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 Opinions

by Carey, Sean


AC44979 - Carter v. Commissioner of Correction (“On appeal, the petitioner claims that the habeas court incorrectly concluded that his trial counsel did not provide ineffective assistance by failing to investigate evidence containing biological material found at the crime scene and to submit that evidence for DNA analysis. We affirm the judgment of the habeas court.”)

AC44160 - Sease v. Commissioner of Correction (“Having made no determination in Sease I as to whether the petitioner ultimately prevailed on his claim of ineffective assistance of counsel at sentencing and having left undecided the petitioner’s additional appellate claims, we must now resolve, after remand, the following claims of the petitioner. The petitioner claims that the habeas court improperly (1) determined on remand that his trial counsel’s failure to investigate his mental health background prior to sentencing and his failure to focus further on that background during sentencing arguments did not fall below the exercise of reasonable professional judgment under the first prong of Strickland, (2) rejected his claim that trial counsel rendered ineffective assistance by failing to challenge uncharged misconduct testimony by a state’s witness, and (3) rejected his claim that the state violated his right to due process by the knowing presentation of false testimony. The habeas court denied the petitioner’s petition for certification to appeal, and he claims that the court abused its discretion in so deciding. We agree with only the petitioner’s claim that the court improperly determined that his trial counsel had not rendered constitutionally deficient performance at sentencing, and we disagree with the petitioner’s other claims. Accordingly, we reverse the judgment of the habeas court only with respect to the petitioner’s claim of ineffective assistance of counsel at sentencing, vacate the petitioner’s sentences, and order a new sentencing hearing.”)

AC44892 - Reese v. Commissioner of Correction (“On appeal, the petitioner raises two substantive claims: (1) Judge Newson improperly dismissed one count of his amended petition on the basis of res judicata and (2) Judge Chaplin improperly denied his motion to sequester one of the respondent’s witnesses, Attorney C. Robert Satti, who prosecuted the petitioner in his underlying criminal trial and prosecuted one of the petitioner’s witnesses at the habeas trial for committing perjury during the petitioner’s criminal trial. The respondent argues that the petitioner’s two claims are unreviewable because he did not identify them in his petition for certification. In response, the petitioner, after recognizing that decisions of this court require that any claims on appeal be presented first in a petition for certification, argues that ‘‘it can hardly be gainsaid that the claims of error [the petitioner] has enumerated in this appeal were not raised before, and decided by, the habeas court.’’ He concludes by arguing that, ‘‘although the petition for certification to appeal that was filed in this case is broadly worded, the claims that [the petitioner] has pursued on appeal clearly fall within its penumbra. The habeas court’s denial of the petition for certification in its entirety was a discretionary act, subject to review by this court. Further, and more importantly, the claims were fully litigated below, both by way of written motions and at oral argument. Consequently, there can be no contention that it would be an ‘ambuscade’ of the habeas court for this court to assess the claims on their merits.’’ We are not persuaded by the petitioner’s arguments.”)