January 19, 2016.
from Superior Court, judicial district of Tolland, Cobb, J.
Heather Clark, assigned counsel, for the appellant
Melissa L. Streeto, senior assistant state's attorney,
with whom, on the brief, were Kevin D. Lawlor, state's
attorney, and Angela R. Macchiarulo, senior assistant
state's attorney, for the appellee (respondent).
Sheldon and Prescott, Js.
petitioner, Nyron Dumas, appeals following the denial of his
petition for certification to appeal from the judgment of the
habeas court dismissing in part and denying in part his
petition for a writ of habeas corpus. He claims that the
habeas court abused its discretion in denying his petition
for certification to appeal and, as to the merits, improperly
denied a count of his habeas petition for failure of proof.
We disagree with the petitioner and agree with the result
reached by the habeas court, but on an alternative ground.
following facts and procedural history are relevant to the
petitioner's appeal. In February, 1999, the then fourteen
year old petitioner was at an apartment visiting another
person. While there, he and the victim exchanged words that
led to a heated argument. When he was asked to leave the
apartment, the petitioner did so. He went outside, below the
apartment's balcony, and yelled at the victim to come
outside. The victim went onto the balcony and the petitioner
fatally shot the victim in the abdomen. In October, 1999,
when the petitioner was fifteen years old, he pleaded guilty
to manslaughter in the first degree with a firearm in
violation of General Statutes § 53a-55 (a). That charge
carried a maximum penalty of forty years imprisonment and a
minimum of five years imprisonment. General Statutes
§§ 53a-55a, 53a-35a (5). At the time of the guilty
plea, the state noted that the agreement called for thirty
years incarceration with a right to argue for less. The state
indicated that, because of the petitioner's age, the
recommendation was for ten years less than the maximum
sentence permitted by statute. At sentencing, the
defendant's attorney stated, ‘‘Obviously,
I'm going to argue to the court to consider his age; and
I think it is a very critical component in this particular
sentencing.'' The court concluded, ‘‘This
incident, with all the circumstances I've heard, he took
the life of the victim here. There has not been any showing
of any just cause. The state has given consideration in
reducing the charge and the plea agreement both to the
factors I have cited, having no prior record and his age. . .
. The unfortunate circumstance of the age or the loss of
loved ones around him is that he did not understand the value
of human life and the blessing he . . . did have, despite all
the trials that he had been given as well. . . . The only way
that the court can impress upon him the value of a human
life, particularly at his age, is by the impact my sentence
will have on his own.'' The court then sentenced the
petitioner to thirty years incarceration.
October, 2008, the self-represented petitioner filed an eighteen
count petition for a writ of habeas corpus. In count eleven,
which is the only count implicated in this appeal, the
petitioner alleged that ‘‘the sentence imposed
was inappropriate and disproportionate in light of the nature
of the offense, the character of the offender, the protection
of public interest and the deterrent, rehabilitative,
isolative and denunciatory purposes for which the sentence
was intended . . . . [T]he sentence imposed was unduly
excessive in light of the petitioner's youth and
diminished capacity at the time of the crime.''
(Citation omitted.) The petitioner attached to his petition a
number of documents, including transcripts from the
underlying criminal proceedings and several scholarly
1, 2014, the day the habeas trial was set to begin, the
following colloquy occurred:
‘‘The Court: Okay. All right. So, Mr. Dumas, are
you ready to proceed to trial today?
‘‘[The Petitioner]: No.
‘‘The Court: Okay. Well, today's your trial
day, so we're going forward.
‘‘[The Petitioner]: Yeah, but I don't
understand habeas law, so that's why I ...