Cruz v. Commissioner of Correction

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*********************************************** The “officially released” date that appears near the be- ginning of each opinion is the date the opinion will be pub- lished in the Connecticut Law Journal or the date it was released as a slip opinion. The operative date for the be- ginning of all time periods for filing postopinion motions and petitions for certification is the “officially released” date appearing in the opinion. All opinions are subject to modification and technical correction prior to official publication in the Connecticut Reports and Connecticut Appellate Reports. In the event of discrepancies between the advance release version of an opinion and the latest version appearing in the Connecticut Law Journal and subsequently in the Connecticut Reports or Connecticut Appellate Reports, the latest version is to be considered authoritative. The syllabus and procedural history accompanying the opinion as it appears in the Connecticut Law Journal and bound volumes of official reports are copyrighted by the Secretary of the State, State of Connecticut, and may not be reproduced and distributed without the express written permission of the Commission on Official Legal Publica- tions, Judicial Branch, State of Connecticut. *********************************************** JOSHUA CRUZ v. COMMISSIONER OF CORRECTION (AC 43961) Bright, C. J., and Prescott and Lavine, Js. Syllabus The petitioner, who had been convicted on a plea of guilty to the crime of murder, sought a writ of habeas corpus, claiming that his counsel pro- vided ineffective assistance. At the time of his plea, the trial court found that it was made voluntarily and informed the petitioner that, pursuant to his agreement with the state, he would be sentenced to a period of twenty-five to forty-two years of incarceration. Prior to his sentencing hearing, the petitioner filed a letter with the trial court seeking to with- draw his guilty plea, indicating that his attorney, G, had coerced him into pleading guilty and that he thought he was doing so to a charge of manslaughter rather than to murder. The trial court then appointed a new attorney, P, to represent the petitioner and P filed a motion to withdraw the petitioner’s guilty plea. The petitioner withdrew that motion at his sentencing hearing and the trial court sentenced him to thirty-eight years of incarceration. The petitioner subsequently filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus, claiming that, during plea negotia- tions, G misadvised him as to the negotiated plea agreement and his sentence exposure, failed to make a thorough investigation of the facts, failed to consult with him adequately before his guilty plea, and failed to present favorable information to the trial court. Additionally, the petitioner claimed that, during his sentencing hearing, P failed to present mitigating evidence and failed to advocate zealously to secure the lowest sentence contemplated by the plea agreement. Following an evidentiary hearing, the habeas court rendered judgment denying the habeas peti- tion, and the petitioner, on the granting of certification, appealed to this court. Held: 1. The habeas court did not err in concluding that the petitioner had failed to …

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