January 30, 2017
from Superior Court, judicial district of Tolland, Oliver, J.
Michael W. Brown, assigned counsel, for the appel- lant
Timothy F. Costello, assistant state's attorney, with
whom, on the brief, were David S. Shepack, state's
attorney, and Angela R. Macchiarulo, senior assistant
state's attorney, for the appellee (respondent).
DiPentima, C. J., and Mullins and Flynn, Js.
petitioner, Brian S., appeals from the judgment of the habeas
court denying his amended petition for a writ of habeas
corpus. On appeal, the petitioner claims that the court erred
in concluding that he failed to prove that his criminal trial
counsel had provided ineffective assistance. We affirm the
judgment of the habeas court.
following facts and procedural history inform our review.
After years of repeatedly sexually assaulting his minor
daughter, the petitioner was arrested, charged, and convicted
of two counts of sexual assault in the first degree in
violation of General Statutes § 53a-70 (a) (2) and one
count of risk of injury to a child in violation of General
Statutes § 53-21 (2). This court affirmed the
petitioner's conviction on direct appeal. State v.
Brian L. S., 129 Conn.App. 902, 19 A.3d 275, cert.
denied, 302 Conn. 907, 23 A.3d 1246 (2011).
September 17, 2014, the petitioner filed an amended petition
for a writ of habeas corpus in which he alleged that his
criminal trial counsel had provided ineffective assistance.
After a trial, the court denied the petition. The court
concluded that the petitioner failed to prove his claim
because he failed to establish that counsel's performance
had been deficient or that he was prejudiced by any alleged
deficiencies. The court, thereafter, granted the petition for
certification to appeal from the judgment denying the
petitioner's habeas petition. This appeal followed.
appeal, the petitioner claims that the court erred in
concluding that he failed to prove his claim of ineffective
assistance of criminal trial counsel. The plaintiff
specifically claims: ‘‘The habeas court erred by
finding that the petitioner's right to the effective
assistance of counsel was not violated by counsel's
failure to adequately challenge the medical evidence offered
by the prosecuting authority from the complainant's
colpos-copic examination.'' He asserts that
counsel's ability to challenge the medical evidence was
hampered by his failure to consult ‘‘with a
qualified expert with specific expertise in forensic medical
examinations of suspected child abuse victims . . .
.'' We are not persuaded.
analyzing the petitioner's claim, we set forth the
applicable law and the standard of review governing claims of
ineffective assistance of counsel. ‘‘When
reviewing the decision of ahabeas court, the facts found by
the habeas court may not be disturbed unless the findings
were clearly erroneous. . . . The issue, however, of
[w]hether the representation [that] a defendant received at
trial was constitutionally inadequate is a mixed question of
law and fact. . . . As such, that question requires plenary
review by this court unfettered by the clearly erroneous
standard. . . .
criminal defendant is constitutionally entitled to adequate
and effective assistance of counsel at all critical stages of
criminal proceedings. . . . This right arises under the sixth
and fourteenth amendments to the United States constitution
and article first, § 8, of the Connecticut constitution.
. . . It is axiomatic that the right to counsel is the right
to the effective assistance of counsel. . . .
enunciated in Strickland v. Washington, [466 U.S.
668, 687, 104 S.Ct. 2052, 80 L.Ed.2d 674 (1984)] . . . [a]
claim of ineffective assistance of counsel consists of two
components: a performance prong and a prejudice prong. To
satisfy the performance prong . . . the petitioner must
demonstrate that his attorney's representation was not
reasonably competent or within the range of competence
displayed by lawyers with ordinary training and skill in the
criminal law. . . . To satisfy the prejudice prong, a
claimant must demonstrate that there is a reasonable
probability that, but for counsel's unprofessional
errors, the result of the proceeding would have been
different. . . . A court can find against a petitioner, with
respect to a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel, on
either the performance prong or the prejudice prong . . .
.'' (Citations omitted; internal quotation marks
omitted.) Michael T. v. Commissioner of
Correction, 319 Conn. 623, 631-32, 126 A.3d 558 (2015).
respect to the performance prong of Strickland, we
are mindful that [j]udicial scrutiny of counsel's
performance must be highly deferential. It is all too
tempting for a defendant to second-guess counsel's
assistance after conviction or adverse sentence, and it is
all too easy for a court, examining counsel's defense
after it has proved unsuccessful, to conclude that a
particular act or omission of counsel was unreasonable. . . .
A fair assessment of attorney performance requires that every
effort be made to eliminate the distorting effects of
hindsight, to reconstruct the circumstances of counsel's
challenged conduct, and to evaluate the conduct from
counsel's perspective at the time. Because of the
difficulties inherent in making the evaluation, a court must
indulge a strong presumption that counsel's conduct falls
within the wide range of reasonable professional assistance;
that is, the defendant must overcome the presumption that,