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State v. Hudson

Court of Appeals of Connecticut

June 26, 2018

STATE OF CONNECTICUT
v.
ROBERT LEE HUDSON III

          Argued February 5, 2018

         Procedural History

         Substitute information charging the defendant with the crimes of criminal possession of a firearm and altering the identification mark of a firearm, brought to the Superior Court in the judicial district of Stamford-Norwalk, where the defendant was presented to the court, Hon. Richard F. Comerford, Jr., judge trial referee, on a plea of guilty; judgment of guilty in accordance with the plea, from which the defendant appealed to this court. Affirmed.

          W. Theodore Koch III, assigned counsel, for the appellant (defendant).

          Bruce R. Lockwood, senior assistant state's attorney, with whom, on the brief, were Richard J. Colangelo, Jr., state's attorney, Paul Ferencek, supervisory assistant state's attorney, and James Bernardi, former supervisory assistant state's attorney, for the appellee (state).

          Lavine, Prescott and Harper, Js.

          OPINION

          PRESCOTT, J.

         The defendant, Robert Lee Hudson III, appeals following the judgment of conviction, challenging only the sentence imposed on him by the trial court following his plea of guilty under the Alford[1] doctrine to criminal possession of a firearm in violation of General Statutes (Rev. to 2013) § 53a-217[2] and altering the identification mark of a firearm in violation of General Statutes (Rev. to 2013) § 29-36.[3] The defendant's plea was entered subject to a Garvin agreement.[4] The sole issue on appeal is whether the court violated the defendant's right to due process when it found that he had violated the Garvin agreement without first conducting a hearing in accordance with State v. Stevens, 278 Conn. 1, 11-13, 895 A.2d 771 (2006), to determine whether probable cause existed to support the defendant's subsequent arrest, which was the basis of the violation. We conclude that the defendant's right to due process was not infringed and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the court.

         The record reveals the following relevant facts and procedural history. On September 9, 2013, the defendant was arrested pursuant to a warrant for criminal possession of a firearm in violation of § 53a-217, altering the identification mark of a firearm in violation of § 29-36, and having a weapon in a motor vehicle in violation of General Statutes (Rev. to 2013) § 29-38. The charges stemmed from the defendant's alleged involvement with an attempted burglary in Stamford (Stamford arrest).

         On September 4, 2014, the defendant pleaded guilty, under the Alford doctrine, to criminal possession of a firearm and altering the identification mark of a firearm. The defendant subsequently entered into a Garvin agreement whereby the court agreed to release the defendant on bond while he awaited sentencing and to impose the agreed upon sentence, which was six years incarceration, followed by four years of special parole, so long as he (1) appeared in court for sentencing on December 5, 2014, and (2) was not arrested while out on bond (no new arrests condition). The court advised the defendant that, if he violated a condition of the Garvin agreement, he was no longer entitled to the agreed upon sentence and the court instead could sentence him up to the statutory maximum period of incarceration for the charges to which he pleaded guilty. The court canvassed the defendant as follows:

‘‘Q. Now you're out on bond on these files, sir. You understand you have to be back here on December 5th. Do you understand that, sir?
‘‘A. Yes, sir.
‘‘Q. If you don't come back on that date, I will feel free to sentence you to the maximum term for the charges to which you've plead[ed] [guilty], which is ten years to serve; two [years] mandatory minimum time.
Do you understand that, sir?
‘‘A. Yes, sir.
‘‘Q. In addition to that, you would be charged with failure to appear in the first degree, which brings with it an additional five years in the state's prison ...

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