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Richards v. Commissioner of Correction

Appellate Court of Connecticut

April 26, 2016

FABIAN RICHARDS
v.
COMMISSIONER OF CORRECTION

         Argued January 14, 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, Oliver, J.; judgment denying the petition, from which the petitioner, on the granting of certification, appealed to this court.

          Appeal dismissed.

          SYLLABUS

         The petitioner sought a writ of habeas corpus, claiming that his trial counsel had provided ineffective assistance by failing to adequately advise him of the immigration consequences of his guilty pleas to the crimes of assault in the second degree and carrying a pistol without a permit, for which he was convicted. The habeas court rendered judgment denying the petition and, thereafter, granted the petition for certification to appeal, and the petitioner appealed to this court. The petitioner was a citizen of Jamaica who had visited the United States, married an American citizen, and received permanent resident status. The United States Immigration Court issued a deportation order, which did not state the official basis for his removal, and the petitioner was deported during the pendency of this appeal.

         Held that the petitioner's appeal was dismissed as moot, there having been no practical relief that this court could afford him: given that the petitioner was deported after the habeas trial underlying the present appeal, this court could not ascertain the basis for his deportation on the record before it, and, therefore, the petitioner failed to establish that the underlying conviction was the exclusive basis for his deportation; moreover, given that the petitioner failed to produce any evidence before the habeas court that, in the absence of his convictions, he would be permitted to return to the United States, the petitioner failed to establish that this court retained jurisdiction over his appeal pursuant to the collateral consequences doctrine.

         Elyssa N. Williams, for the appellant (petitioner).

         Jacob L. McChesney, special deputy assistant state's attorney, with whom, on the brief, were Gail P. Hardy, state's attorney, and Robin D. Krawczyk, senior assistant state's attorney, for the appellee (respondent).

         Gruendel, Lavine and Mullins, Js.[*] MULLINS, J. In this opinion the other judges concurred.

          OPINION

          MULLINS, J.

          [164 Conn.App. 863] The petitioner, Fabian Richards, appeals from the judgment of the habeas court denying his petition for a writ of habeas corpus. In his petition, the petitioner alleged that his criminal trial counsel had provided ineffective assistance by failing to advise the petitioner adequately of the immigration consequences he faced by entering a guilty plea. Because the petitioner already has been deported to Jamaica, pursuant to a deportation order issued by the United States Immigration Court, and has failed to establish that any practical relief could be provided by this court, we conclude that his appeal is moot. Accordingly, the appeal is dismissed.

         The petitioner is a native of Jamaica, who lawfully entered this country on January 8, 2007, on a visitor visa. He married a citizen of the United States and received permanent resident status in 2010. In 2012, the petitioner entered guilty pleas to charges of second degree assault in violation of General Statutes § 53a-60 (a) (2) and carrying a pistol without a permit in violation of General Statutes § 29-35 (a). Subsequently, he brought this habeas petition alleging that his trial counsel rendered ineffective assistance by failing to advise him adequately of the immigration consequences of his [164 Conn.App. 864] plea. The habeas court denied his petition but granted certification to appeal, and the petitioner filed the present appeal.

         Several months after the petitioner had filed his appellate brief, the respondent, the Commissioner of Correction, on October 1, 2015, submitted to the Appellate Court clerk's office a letter that stated: " The Commissioner respectfully requests that the clerk bring the following matter to the court's attention. During the pendency of this appeal, the petitioner has been deported from the United States to Jamaica pursuant to an immigration court deportation order. This is a relevant fact for the court's consideration under State v. Aquino, 279 Conn. 293, 901 A.2d 1194 (2006), and St. Juste v. Commissioner of Correction, 155 Conn.App. 164, 109 A.3d 523, cert. granted, 316 Conn. 901, 111 A.3d 470 (2015)."

         The respondent also submitted a letter of supplemental authority, stating that it may also refer to 8 U.S.C. § 1229b (a), 8 U.S.C. § 1229b (d), 8 U.S.C. § 1182 (a) (2) (A), and 8 U.S.C. § 1182 (a) (2) (C). The respondent contends that the appeal is moot. The petitioner's counsel concedes that the petitioner has been deported, but argues that the matter is not moot.[1] We agree with the [164 ...


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