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Madigosky v. Commissioner of Correction

Court of Appeals of Connecticut

April 11, 2017


          Argued November 29, 2016

         Appeal from Superior Court, judicial district of Tolland, Cobb, J.

          Norman A. Pattis, with whom, on the brief, was Brittany B. Paz, for the appellant (petitioner).

          Sarah Hanna, assistant state's attorney, with whom, on the brief, were Maureen Platt, state's attorney, and Jo Anne Sulik, supervisory assistant state's attorney, for the appellee (respondent).

          Beach, Mullins and Bear, Js. [*]


          BEACH, J.

         The petitioner, Gregg Madigosky, appeals from the judgment of the habeas court denying his petition for a writ of habeas corpus. The petitioner claims that the court erred in concluding that he failed to prove ineffective assistance of counsel by not adequately preparing an expert witness. We affirm the judgment of the habeas court.

         The following facts regarding the underlying criminal conviction were set forth by our Supreme Court on direct appeal. ‘‘The [petitioner] and Lynn Bossert, the victim, began living together in 1993. During their relationship, he was gainfully employed as a draftsman for Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation. As their relationship continued, the [petitioner] grew suspicious about the victim's fidelity, and when she became pregnant, he questioned whether he was the father of the baby. In March, 2003, the victim gave birth to a girl, two months premature. The victim and the [petitioner] later hired a nanny, Delores Sowa, to care for the baby while both parents worked.

         ‘‘On September 11, 2003, the [petitioner] arrived home from work at approximately 5:50 p.m., took over the care of the baby and received the daily report from Sowa before she left. When the victim arrived home, she and the [petitioner], along with the baby, went to a previously scheduled counseling session with a family and marriage therapist, Julie M. Sowell, whom the couple had been seeing for the previous five months. The counseling session ended at 7:45 p.m.

         ‘‘Sometime after 9 p.m. that evening, the [petitioner] and the victim had an altercation in their home, during which the [petitioner] pushed the victim and then strangled her to death. In strangling the victim, the [petitioner] used both of his hands and a dog leash. The strangulation caused extensive petechial hemorrhaging and edema, which indicated that force had been applied to the victim's neck for a prolonged length of time. The [petitioner] stopped applying pressure to the victim's neck only after she had ceased struggling. He then ripped a locket from the victim's neck and left her body lying on the floor in a pool of blood. Sometime thereafter, the [petitioner] wrote what appeared to be a suicide note to his friends and family.

         ‘‘At about 7:05 a.m. the following morning, the [petitioner] telephoned Sowa, who was due to arrive shortly before 7:30 a.m., and told her not to come to the house because he was staying home from work that day. Sowa asked to speak with the victim, but the [petitioner] said that she was in the shower. The [petitioner] then put the baby in his car and drove to his parents' home. As soon as he arrived, he realized that he had forgotten the baby's diaper bag and returned to his house. There, he packed up the baby's things, including diapers, wipes, bottles and formula, and returned to his parents' home. The [petitioner's] father met him in the driveway, where the [petitioner] told his father that he and the victim had had a fight, that he had pushed her and that ‘she might be dead.' When the two entered the house with the baby, the [petitioner's] father awakened his wife and told her that the [petitioner] had said that ‘[the victim] might be dead.' The [petitioner] went into the bathroom and began sobbing. The [petitioner's] father left his house to check on the victim. After discovering the victim lying dead on the floor surrounded by blood, he telephoned the police.

         ‘‘While the [petitioner] waited at his parents' home with his mother, the police surrounded the home. Major Peter Warren of the state police telephoned the house and asked to speak with the [petitioner]. The [petitioner] fully understood and complied with Warren's instructions to come out of the front door of the house slowly. Once outside, the [petitioner] followed additional instructions that he was given, and he was arrested without further incident.

         ‘‘Following his arrest, the [petitioner] was brought to the police station where he gave a statement to state police Detectives Richard Covello and Brian Van Ness. During the interview, the [petitioner] made several incriminating and remorseful statements. He stated that he did not deserve help because of what he had done to the victim. Then, slumped over with his head down, he began crying. Later, in response to a question regarding what in his past he regretted most, the [petitioner] said, ‘taking [the victim's] life.' The [petitioner] admitted to killing the victim, and forensic examination of the victim's fingernail clippings revealed skin scrapings consistent with the [petitioner's] DNA. . . .

         ‘‘At trial, the [petitioner] presented two affirmative defenses: that he suffered from a mental disease or defect and that he suffered from an extreme emotional disturbance. In support of those defenses, he offered the testimony of Marvin Zelman, a board certified psychiatrist. Zelman testified that, on February 24, 2003, the [petitioner] went to the police complaining of depression and paranoia. The police brought the [petitioner] to Waterbury Hospital for an emergency psychiatric examination, which resulted in the [petitioner's] inpatient treatment for nine days and subsequent outpatient treatment. According to the hospital records, the [petitioner] reported that, although he had been prescribed psychiatric medications for mental illness, he had not been taking those medications for the past year. The hospital diagnosed the [petitioner] as having major depression, recurrent, with psychosis. While at the hospital, the [petitioner] initially was prescribed Haldol, an antipsychotic medication, but later was prescribed Risperdal, another antipsychotic medication effective in the treatment of both schizophrenia and bipolar dis- order, and Remeron, an antidepressant. The [petitioner] was discharged from the hospital on March 4, 2003, despite his physician's conclusion that he was, at the time of discharge, a danger to himself and to others. Although he was supposed to remain on his psychiatric medications, in the weeks after his discharge, the [petitioner] gradually reduced and then discontinued taking his medications. In the days before the victim was killed, the [petitioner] suffered from paranoid delusions, believing, in part, that he was being investigated at work for the crash of a helicopter designed by the company. The [petitioner] told Zelman that he had killed the victim because he was angry at her for cheating on him with her former husband or one of his coworkers. Zelman testified that, in his opinion, on the date of the killing, the [petitioner] was ‘psychotic, and [that] the nature of his illness is schizoaffective disorder, depressive type.' In his opinion, the strangulation was a product or byproduct of the [petitioner's] mental illness. Zelman explained: ‘[The [petitioner]] was severely disturbed. He was psychotic, out of touch with reality, incapable of making judgments, reasonable judgments, and mentally ill at the time and this is how he responded to a provocation.' In Zelman's opinion, the events between the time the [petitioner] was discharged from the hospital and the night ...

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