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Little v. Warden

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

October 20, 2015

Jermaine Little
v.
Warden

          Filed Date May 2, 2016

          HABEAS

          Hon. Stanley T. Fuger, J.

         THE COURT: Okay. The following's going to constitute the decision of this Court. Count four is going to be denied. It's an actual innocence claim. Before an actual innocence claim may proceed, there has to be newly discovered evidence. There has been nothing that even remotely approaches newly discovered evidence in this case.

         Further, as we know from the Gould and Taylor case, actual innocence requires affirmative proof of innocence. There has been nothing even approaching affirmative proof of innocence.

         Moreover, in this case, this was a guilty plea, straight up guilty plea. The defendant stood up in court, admitted that he committed the offenses, was canvassed properly by the judge. Plea was accepted. I question whether in any guilty plea case whether one could even thereafter come back and raise an argument of actual innocence.

         Now, before I go on and discuss the other issues, I do want to discuss a little bit about the state of the evidence in this case. I've heard testimony from Mr. Sexton, the attorney that represented the petitioner at the first habeas trial, and I've heard testimony by Mr. Little, and I have some documentary evidence.

         By far and away, the overwhelming majority of the evidence consists of hearsay-type testimony. Now, I admitted the statements. I listened to Mr. Little and didn't sustain any objections for the simple reason there weren't any objections.

         The way our Code of Evidence operates in the State of Connecticut, it is not a rule of inclusion. Hearsay is not per se inadmissible. There must be an objection raised before the Court may rule that a piece of documentary evidence or hearsay testimony is not admissible.

         In this case, there was an absence of objections, so the evidence was admitted. Now, the fact that the evidence is admitted into the record, does not, in and of itself, make it credible and believable. It simply means it comes into the record. The Court is free to assess whatever credibility it wishes to evidence that is admitted without objection.

         And in this case, we have essentially Mr. Little, who has an obvious reason to misrepresent or spin the truth in his way, and I have nothing else. So I am going to give very little credence to the testimony offered by Mr. Little, and I'm going to give very little credence to most of the hearsay evidence that was admitted without objection.

         In count one, it's essentially the argument that the defendant was denied due process--the petitioner was denied due process, and this Court doesn't see that. The petitioner pled guilty, was properly canvassed, and the plea was properly accepted.

         Now, I understand the argument regarding the Salamon case, but, first of all, the Salamon case took place after the guilty plea, after the acceptance of the guilty plea and after the imposition of sentence in this case.

         Moreover, the facts that are recited by the prosecution in the guilty plea support that this was a kidnapping, that Salamon is not applicable in this case.

         It's also clear that Mr. Little was, could have and indeed was found to be liable for the kidnapping through the concept of vicarious liability, and once again I come back to the fact that there was a guilty plea in this case. Mr. Little entered a guilty plea, the highest form of proof known to the law, to the ...


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