STATE v. DERECK THOMAS, SC 18368
Judicial District of New Haven at G.A. 7
Criminal; Double Jeopardy; Whether Trial Court's Acceptance of Defendant's Guilty Plea Constituted a Conviction for Double Jeopardy Purposes. In 2005, the defendant was charged with four counts of sexual assault in the second degree and four counts of risk of injury to a child. Thereafter, plea negotiations ensued, during which the trial court offered the defendant a sentence of five years of incarceration, execution suspended after one year, and ten years of probation. Pursuant to the court's offer, the defendant ultimately pleaded guilty to one count of sexual assault in the second degree and one count of risk of injury to a child. The court accepted the defendant's guilty plea, and it ordered a presentence investigation report. After the court reviewed the report, it decided to convene a hearing for the purpose of providing to the complainant an opportunity to give testimony regarding the incident in question. Based upon certain new information that the complainant provided at that hearing, the court ultimately declined to impose the agreed upon sentence, and it also vacated the defendant's guilty plea and placed the matter on the trial list. Thereafter, the defendant filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that a trial on the original criminal charges would violate his double jeopardy rights. He maintained that the court's acceptance of his guilty plea constituted a conviction, and, therefore, further prosecution of the charges against him would place him in jeopardy for a second time. He also claimed that once the court accepted the guilty plea, it was bound to enforce the plea agreement. The court denied the motion, holding that a judge is not bound to impose a sentence that was agreed upon prior to the preparation of a presentence investigation report and that a criminal judgment does not enter for double jeopardy purposes until a sentence is actually imposed. In this appeal, the Supreme Court will determine whether the trial court properly denied the defendant's motion to dismiss.