April 14, 2016
from Superior Court, judicial district of Danbury, Carroll,
J. [judgment]; Wenzel, J. [motion to correct illegal
sentence]; Roraback, J. [motion to correct illegal sentence].
Deborah G. Stevenson, assigned counsel, for the appellant
L. McChesney, special deputy assistant state's attorney,
with whom, on the brief, were Stephen J. Sedensky III,
state's attorney, and Sean P. McGuinness, assistant
state's attorney, for the appellee (state).
Alvord, Mullins and Pellegrino, Js.
defendant, James Baker, appeals from the judgment of the
trial court denying his motion to correct an illegal sentence
filed pursuant to Practice Book § 43-22. After pleading
guilty under the Alford doctrine to possessing a weapon or
dangerous instrument in a correctional institution in
violation of General Statutes § 53a-174a (a),
defendant was sentenced to eighteen months of imprisonment.
The defendant claims on appeal that the trial court (1)
improperly denied his motion to correct the eighteen month
sentence because the sentence violates the double jeopardy
clause of the federal constitution, and (2) abused
its discretion by excluding evidence that was relevant to the
disposition of the motion to correct. We affirm the judgment
of the trial court.
following facts and procedural history are relevant to this
appeal. On February 16, 1999, the defendant, who was an
inmate at the Garner Correctional Institution, was involved
in a physical altercation with other inmates. At the time of
the altercation, the defendant was serving a thirty-two year
sentence of imprisonment for two 1994 murder convictions.
Department of Correction (department) officers observed the
defendant attempt to assault another inmate by charging at
the inmate with a sharp object in his hand. Department
officers ordered the defendant to drop the object, but the
defendant ignored their commands and charged at several other
inmates with the object in his hand. After suppressing the
altercation, department officers recovered the sharp object
and determined that it was a shank that had been fabricated
from white cloth, masking tape, and two metal prongs.
same day of the incident, department investigators
interviewed the defendant, who pleaded guilty in a department
administrative proceeding to three violations of prison
policy: (1) impeding order; (2) contraband (dangerous
instrument); and (3) fighting. Department officials then
imposed the following disciplinary sanctions on the
defendant: (1) three disciplinary reports; (2) loss of 120
days of statutory good time credit; (3) loss of commissary
privileges for ninety days; (4) loss of visits for sixty
days; (5) confinement to quarters for thirty days; (6)
punitive segregation for seven days; (7) loss of telephone
privileges for forty days; and (8) loss of mail privileges
for sixty days. Furthermore, sometime in March or April of
1999, after determining that the defendant was a security
risk, the department transferred him to the maximum security
prison at Northern Correctional Institution (Northern). The
defendant was incarcerated at Northern for approximately one
April 28, 1999, the state charged the defendant with one
count of possessing a weapon or dangerous instrument in a
correctional institution in violation of § 53a-174a (a).
On October 13, 1999, the defendant pleaded guilty to that
charge. The court sentenced the defendant to a period of
eighteen months of incarceration to run consecutive to the
sentence he already was serving for his previous murder
August 9, 2013, the defendant filed a motion to correct an
illegal sentence, which was amended on August 29, 2013
(amended motion). In the amended motion, the defendant
asserted that the eighteen month sentence of incarceration
violated the double jeopardy protections of the state and
federal constitutions because the sentence and department
sanctions constituted multiple punishments for the same
offense. The defendant listed fourteen items that he alleged
the department had imposed as administrative sanctions for
his conduct in the 1999 prison incident. The first eight
items were set forth previously in this opinion. The
remaining six items related to (1) the defendant's
transfer to Northern and (2) the effect of the eighteen month
sentence on the defendant's ability to enter a halfway
an evidentiary hearing on the amended motion, the trial
court, Roraback, J., denied the
defendant's motion. The court concluded that the eighteen
month sentence was not imposed in violation of the
defendant's protections against double jeopardy. In
particular, the court ruled that the department sanctions
were not ‘‘grossly disproportionate to the
government's interest in maintaining prison order and
discipline.'' Thereafter, the defendant filed a
motion to reargue the matter, which the court granted. The
court, however, affirmed its original ruling and denied the
relief requested by the defendant. The court reiterated that
the department sanctions did not violate the double jeopardy
clause because they were not grossly disproportionate to the
government's remedial interest in maintaining order and
discipline. This appeal followed. Additional facts will be
provided as necessary.
first claim, the defendant asserts that the trial court erred
in denying the amended motion because the eighteen month
sentence of imprisonment violates his constitutional right
against double jeopardy. Specifically, he argues that
imposing this sentence after the department already had
sanctioned him violated the double jeopardy clause's
prohibition on imposing multiple criminal punishments for the
same offense. The state responds that, because the department
sanctions did not constitute criminal punishment, the double
jeopardy clause did not preclude the court from imposing the
eighteen month sentence. We agree with the state and conclude
that trial court properly denied the defendant's amended
begin with the standard of review and relevant legal
principles. ‘‘Ordinarily, a claim that the trial
court improperly denied a defendant's motion to correct
an illegal sentence is reviewed pursuant to the abuse of
discretion standard.'' State v.
Tabone, 279 Conn. 527, 534, 902 A.2d 1058 (2006). A
double jeopardy claim, however, ‘‘presents a
question of law, over which our review is plenary.''
State v. Burnell, 290 Conn. 634, 642, 966
A.2d 168 (2009). ‘‘[C]laims of double jeopardy
involving multiple punishments present a question of law to
which we afford plenary review.'' State v.
Tabone, 292 Conn. 417, 439, 973 A.2d 74 (2009).
‘‘Because the issue of whether an administrative
sanction constitutes punishment for purposes of double
jeopardy is a question of law, [our] review [is] de
novo.'' (Internal quotation marks omitted.) State
v. Duke, 48 Conn.App. 71, 74, 708 A.2d 583,
cert. denied, 244 Conn. 911, 713 A.2d 829 (1998).
Book § 43-22 provides that ‘‘[t]he judicial
authority may at any time correct an illegal sentence or
other illegal disposition, or it may correct a sentence
imposed in an illegal manner or any other disposition made in
an illegal manner.'' Accordingly, ‘‘the
trial court and this court, on appeal, have the power, at any
time, to correct a sentence that is illegal.''
(Internal quotation marks omitted.) State v.
Constantopolous, 68 Conn.App. 879, 882, 793 A.2d
278, cert. denied, 260 Conn. 927, 798 A.2d 971 (2002).
‘‘An illegal sentence is essentially one which
either exceeds the relevant statutory maximum limits,
violates a defendant's right against double jeopardy, is
ambiguous, or is internally contradictory.''
(Internal quotation marks omitted.) State v.
McNellis, 15 Conn.App. 416, 443-44, 546 A.2d 292,
cert. denied, 209 Conn. 809, 548 A.2d 441 (1988).
double jeopardy clause of the fifth amendment to the federal
constitution provides in relevant part that no person shall
‘‘be subject for the same offense to be twice put
in jeopardy of life or limb . . . .'' The double
jeopardy clause guarantees three specific protections:
‘‘It protects against a second prosecution for
the same offense after acquittal. It protects against a
second prosecution for the same offense after conviction. And
it protects against multiple punishments for the same
offense.'' (Footnotes omitted.) North Carolina
v.Pearce, 395 U.S. 711, 717, 89 S.Ct. 2072, 23
L.Ed.2d 656 (1969), overruled on other grounds by Alabama
v.Smith, 49 ...