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.

State v. Smith

Court of Appeals of Connecticut

December 19, 2017

STATE OF CONNECTICUT
v.
JACQUI SMITH

          Argued October 11, 2017

          Laila M. G. Haswell, senior assistant public defender, for the appellant (defendant).

          Robert J. Scheinblum, senior assistant state's attorney, with whom, on the brief, were John C. Smriga, state's attorney, and C. Robert Satti, Jr., supervisory assistant state's attorney, for the appellee (state).

          DiPentima, C. J., and Sheldon and Mihalakos, Js.

          OPINION

          DiPENTIMA, C. J.

         The defendant, Jacqui Smith, appeals from the judgment of the trial court revoking his probation and sentencing him to five years incarceration. The defendant claims that (1) the court improperly denied his motion to dismiss the probation violation charge on the basis that the hearing did not occur within 120 days of his arraignment in violation of General Statutes § 53a-32 (c) and (2) the evidence was insufficient to prove that he had operated a motor vehicle while his driver's license was under suspension in violation of General Statutes § 14-215 (a) and, therefore, he is entitled to a new sentencing hearing. The state counters that, pursuant to State v. Kelley, 164 Conn.App. 232, 137 A.3d 822 (2016), aff'd, 326 Conn. 731, 167 A.3d 961 (2017), the 120 day time frame of § 53a-32 (c) is directory and, additionally, that the court properly found good cause for the delay. The state concedes, however, that there was insufficient evidence for the court to conclude that the defendant had violated § 14-215 (a), and, therefore, under these facts and circumstances, the defendant is entitled to a new sentencing hearing. We conclude that the court properly determined that the 120 day time period of § 53a-32 (c) is a nonmandatory ‘‘guideline.'' Further, we agree that a new sentencing hearing is required. Accordingly, we affirm in part and reverse in part the judgment of the trial court.

         The following facts and procedural history are necessary for our discussion. The defendant was convicted of drug related offenses in January, 2013, and sentenced to ten years incarceration, execution suspended after three years, and three years of probation. He was released from custody on April 1, 2015, and first reported to his probation officer on April 9, 2015. During this meeting, the probation officer reviewed the conditions of probation with the defendant.

         The standard conditions of probation provided, inter alia, that the defendant was not to violate any criminal law of the United States or the state of Connecticut, that he was to report as instructed to the probation officer and that he was to inform the probation officer if he was arrested. The specific conditions of probation required the defendant to complete a mental health evaluation, to complete a substance abuse evaluation and treatment, if necessary, to obtain full-time employment and/or educational/vocational training, to attend one ‘‘Project Safe Neighborhood Meeting'' within the first three months of probation and not to possess drugs, narcotics or weapons. The defendant signed a form listing the conditions of his probation.

         On June 15, 2015, the state charged the defendant with violating his probation. See General Statutes § 53a-32 (a). It alleged that on May 25, 2015, Bridgeport police officers observed the defendant driving a motor vehicle and noticed that the occupants were not wearing seat-belts. After a brief investigation, the officers issued the defendant a misdemeanor summons for operating a motor vehicle while his driver's license was under suspension in violation of § 14-215 (a) and without minimum insurance in violation of General Statutes § 14-213b. The state also claimed that the defendant had missed four appointments for an integrated mental health and substance abuse assessment. The defendant was arraigned on the violation of probation charge on June 30, 2015.

         On December 16, 2015, the defendant moved to dismiss the probation violation charge pursuant to § 53a-32 (c). Specifically, the defendant argued that he had ‘‘been held on this charge for more than 120 days in violation of said statute.'' On December 21, 2015, the court, Devlin, J., held a hearing on the defendant's motion. After hearing from the parties, the court ruled as follows: ‘‘[A]s I read this statute, it is advisory. This is a statute which advises the court of the legislature's concern. . . . [T]he statute does not provide that the remedy for not having someone adjudicated on their violation of probation case is a dismissal of the charge. It doesn't provide for that. . . . So, I'm going to deny this motion to dismiss.''

         The next day, the court, Kavanewsky, J., conducted a hearing on the probation violation charge. At the conclusion of the adjudicatory phase, [1] the court found the following facts. ‘‘The state has established that the defendant violated the terms and conditions of his probation in several different respects, including reporting as the probation officer directed him to, keep the probation officer advised of his general whereabouts, also more specific conditions relating to the defendant obtaining mental health, regarding substance abuse and regarding attendance at, at least one project safe neighborhood meeting.'' It further found that the defendant had been advised of these conditions in April, 2015, but essentially ‘‘dropped off the radar'' in May, 2015.

         The court also expressly found, on the basis of the testimony of two police officers, that the defendant had operated a motor vehicle in violation of § 14-215 (a) on May 25, 2015. Accordingly, the court found, by a preponderance of the evidence, [2] that the defendant wilfully had violated the terms and conditions of his probation.

         During the dispositional phase, the court determined that the beneficial aspects and purposes of probation were no longer being served. The court then stated: ‘‘[The defendant] was previously sentenced to ten years, suspended after three years, with three years' probation. The judgment previously entered is reopened. The sentence is vacated and the defendant is sentenced . . . to a period of five years to serve . . . .'' This appeal followed.

         On October 4, 2016, the trial court issued a memorandum of decision further explaining the oral decision denying the defendant's motion to dismiss. It concluded that our decision in State v.Kelley, supra, 164 Conn.App. 232, was dispositive. Specifically, the court noted that in Kelley, which had been released after the hearing and oral decision on the defendant's motion to dismiss, we concluded that the 120 day limitation of § 53a-32 (c) is a ‘‘goal'' ...


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.