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State v. Baldwin

Court of Appeals of Connecticut

July 3, 2018

STATE OF CONNECTICUT
v.
LEE BALDWIN

          Argued April 9, 2018

         Procedural History

         Substitute information charging the defendant with the crimes of risk of injury to a child and sexual assault in the fourth degree, and with two counts of violation of probation, brought to the Superior Court in the judicial district of New Haven, geographical area number twenty-three, where the defendant was presented to the court, Cradle, J., on a plea of guilty to risk of injury to a child and an admission to the violations of probation; judgment in accordance with the plea; thereafter, the court denied the defendant's motion to modify the conditions of his probation, and the defendant appealed to this court. Affirmed.

          Temmy Ann Miller, assigned counsel, with whom, on the brief, was Scott Jongebloed, for the appellant (defendant).

          Laurie N. Feldman, special deputy assistant state's attorney, with whom, on the brief, were Patrick J. Griffin, state's attorney, and Donald S. MacCalmon, assistant state's attorney, for the appellee (state).

          DiPentima, C. J., and Alvord and Flynn, Js.

          OPINION

          DiPENTIMA, C. J.

         The defendant, Lee Baldwin, appeals challenging the denial of his motion to modify the terms and conditions of his probation filed pursuant to General Statutes § 53a-30 (c). Specifically, he claims that (1) the court's denial violated his fifth amendment privilege against self-incrimination in a future proceeding and (2) the court abused its discretion in denying the motion to modify and not allowing the defendant to delay his sex offender treatment until his pending habeas action had concluded. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

         The following facts and procedural history are relevant to our discussion. On July 11, 2014, the defendant pleaded guilty, pursuant to the Alford doctrine, [1] to two counts of violating his probation and one count of risk of injury to a child.[2] During discussions, on the record, just prior to the plea canvass, defense counsel noted that the defendant ‘‘realizes during his [sex offender] treatment he has to admit to the underlying conduct.'' The court immediately asked the defendant if he had discussed this requirement with his counsel, and he responded in the affirmative. The defendant also acknowledged that the court would require him to register as a sex offender.

         During the canvass, the court repeated that, due to the nature of the defendant's conduct, he would be required to register as a sex offender. The court also informed the defendant that he would be required to participate in sex offender treatment during his probation. The court then stated: ‘‘Now, what is important for you to understand is that during the period of your probation, when you go to sex offender treatment they are going to require you to acknowledge that you've committed the acts that you are charged with today and that you've [pleaded] to. You understand what I mean by that?'' The defendant responded in the affirmative. The court then cautioned the defendant as follows: ‘‘Okay. Because if you don't acknowledge that you committed the act that can be a violation of probation and then you would come back here and the state would be looking for you to serve eight years in jail. Any questions about that?'' The defendant responded in the negative.

         The court accepted the defendant's plea, finding that it was made knowingly and voluntarily with the assistance of competent counsel. On September 23, 2014, the court sentenced the defendant to ten years incarceration, execution suspended after two years, and five years probation. The court also required the defendant to register as a sex offender and to participate in sex offender treatment. In March, 2016, the defendant commenced a habeas action, alleging ineffective assistance of counsel with respect to his Alford plea on July 11, 2014.

         On May 31, 2016, the defendant filed a motion to modify the conditions of his probation pursuant to § 53a-30 (c).[3] He requested that ‘‘he not be required to discuss any aspect of the facts underlying his conviction or other facts for which he has a [f]ifth [a]mendment privilege against self-incrimination [in sex offender treatment] until after petitioner's habeas litigation has concluded.''

         At a hearing on July 18, 2016, defense counsel explained that the defendant was seeking to stay his sex offender treatment until the resolution of his habeas case. The state filed its written response to the defendant's motion on August 5, 2016. It argued that the defendant had not shown good cause as required by § 53-30 (c) and that the defendant was made fully aware of the terms of his guilty plea, including participating in sex offender treatment and admitting to his criminal actions.

         On September 12, 2016, the court, after hearing briefly from the parties, issued its oral decision denying the defendant's motion to modify the terms of his probation. At the outset, it noted that sex offender treatment was part of the defendant's guilty plea pursuant to the Alford doctrine. It further determined that the requirement that the defendant participate in sex offender treatment as part of his probation did not affect the merits of his pending habeas action. Additionally, the court concluded that there were policy and public safety concerns that did not warrant the suspension of his sex offender treatment. The court also ...


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