OSCAR ANDERSON v. COMMISSIONER OF CORRECTION, SC 18825

Judicial District of Tolland

 

†††† †Habeas; Ineffective Assistance of Counsel; Whether the Petitionerís Attorneys Rendered Ineffective Assistance by Failing to Investigate his Claim that he Suffered from Sexually Transmitted Diseases that the Complainant would have Contracted from him During the time that he Allegedly had been Sexually Assaulting her.† The petitioner was convicted of sexual assault in the first degree and risk of injury to a child in connection with his alleged sexual abuse of the minor complainant.† Thereafter, he filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus, alleging that his trial attorneys were ineffective.† He claimed that although he told his attorneys that he had suffered from sexually transmitted diseases during the time that he allegedly had been sexually assaulting the complainant, they failed to obtain evidence regarding the question of whether the complainant had contracted these diseases.† He also maintained that his attorneys should have retained an expert who could have testified that the petitioner had the diseases during the relevant time periods, and could have explained the likelihood of transmission of the diseases during sexual contact.† Such evidence, the petitioner opined, would have convinced the jury that the complainant probably would have contracted the diseases from him if he had sexually assaulted her as the state had alleged.† The habeas court rejected the petitionerís claim and denied his habeas petition.† On appeal, the petitioner argued that the habeas court improperly rejected his claim that his attorneys had rendered ineffective assistance. †The Appellate Court (128 Conn. App. 585) disagreed, concluding that the petitioner failed to prove that he was prejudiced by the alleged failure of his attorneys to investigate his claim regarding his sexually transmitted diseases.† The court reasoned that the medical records that were admitted into evidence during the habeas trial revealed that the petitioner received only one substantiated diagnosis of a sexually transmitted disease and that the diagnosis occurred before he allegedly assaulted the complainant.† The court also noted that, at the time of the diagnosis, the petitioner was treated with medication for that disease.† It further emphasized that the petitionerís own medical expert was unable to state with any reasonable degree of medical certainty that the petitioner actually suffered from sexually transmitted diseases at the time that he allegedly assaulted the complainant.† In light of the foregoing, the court determined that the petitioner failed to prove that he had sexually transmitted diseases at the time of the alleged assaults.† Accordingly, it concluded that the habeas court properly denied his habeas petition.† In this appeal, the Supreme Court will determine whether the Appellate Courtís decision was proper.