May 26, 2016
from Superior Court, judicial district of Hartford, Clifford,
J. [judgment]; Alexander, J. [motion to correct].)
Heather Clark, assigned counsel, for the appellant
Melissa Patterson, assistant state’s attorney, with
whom, on the brief, were Gail P. Hardy, state’s
attorney, and Michele C. Lukban and John F. Fahey, senior
assistant state’s attorneys, for the appellee (state).
Lavine, Beach and Alvord, Js.
defendant, Michael McClean, appeals from the trial
court’s judgment of dismissal of his motion to correct
an illegal sentence. On appeal, the defendant claims that the
court erred by dismissing his motion to correct an illegal
sentence after concluding that his sentence did not violate
the eighth amendment to the United States constitution, as
explicated by Miller v. Alabama, __ U.S.__,
132 S.Ct. 2455, 183 L.Ed.2d 407 (2012). We conclude that
the trial court improperly determined that it lacked
jurisdiction to consider the defendant’s motion, but
correctly concluded that the defendant’s federal and
state constitutional rights have not been violated. As we
explain, the defendant’s sentence does not violate the
constitutional sentencing parameters set forth in
Miller. See State v. Logan, 160
Conn.App. 282, 287, 125 A.3d 581 (2015), cert. denied, 321
Conn. 906, 135 A.3d 279 (2016). The form of the judgment is
improper, and we therefore reverse the judgment and remand
the case with direction to render judgment denying the
defendant’s motion to correct an illegal sentence. See,
e.g., State v. Gemmell, 155 Conn.App. 789,
790, 110 A.3d 1234, cert. denied, 316 Conn. 913, 111
A.3d 886 (2015).
following facts are relevant to this appeal.
‘‘[O]n December 23, 1994, the [defendant] was
arrested and charged with murder in violation of General
Statutes § 53a-54a (a). Pursuant to a plea agreement
negotiated by his defense counsel . . . the [defendant]
pleaded guilty to the murder charge under the Alford
doctrineon January 5, 1998. . . . In exchange for
the petitioner’s guilty plea, the state recommended a
sentence of thirty years incarceration and dropped additional
charges and withdrew its request for a sentence
enhancement.’’ (Footnote omitted.) McClean
v. Commissioner of Correction, 103 Conn.App.
254, 255-56, 930 A.2d 693 (2007), cert. denied, 285 Conn.
913, 943 A.2d 473 (2008). The parties waived the presentence
investigation report. ‘‘On March 20, 1998, the
court [Clifford, J.] sentenced the [defendant] to
thirty years incarceration in accordance with the plea
agreement.’’ Id., 256.
defendant, who was initially self-represented, filed a motion
to correct an illegal sentence on September 20, 2013. On
March 26, 2014, the defendant’s public defender filed a
motion to correct illegal disposition and a memorandum of law
on behalf of the defendant. The defendant claimed that his
sentence was imposed in an illegal manner because (1) he was
not given an individualized sentencing hearing during which
the court considered the mitigating factors of the
defendant’s youth, as required by Miller v.
Alabama, supra, 132 S.Ct. 2455; and (2) he
will not be provided with a meaningful opportunity to obtain
release on the basis of his demonstrated maturity and
rehabilitation, as required by Graham v.
Florida, 560 U.S. 48, 130 S.Ct. 2011, 176 L.Ed.2d
court, Alexander, J., heard oral argument on the
motion on April 4, 2014. The court issued its memorandum of
decision on July 23, 2014, dismissing the motion. It
determined that the defendant’s sentence will expire
when he is approximately forty-five years old. At that time
in Connecticut, Graham and Miller applied
only to mandatory life without parole
sentences. The court thus determined that
‘‘the defendant is not entitled to the relief
sought, as it exceeds the jurisdiction of the
regard to the trial court’s jurisdiction, the
defendant’s motion to correct contended that his
sentence was imposed in an improper manner, namely, because
it was imposed without following the procedures outlined in
Miller. Thus, the defendant’s claim was
properly raised by a motion to correct pursuant to Practice
Book § 43-22. See State v.
Williams-Bey, 167 Conn.App. 744, A.3d (2016). As we
explained in Williams-Bey, ‘‘[t]he
court’s conclusion that it could not provide the
defendant a remedy did not implicate the court’s
authority to determine whether the sentence had been imposed
in an illegal manner.’’ Id., 761. As in
Williams-Bey, however, it is clear from the
court’s memorandum of decision that it considered the
merits of the defendant’s constitutional claims. We
conclude that the court properly concluded that the
defendant’s sentence did not violate the eighth
amendment or the constitution of Connecticut, albeit for a
different reason. Accordingly, the proper disposition was for
the court to deny, rather than to dismiss, the
defendant’s motion to correct.
defendant’s constitutional claims are controlled by
this court’s recent decision in State v.
Logan, supra, 160 Conn.App. 282. In
Logan, this court concluded that a sentence of
thirty-one years imprisonment without the possibility of
parole imposed on a juvenile offender does not violate the
eighth amendment, as interpreted by Miller v.
Alabama, supra, 132 S.Ct. 2455. State
v. Logan, supra, 293. The defendant in
the present case was sentenced to thirty years imprisonment
without the possibility of parole. His sentence does not
violate the constitutional parameters established in
Miller. Furthermore, as we have stated, the
defendant is now eligible for parole pursuant to General
Statutes § 54-125a (f). See footnote 3 of this opinion.
form of the judgment is improper, the judgment is reversed
and the case is remanded with direction to render judgment
denying the ...