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Thompson v. Commissioner of Correction

Court of Appeals of Connecticut

August 14, 2018

ROBERT E. THOMPSON
v.
COMMISSIONER OF CORRECTION

          Argued April 9, 2018

         Procedural History

         Amended 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.

          Mary A. Beattie, assigned counsel, for the appellant (petitioner).

          Linda Currie-Zeffiro, assistant state's attorney, with whom, on the brief, were Patrick J. Griffin, state's attorney, and Adrienne Russo, deputy assistant state's attorney, for the appellee (respondent).

          Prescott, Elgo and Blawie, Js.

          OPINION

          BLAWIE, J.

         The petitioner, Robert E. Thompson, appeals from the judgment of the habeas court denying his amended petition for a writ of habeas corpus. On appeal, the petitioner claims that the court improperly concluded that he failed to prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, that his trial counsel rendered deficient performance because he failed to move for a mistrial or to seek any curative measures following prejudicial testimony from the complainant. We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the habeas court.

         The following facts and procedural history are relevant to our resolution of this appeal.[1] The petitioner was charged with accosting a woman that he had approached on a New Haven street, and luring her to a residence under the guise of joining a local church group. Following a jury trial, the petitioner was convicted of kidnapping in the first degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-92, sexual assault in the first degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-70, assault in the third degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-61, and threatening in the second degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-62. Attorney Tejas Bhatt represented the petitioner at his criminal trial. Bhatt's assessment was that the outcome of the case hinged on the credibility of the complainant, whom the state called to testify at the criminal trial. During the direct examination of the complainant, the following exchange occurred:

‘‘[The Prosecutor]: What led him-what-what happened when he hit you? What led him to hit you?
‘‘[The Complainant]: He told me to take my clothes off. . . .
‘‘[The Prosecutor]: Did you-were you telling him no?
‘‘[The Complainant]: Yes.
‘‘[The Prosecutor]: And what did you-what else did you say to him?
‘‘[The Complainant]: I asked him, why you doing this to me, and he said, I'm ...

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