United States District Court, D. Connecticut
EARL M. UNDERWOOD, Plaintiff,
JOHN DAY / HABEAS UNIT, Defendants.
INITIAL REVIEW ORDER
A. Bolden, United States District Judge
Underwood (“Plaintiff”), currently incarcerated
at the Enfield Correctional Institution, has filed a civil
Complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against John Day/Habeas
following reasons, the Complaint is
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
Underwood claims that Defendants violated his Fourteenth
Amendment rights by appointing J. Patton Brown, the attorney
who had represented him in his state criminal trial, as his
attorney in a state habeas petition that he filed in 2016
challenging his criminal conviction.
was held in Mr. Underwood's criminal case beginning in
November 2010 at the New Britain Superior Court. See
Compl. at 2, 5 ¶ 6. On December 13, 2010, a jury found
Mr. Underwood guilty of the offenses with which he had been
charged. See Id. at 5 ¶ 6 & Ex. B at 6;
State v. Underwood, HHB-CR08-0241471-T (Conn. Super.
Ct. Dec. 13, 2010). On March 1, 2011, the court sentenced Mr.
Underwood to seventeen years of imprisonment. See
Compl., Ex. B at 6. Attorney J. Patten Brown of West
Hartford, Connecticut represented Mr. Underwood at trial.
See Id. at ¶ 7. On May 21, 2013, the
Connecticut Appellate Court affirmed Mr. Underwood's
convictions and, on October 2013, the Connecticut Supreme
Court denied the petition for certification to appeal from
the decision of the Connecticut Appellate Court. See
State v. Underwood, 142 Conn.App. 666, 684, cert.
denied, 310 Conn. 927 (2013).
March 2016, Mr. Underwood filed a state habeas petition in
the Connecticut Superior Court for the Judicial District of
New Britain challenging his conviction on multiple grounds,
including ineffective assistance of trial counsel.
See Compl. at 2 ¶ 5 & Ex. B at 6-10. At the
end of April 2016, Mr. Underwood learned that the court had
referred his habeas petition to the Connecticut Innocence
Project Post Conviction Unit of the State of Connecticut
Division of Public Defender Services for a determination of
whether he was financially eligible for appointed counsel.
See Id. & Ex. A at 4. Upon determining that Mr.
Underwood was eligible for appointed counsel, legal staff at
the Connecticut Innocence Project Post Conviction Unit
forwarded his petition to John Day, Director of Assigned
Counsel. See Id. ¶ 6 & Ex. A at 4. Director
Day appointed J. Patten Brown to represent Mr. Underwood in
the state habeas petition. See Id. at 5 ¶ 8.
Attorney Brown had represented Mr. Underwood during his
criminal case and Mr. Underwood was asserting a claim of
ineffective assistance of trial counsel in his state habeas
petition, Mr. Underwood found the appointment of Mr. Brown as
his attorney in the state habeas petition to be illogical,
erroneous and unconstitutional. See Id. ¶¶
8-9. In June 2017, almost a year after he learned of the
appointment of J. Patton Brown as his habeas attorney, Mr.
Underwood filed a motion to vacate the appointment, and, on
July 10, 2017, the motion was granted. See Id. at 13
¶ 10. On July 13, 2017, Attorney Christopher Duby
appeared for Mr. Underwood in his state habeas case. See
Underwood v. Commissioner of Correction,
TSR-CV16-4007953-S (Party & Appearance Information - July
January 19, 2018, Mr. Underwood filed a Complaint in this
Court against John Day and the Habeas Unit. Compl. at 1. On
January 24, 2018, Magistrate Judge William I. Garfinkel
granted Mr. Underwood's motion to proceed in forma
pauperis. ECF No. 6.
25, 2018, Mr. Underwood filed a motion for default entry. ECF
20, 2018, Mr. Underwood filed a motion to be permitted to add
an affidavit to support his Complaint. ECF No. 9.
August 8, 2018, the Court granted Mr. Underwood's motion
to amend and permitted him to attach an ...