May 10, 2016
from Superior Court, judicial district of Tolland, Fuger, J.
E. Mortimer, with whom, on the brief, was Michael D. Day, for
the appellant (petitioner).
Hanna, assistant state's attorney, with whom, on the
brief, were Gail P. Hardy, state's attorney, and
Lisamaria T. Proscino, special deputy assistant state's
attorney, for the appellee (respondent).
Mullins and Mihalakos, Js.
the habeas court's denial of his amended petition for a
writ of habeas corpus, the petitioner, Arnaldo Saez, appeals
from the judgment of the court denying his petition for
certification to appeal. On appeal, the petitioner claims
that the court abused its discretion by denying his petition
for certification to appeal on the following grounds: (1) his
trial counsel rendered ineffective assistance in the
presentation of the petitioner's self-defense claim; and
(2) the habeas court improperly prohibited the petitioner
from testifying that he was the victim of attacks prior to
committing the homicide of which he was convicted. We
conclude that the court did not abuse its discretion in
denying the petition for certification to appeal, and,
accordingly, we dismiss the appeal.
record reveals the following relevant factual and procedural
history. At the petitioner's criminal trial, the state
presented evidence that in the early morning of July 3, 1994,
the petitioner had been a passenger in a van traveling on
Benton Street in Hartford. Upon seeing the victim, Lazaro
Rodriguez, and Janette Reyes, a friend of both the petitioner
and the victim, walking along the street, the petitioner
yelled out, ‘‘Who own the street?'' Reyes
assumed the petitioner was joking and responded that she did.
The petitioner asked the question again, but this time he
directed it to the victim. The victim replied,
‘‘What do you mean?'' The victim
approached the van, and according to Reyes, the petitioner
punched the victim in the face. The victim punched the
the ensuing fight between the victim and the petitioner, the
petitioner withdrew a knife from his pocket and stabbed the
victim. The victim raised his arm to protect himself and
jumped backward to get away from the petitioner. After
continuing to stab him in the chest area, the petitioner told
the victim, ‘‘You dead man. You dead.''
The petitioner got back into the van and left the scene. The
petitioner fled to New York and ultimately was apprehended in
California two months later. As he awaited trial, the
petitioner informed his cellmate that on the night of the
murder he had been at a bar and was ‘‘looking to
get out and take someone out.'' He told the cellmate
that he had thought he was losing the fight when he took out
his knife and began stabbing the victim.
February 5, 1997, following a trial before a three judge
panel, the petitioner was convicted of one count of murder in
violation of General Statutes § 53a-54a. He thereafter
was sentenced to fifty years incarceration.
petitioner filed an appeal from his conviction, but he did
not pursue the appeal and it was dismissed after his
appointed appellate counsel was granted permission to
withdraw pursuant to Anders v. California,
386 U.S. 738, 87 S.Ct. 1396, 18 L.Ed.2d 493 (1967)
(establishing procedure by which appointed counsel may
withdraw from criminal appeal on ground of frivolousness). On
July 18, 2014, the petitioner filed an amended petition for a
writ of habeas corpus, alleging ineffective assistance of
trial counsel. On October 30, 2014, in an oral decision, the
habeas court denied the petition. On November 12, 2014, the
court denied the petitioner's petition for certification
to appeal. The present appeal followed.
begin by setting forth our standard of review following the
denial of certification to appeal from the denial of a
petition for a writ of habeas corpus. ‘‘Faced
with a habeas court's denial of a petition for
certification to appeal, a petitioner can obtain appellate
review of the dismissal of his petition for habeas corpus
only by satisfying the two-pronged test enunciated by our
Supreme Court in Simms v. Warden, 229 Conn.
178, 640 A.2d 601 (1994), and adopted in Simms v.
Warden, 230 Conn. 608, 612, 646 A.2d 126 (1994).
First, he must demonstrate that the denial of his petition
for certification constituted an abuse of discretion. . . .
To prove an abuse of discretion, the petitioner must
demonstrate that the [resolution of the underlying claim
involves issues that] are debatable among jurists of reason;
that a court could resolve the issues [in a different
manner]; or that the questions are adequate to deserve
encouragement to proceed further. . . . Second, if the
petitioner can show an abuse of discretion, he must then
prove that the decision of the habeas court should be
reversed on the merits. . . . In determining whether there
has been an abuse of discretion, every reasonable presumption
should be given in favor of the correctness of the
court's ruling . . . [and] [r]eversal is required only
where an abuse of discretion is manifest or where injustice
appears to have been done.'' (Internal quotation
marks omitted.) Wilson v. Commissioner of
Correction, 150 Conn.App. 53, 56-57, 90 A.3d 328, cert.
denied, 312 Conn. 918, 94 A.3d 641 (2014).
we note that [t]he conclusions reached by the [habeas] court
in its decision to dismiss [a] habeas petition are matters of
law, subject to plenary review. . . . [When] the legal
conclusions of the court are challenged, [the reviewing
court] must determine whether they are legally and logically
correct . . . and whether they find support in the facts that
appear in the record.'' ...