expert witness, Jodi DeSauteles, a social worker employed by the public defender’s office, later testified at the habeas trial. Although we conclude that the petitioner failed to establish either of his due process claims, we agree with the petitioner that his trial counsel rendered ineffective assistance in connection with his sentencing and that he was prejudiced by such ineffective assistance with respect to his current total effective sentence, which was later imposed on him by order of the Sentence Review Division of the Superior Court (review division) after it determined that his original total effective sentence was disproportionate and should be reduced by thirty years of imprisonment to remedy its disproportionality. Accordingly, we affirm the habeas court’s judgment insofar as it rejects the petitioner’s due process claims but reverse that judgment insofar as it rejects his claim of ineffective assistance of counsel at sentencing and remand the case to the habeas court with direction to vacate his modified total effective sentence in the underlying criminal case and to remand the case to the trial court for resentencing.”)