March 9, 2017
from Superior Court, judicial district of Tolland, Fuger, J.
A. Barber, assigned counsel, for the appellant (petitioner).
Michele C. Lukban, senior assistant state's attorney,
with whom, on the brief, were Michael Dearington, former
state's attorney, and Rebecca A. Barry, assistant
state's attorney, for the appellee (respondent).
DiPentima, C. J., and Beach and Westbrook, Js.
the habeas court's denial of his amended petition for a
writ of habeas corpus, the petitioner, Norman Haughey,
appeals from the habeas court's denial of his petition
for certification to appeal. On appeal, the petitioner claims
that the habeas court abused its discretionin denying his
petition for certification to appeal because his mandatory
sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of
release violated the requirement of individualized,
proportionate sentencing under the eighth amendment to the
United States constitution as articulated in Miller v.
Alabama, 567 U.S. 460, 132 S.Ct. 2455, 183 L.Ed.2d 407
(2012).The petitioner also claims, for the
first time on appeal, that his mandatory sentence of life
without the possibility of release violates the Connecticut
constitution. We conclude that the habeas court did not abuse
its discretion in denying the petition for certification to
appeal, and, accordingly, we dismiss the appeal.
facts underlying the petitioner's conviction were set
forth previously by this court. ‘‘Sometime in the
late evening of December 1, 2003, the [petitioner] visited
the home of the victims, Donna Sosa and Mary Tomasi, located
on Albert Street in Hamden. The [petitioner] was personally
familiar with the victims, as his grandmother, with whom he
occasionally shared a residence, lived on Green Hill Road,
which abutted the victims' property. Intent on acquiring
money to support his crack cocaine addiction, the
[petitioner] gained access to the victims' home and
shortly thereafter attacked Sosa in the kitchen, stabbing her
repeatedly in the face, neck and right shoulder. The
[petitioner] then proceeded upstairs armed with a ten pound
dumbbell retrieved from the living room floor, where he found
Tomasi sleeping in her bedroom. After striking Tomasi in the
face with the dumbbell, fracturing her skull, the
[petitioner] searched through her purse, stealing cash and
several blank checks, which he later forged in an attempt to
acquire additional funds. Sosa and Tomasi died from these
[petitioner] subsequently was arrested and charged with two
counts of murder in violation of [General Statutes] §
53a-54a (a), two counts of felony murder (burglary) in
violation of [General Statutes] § 53a-54c and one count
of capital felony in violation of [General Statutes] §
53a-54b (7). A jury trial followed and the [petitioner] was
convicted on all counts. At sentencing, the court merged the
conviction of the murder and felony murder charges with the
capital felony conviction, imposing a term of life
imprisonment without the possibility of release.''
State v. Haughey, 124 Conn.App. 58, 60-61, 3 A.3d
980, cert. denied, 299 Conn. 912, 10 A.3d 529 (2010). This
court affirmed the petitioner's convictions on appeal.
1, 2011, the petitioner filed an initial petition for a writ
of habeas corpus, which he amended on January 6, 2015. In his
amended petition, the petitioner raised three claims,
alleging that (1) his trial counsel rendered ineffective
assistance ofcounsel; (2) his appellate counsel rendered
ineffective assistance of counsel; and (3) his life sentence
without the possibility of release is cruel and unusual
punishment. The only claim subject to this appeal, however,
is the petitioner's claim that his mandatory life
sentence violates the eighth amendment's prohibition
against cruel and unusual punishment. A trial on the merits
was held before the habeas court on April 7, 8, and 9, 2015.
On June 30, 2015, the habeas court issued a memorandum of
decision, denying the petitioner's amended petition.
the petitioner filed a petition for certification to appeal.
After the court denied the petition for certification to
appeal, this appeal followed. Additional facts will be set
forth as necessary.
begin by setting forth the ‘‘procedural hurdles
that the petitioner must surmount to obtain appellate review
of the merits of a habeas court's denial of the habeas
petition following denial of certification to appeal. In
Simms v. Warden, 229 Conn. 178, 187, 640 A.2d 601
(1994), [our Supreme Court] concluded that . . . [General
Statutes] § 52-470 (b) prevents a reviewing court from
hearing the merits of a habeas appeal following the denial of
certification to appeal unless the petitioner establishes
that the denial of certification constituted an abuse of
discretion by the habeas court. In Simms v. Warden,
230 Conn. 608, 615-16, 646 A.2d 126 (1994), [our Supreme
Court] incorporated the factors adopted by the United States
Supreme Court in Lozada v. Deeds, 498 U.S. 430,
431-32, 111 S.Ct. 860, 112 L.Ed.2d 956 (1991), as the
appropriate standard for determining whether the habeas court
abused its discretion in denying certification to appeal.
This standard requires the petitioner to demonstrate that the
issues 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. . . . A petitioner who establishes an abuse
of discretion through one of the factors listed above must
then demonstrate that the judgment of the habeas court should
be reversed on its merits. . . . In determining whether the
habeas court abused its discretion in denying the
petitioner's request for certification, we necessarily
must consider the merits of the petitioner's underlying
claims to determine whether the habeas court reasonably
determined that the petitioner's appeal was
frivolous.'' (Citations omitted; emphasis in
original; internal quotation marks omitted.) Castonguay
v. Commissioner of Correction, 300 Conn. 649, 657-58, 16
A.3d 676 (2011).
petitioner first claims that the habeas court improperly
concluded that he was not entitled to an individualized,
proportionate sentencing hearing, as articulated in
Miller, because he was twenty-five years old at the
time of the subject offenses. We conclude that the court did
not abuse its ...