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Morquecho v. Commissioner of Correction

Appellate Court of Connecticut

April 19, 2016

JULIO MORQUECHO
v.
COMMISSIONER OF CORRECTION

         Submitted on briefs February 10, 2016

          Amended petition for a writ of habeas corpus, brought to the Superior Court in the judicial district of Tolland and tried to the court, Cobb, J.; judgment denying the petition; thereafter, the court denied the petition for certification to appeal, and the petitioner appealed to this court.

          SYLLABUS

         The petitioner, who had been convicted of the crime of murder, sought a writ of habeas corpus claiming that his trial counsel had provided ineffective assistance by failing to call certain alibi witnesses. The habeas court credited his trial counsel's testimony that none of the potential alibi witnesses could have established that the petitioner was home during the critical time frame when the murder occurred, and the court found the testimony of the petitioner and his brother that he was home during the time the murder occurred to be not credible. The habeas court concluded that counsel's decision not to call the witnesses and pursue an alibi defense was reasonable and constituted sound trial strategy, and rendered judgment denying 2 the petition. Thereafter, the habeas court denied the petition for certification to appeal, and the petitioner appealed to this court.

         Held that the petitioner could not demonstrate that the habeas court abused its discretion in denying the petition for certification to appeal, the petitioner having failed to demonstrate that any issue raised with regard to the court's denial of his petition for a writ of habeas corpus was debatable among jurists of reason, that a court could have resolved any such issue in a different manner, or that any question raised deserved encouragement to proceed further; furthermore, given the habeas court's credibility determinations, that court properly determined that the petitioner had failed to demonstrate that counsel's performance was deficient.

         Walter C. Bansley IV, assigned counsel, filed a brief for the appellant (petitioner).

         Sarah Hanna, assistant state's attorney, Stephen J. Sedensky III, state's attorney, and Angela R. Macchiarulo, senior assistant state's attorney, filed a brief for the appellee (respondent).

         DiPentima, C. J., and Beach and Mullins, Js. DiPENTIMA, C. J. In this opinion the other judges concurred.

          OPINION

          DiPENTIMA, C. J.

          [164 Conn.App. 677] The petitioner, Julio Morquecho, appeals following the denial of his petition for certification to appeal from the judgment of the habeas court denying his amended petition for a writ of habeas corpus. On appeal, the petitioner claims that the court abused its discretion in denying his petition for certification to appeal, that the denial of his amended petition for a writ of habeas corpus was improper because his trial counsel provided ineffective assistance in failing to call certain witnesses during his criminal trial, and [164 Conn.App. 678] that he was prejudiced as a result.[1] We dismiss the appeal.

         The habeas court set forth the following factual and procedural history.[2] " Although the petitioner and the victim were never married, they had a long-term relationship that produced two children. They moved together from Ecuador to Danbury.

         " In the spring of 2005, the victim became involved romantically with a coworker. When the petitioner found out about the relationship, he became angry and threatened to kill the coworker. The victim became afraid of the petitioner and moved out of the apartment where she had been living with him. The petitioner stalked her and made numerous threats. After spending some time in prison for violating a restraining order, the petitioner was released on April 13, 2006. Shortly thereafter, the petitioner made threats to kill the victim.

         " The victim was murdered in the early morning hours of April 20, 2006, between 1:40 a.m. and 6 a.m., when she was found by the police outside her home with her throat slit. The victim had left work at 1 a.m. and drove [another coworker] home, dropping the coworker off at 1:40 a.m.

         " At the time of the murder, the petitioner lived with family in Danbury only a few minutes from the victim's home. Police interviewed the petitioner and members of his household as to the petitioner's whereabouts on the night of the murder. Neither the petitioner nor his family members could confirm that the petitioner was at ...


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