Submitted on briefs February 22, 2018.
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 denying the petition,
from which the petitioner, on the granting of certification,
appealed to this court. Affirmed.
F. Meehan and Walter C. Bansley IV filed a brief for the
L. Chupak, senior assistant state's attorney, Gail P.
Hardy, state's attorney, and Jo Anne Sulik, supervisory
assistant state's attorney, filed a brief for the
DiPentima, C. J., and Lavine and Pellegrino, Js.
DiPENTIMA, C. J.
petitioner, Kermit Francis, appeals from the judgment of the
habeas court denying his amended petition for a writ of
habeas corpus. The habeas court granted his petition for
certification to appeal to this court; he claims on appeal
that he was prejudiced as a result of the ineffective
assistance of his erstwhile habeas counsel, Michael Day.
Specifically, the petitioner argues that, at his habeas
trial, Day failed (1) to question a witness properly and (2)
to present evidence of that witness' availability to
testify at the original criminal trial. We affirm the
judgment of the habeas court.
following facts, as summarized by our Supreme Court on the
petitioner's direct appeal, are relevant.
‘‘On December 20, 1993, the [petitioner], along
with Casey Wilcox, Andre Shirley and Corey Rosemond, were
selling crack cocaine in the area of [Wilcox'] residence
at 88 Atwood Street in Hartford. The victim, Moses Barber,
Jr., a regular customer, purchased drugs from the
[petitioner]. After making his purchase, he walked away. The
victim later returned to [Wilcox'] porch and engaged in
an argument with the [petitioner] concerning the drug sale.
The victim and the [petitioner] left the porch and the
[petitioner] proceeded up a dark driveway between two
buildings directly across the street from [Wilcox']
residence. The victim remained near the street. As they
continued to argue, the [petitioner] approached the victim
and shot him. The victim died later that night as a result of
a gunshot wound to his abdomen.
December 21, 1993, Wilcox asked the [petitioner] for his guns
for the purpose of threatening an individual who had accused
Wilcox of shooting the victim. The [petitioner] went into the
basement of a house on Atwood Street, and emerged with a
handgun and rifle, which he gave to Wilcox. Wilcox, in turn,
gave the weapons to Rosemond and instructed Rosemond to put
the weapons in the trunk of a vehicle parked behind
[Wilcox'] residence. The next morning, Hartford police
officers, armed with a search warrant, seized the weapons
from the trunk of the vehicle and, thereafter, learned that
the [petitioner] did not have a permit to carry a pistol or
revolver. Moreover, the police officers found that the serial
number on the pistol had been ground off.
Wilcox, Shirley and Rosemond gave statements implicating the
[petitioner] in the murder, and a warrant was issued on
December 23, 1993, for the [petitioner's] arrest. The
[petitioner] was arrested in New York in June,
1995.'' (Footnotes omitted.) State v.
Francis, 246 Conn. 339, 342-43, 717 A.2d 696 (1998).
a trial, a jury found the petitioner guilty of murder in
violation of General Statutes (Rev. to 1993) § 53a-54a
(a), carrying a pistol without a permit in violation of
General Statutes (Rev. to 1993) § 29-35 and altering or
removing an identification mark on a pistol in violation of
General Statutes (Rev. to 1993) § 29-36. See State
v. Francis, supra, 246 Conn. 341-42. The trial court,
Barry, J., sentenced the petitioner to a total
effective sentence of sixty years imprisonment.
petitioner, representing himself, filed a petition for a writ
of habeas corpus dated January 1, 2001, alleging that his
criminal trial counsel, William B. Collins, had rendered
ineffective assistance. Eventually, the petitioner was
assigned counsel, Frank Cannatelli, who withdrew that first
petition with prejudice. That withdrawal prompted a second
habeas action, this time alleging, among other things, that
Cannatelli was ineffective for withdrawing the original
petition. After a trial (first habeas trial), the habeas
court, Schuman, J., partially granted the second
petition and restored the original petition under a new
restored petition, the petitioner, represented by Day,
alleged that Collins had rendered ineffective assistance.
Specifically, the petitioner alleged that Collins failed to
call Fredrica Knight, a potentially exculpatory witness, to
testify in the original criminal trial. After a trial (second
habeas trial), the habeas court, Bright, J., denied
the petition in a memorandum of decision, which ...