H.P.T. v. COMMISSIONER OF CORRECTION, SC 18962

Judicial District of Tolland

 

††††† Habeas; Whether Remedy Fashioned by Habeas Court for Ineffective Assistance of Counsel Resulting in Rejection of Plea Offer was Proper. †The petitioner was convicted after a jury trial of second degree sexual assault, second degree assault, third degree assault and risk of injury to a child.† The trial court sentenced the petitioner to a term of twenty-three years incarceration, execution suspended after thirteen years, with ten years probation.† The petitioner subsequently brought this habeas action alleging that his trial counsel provided ineffective assistance by failing to properly communicate, and to advise him adequately, with respect to a plea offer made by the court of twenty years incarceration, execution suspended after nine years, with twenty years probation.† Specifically, the petitioner, whose native language is Vietnamese, claimed that because counsel failed to provide a translator to assist in explaining the offer, he lacked an understanding of the offer such that he did not know that an offer had even been made until well after his conviction and sentencing.† The petitioner also claimed that had counsel adequately communicated and advised him to accept the courtís offer, he would have accepted the offer and not proceeded to trial.† The habeas court found that counselís representation of the petitioner with respect to the plea bargain process amounted to ineffective assistance that prejudiced the petitioner.† The habeas court, as a result, directed the sentencing court to vacate the petitionerís sentence and to resentence him to a total effective sentence not exceeding the sentence originally offered by the court.† The respondent appealed to the Appellate Court (127 Conn. App. 480), which found no error in the habeas courtís conclusion that the petitioner had prevailed on his ineffective assistance of counsel claim or in the remedy fashioned by the habeas court.† With respect to the remedy, the Appellate Court noted that a habeas court has considerable discretion to frame a remedy, so long as the remedy is commensurate with the scope of the constitutional violations which have been established.† The Supreme Court granted the respondent's petition for certification to appeal and will decide whether the Appellate Court properly affirmed the remedy fashioned by the habeas court for ineffective assistance of counsel during plea negotiations.