Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Anthony A. v. Commissioner of Correction

Supreme Court of Connecticut

August 29, 2017

ANTHONY A.
v.
COMMISSIONER OF CORRECTION[*]

          Argued February 23, 2017

          Edward Wilson, Jr., assistant attorney general, with whom, on the brief, were George Jepsen, attorney general, and Terrence M. O'Neill and Steven R. Strom, assistant attorneys general, for the appellant (respondent).

          Richard E. Condon, Jr., senior assistant public defender, for the appellee (petitioner).

          Rogers, C. J., and Palmer, Eveleigh, McDonald, Espinosa and Robinson, Js. [**]

         Syllabus

         The petitioner sought a writ of habeas corpus, claiming that the respondent Commissioner of Correction had incorrectly classified him as a sex offender without providing procedural due process as required under the federal constitution. The petitioner had been convicted of unlawful restraint in the first degree, failure to appear and violation of probation. Prior to the petitioner's incarceration, the state entered a nolle prosequi as to a charge of sexual assault in a spousal relationship after the petitioner's wife recanted her statement to the police that the petitioner had sexually assaulted her during the same incident that formed the basis for the charges of which he was convicted. Thereafter, the respondent classified the petitioner as a sex offender, even though the petitioner was never convicted of a sex offense and had no prior history as a sex offender. As a result of that classification, the Department of Correction required the petitioner to participate in sex offender treatment or risk forfeiture of supervised community release, parole and the opportunity to earn risk reduction earned credit. The petitioner refused to participate in treatment. The habeas court dismissed the petition, concluding that, because the petitioner failed to allege a protected liberty interest, the court lacked subject matter jurisdiction. On the granting of certification, the petitioner appealed to the Appellate Court, which reversed the habeas court's judgment and remanded the case for a hearing on the merits. The Appellate Court concluded that the petitioner's allegations established a protected liberty interest under the stigma plus test applied by the federal courts to determine whether an inmate who challenges, inter alia, his allegedly wrongful classification as a sex offender has established such an interest. On the granting of certification, the respondent appealed to this court. Held that the petitioner's allegations in the habeas petition, which this court was required to accept as true, were sufficient to allege a protected liberty interest that conferred jurisdiction on the habeas court, and, accordingly, the Appellate Court properly reversed the habeas court's judgment; the petitioner satisfied his burden of establishing a protected liberty interest under the applicable stigma plus test, as the petitioner's allegation that the respondent had improperly classified him a sex offender established stigma, and his allegation that he was required to participate in sex offender treatment or risk forfeiting parole eligibility, community release, and good time credits established that he suffered negative consequences as a result of that allegedly erroneous classification in that the consequences were qualitatively different from the punishments usually suffered by inmates such that they constituted a major change in the conditions of confinement that amounted to a grievous loss.

         Procedural History

         Petition for a writ of habeas corpus, brought to the Superior Court in the judicial district of Tolland and tried to the court, Sferrazza, J.; judgment dismissing the petition, from which the petitioner, on the granting of certification, appealed to the Appellate Court, Alvord, Sheldon and Norcott, Js., which reversed the habeas court's judgment and remanded the case for further proceedings, and the respondent, on the granting of certification, appealed to this court. Affirmed.

          OPINION

          ESPINOSA, J.

         The present appeal requires us to determine the appropriate test for resolving whether an inmate's prison classification implicates a protected liberty interest. The respondent, the Commissioner of Correction, appeals from the judgment of the Appellate Court reversing the judgment of the habeas court, which dismissed the petition for a writ of habeas corpus filed by the petitioner, Anthony A., for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.[1] Anthony A. v. Commissioner of Correction, 159 Conn.App. 226, 242, 122 A.3d 730 (2015). The respondent claims that, contrary to the conclusion of the Appellate Court, the habeas court properly dismissed the petition on the basis that the petitioner failed to allege a protected liberty interest. The petitioner responds that the allegations in the petition, which claim that he was incorrectly classified as a sex offender and that he suffered negative consequences as a result of that erroneous classification, sufficiently alleged a cognizable liberty interest to confer jurisdiction on the court. We agree with the petitioner and affirm the judgment of the Appellate Court.

         Because this appeal arises from the habeas court's ruling dismissing the petition on the basis that the court lacked jurisdiction, we take the facts to be those alleged in the petition, including those facts necessarily implied from the allegations, construing them in favor of the petitioner for purposes of deciding whether the court had subject matter jurisdiction.[2] See Dorry v. Garden, 313 Conn. 516, 521, 98 A.3d 55 (2014). The allegations in the petition and attachments thereto establish that the petitioner is an inmate who was convicted after pleading guilty to unlawful restraint in the first degree, failure to appear and violation of probation. Initially, the victim, the petitioner's wife, also told the police that the petitioner had sexually assaulted her, but she subsequently recanted that statement, and the state entered a nolle prosequi as to the charge of sexual assault in a spousal relationship.

         Upon the petitioner's incarceration, he was classified pursuant to an administrative directive of the Department of Correction (department), which provides in relevant part: ‘‘Each inmate under the custody of the Commissioner of Correction shall be classified to the most appropriate assignment for security and treatment needs to promote effective population management and preparation for release from confinement and supervision. . . .'' Department of Correction, Administrative Directive 9.2 (1) (effective July 1, 2006) (Administrative Directive 9.2). An inmate's classification depends on his risks and needs scores, each of which is evaluated pursuant to specific factors. Administrative Directive 9.2 (8) (A) and (B).[3] Those scores and the resulting classification determine the inmate's ‘‘appropriate confinement location, treatment, programs and employment assignment whether in a facility or the community.'' Administrative Directive 9.2 (3) (A).

         The department classified the petitioner as a sex offender, despite the fact that he had not been convicted of a sex offense and had no prior history as a sex offender.[4] As a consequence of the erroneous classification, the petitioner was offered a choice. He could participate in ‘‘sex treatment'' that was recommended by his offender accountability plan or risk forfeiture of supervised community release, parole and the opportunity to earn risk reduction earned credit (good time credits). He refused to participate in treatment.

         The petitioner subsequently filed this petition, claiming that he had been classified as a sex offender without being provided procedural due process. At the hearing on the petition, the court first heard argument as to whether it had jurisdiction. The petitioner argued that he had alleged sufficient facts to establish a cognizable liberty interest. Specifically, he argued that the classification had been ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.