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Suggs v. Warden

Superior Court of Connecticut, Judicial District of Tolland, Rockville, Geographic Area 19

October 13, 2015

Clinton Suggs #172510
v.
Warden

MEMORANDUM OF DECISION

Vernon D. Oliver, J.

The petitioner, Clinton Suggs, initiated this petition for a writ of habeas corpus, claiming that his underlying criminal counsel provided him ineffective legal representation. He seeks an order of this court vacating his convictions and returning the matter to the criminal court for further proceedings. The court finds the issues for the respondent and denies the petition.

Procedural History

In the criminal matter State of Connecticut v. Clinton Suggs, CR07-0066984, in the New Haven Judicial District, the petitioner was charged in an Amended Information with Sexual Assault third degree, in violation of Connecticut General Statutes § 53a-72a(a)(1), Risk of Injury to a Minor, in violation of General Statutes § 53-21(a)(2), Assault third degree, in violation of General Statutes § 53a-61(a)(1), Sexual Assault first degree, in violation of General Statutes § 53a-70(a)(1), Risk of Injury to a Minor, in violation of General Statutes § 53-21(a)(2), Violation of Conditions of Release first degree, in violation of General Statutes § 53a-222, Burglary second degree, in violation of General Statues § 53a-102 and Threatening second degree, in violation of General Statutes § 53a-62. (Exhibit B.) He was also charged in a Part B Information as a Persistent Serious Felony Offender in which the prosecuting authority alleged that the petitioner had previously been convicted of two felonies involving sexual contact. (Exhibit C.)

On July 31, 2009, while the jury was deliberating, the petitioner entered guilty pleas under the Alford Doctrine to Sexual Assault third degree and Sexual Assault first degree. At trial, the petitioner was represented by attorneys Scott M. Jones and Tejas Bhatt. On October 30, 2009, in docket number CR09-0091027, the petitioner entered guilty pleas to Assault third degree and Disorderly Conduct, in violation of General Statutes § 53a-182. On that same date, in docket number CR09-0095089, the petitioner entered a guilty plea to Violation of a Protective Order, in violation of General Statutes § 53a-223. On October 30, 2009, in docket number CR07-0066984, the petitioner was sentenced by the Court, Damiani, J., to twenty years incarceration, execution suspended after fifteen years to serve, followed by ten years probation on Sexual Assault first degree and five years to serve, concurrent, on Sexual Assault third degree. On that same date, in docket number CR09-0095089 and CR09-0091027, the petitioner was sentenced by the same Court to unconditional discharges on the three aforementioned charges, resulting in an agreed upon total effective sentence of twenty years' incarceration, suspended after fifteen years to serve, followed by ten years probation.

On November 18, 2009, the petitioner filed a pro se petition for a writ of habeas corpus, initiating Clinton Suggs v. Commissioner of Correction, under docket number CV09-4003274. On September 7, 2012, the petitioner withdrew the aforementioned petition and filed a second pro se petition on November 13, 2012, giving rise to instant matter.

The Court conducted a trial on the merits on May 26, 2015. The petitioner called as witnesses himself, underlying counsel, a former Office of the Public Defender Investigator, and the petitioner's former spouse. Both parties moved a number of exhibits into evidence. After orally withdrawing a number of claims, the petitioner asserts that his underlying criminal counsel was constitutionally deficient in that they:

1. Failed to adequately cross examine, impeach and challenge the testimony of the victim, " D.J.";
2. Failed to adequately present an alternative " innocent explanation" for the victim's allegations of sexual abuse;
3. Failed to investigate and present evidence concerning the petitioner's employment records; and
4. Failed to investigate and present evidence concerning the petitioner's wife's employment records.

The petitioner claims that these deficiencies resulted in the petitioner entering guilty pleas during jury deliberations and that had counsel not been deficient, he would not have entered pleas and the outcome of the criminal trial would have been more favorable to him. The respondent denies the allegations. The Court finds the issues for the respondent and denies the petition.

II

Law/Discussion


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