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State v. Adams

Court of Appeals of Connecticut

November 13, 2018

STATE OF CONNECTICUT
v.
ANTHONY ADAMS

          Argued September 24, 2018

         Procedural History

         Substitute information charging the defendant with the crimes of felony murder and attempt to commit robbery in the first degree, and with two counts of the crime of hindering prosecution in the second degree, brought to the Superior Court in the judicial district of Ansonia-Milford, where the defendant was presented to the court, Iannotti, J., on a guilty plea to two counts of hindering proseuction in the second degree; judgment of guilty in accordance with the plea; subsequently, the court denied the defendant's motions to correct an illegal sentence and for procedural default, and the defendant appealed to this court. Affirmed.

          Anthony Adams, self-represented, the appellant (defendant).

          Laurie N. Feldman, special deputy assistant state's attorney, with whom, on the brief, were Kevin D. Lawlor, state's attorney, and Cornelius P. Kelly, supervisory assistant state's attorney, for the appellee (state).

          Elgo, Bright and Sullivan, Js.

          OPINION

          ELGO, J.

         The self-represented defendant, Anthony Adams, appeals from the judgment of the trial court denying his postsentencing motions to correct an illegal sentence and for procedural default. On appeal, the defendant claims that the court improperly (1) rejected his double jeopardy challenge to his sentence for two counts of hindering prosecution in the second degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-166, (2) concluded that his sentence did not exceed the statutory maximum, (3) denied his motion for procedural default, and (4) advocated on behalf of the state at the hearing on his motions. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

         On October 28, 2012, Daquane Adams and Eugene Walker were involved in a drug deal that culminated with the fatal shooting of the victim, Neville Malacai Registe. See State v. Walker, 180 Conn.App. 291, 296-97, 183 A.3d 1, cert. granted, 328 Conn. 934, 183 A.3d 634 (2018). After fleeing the scene, Adams and Walker telephoned the defendant. The defendant then placed a telephone call to a friend and had her pick up Adams and Walker from their location in New Haven.

         On August 18, 2016, the defendant was charged, by substitute information, with one count of felony murder in violation of General Statutes § 53a-54c, one count of attempt to commit robbery in the first degree in violation of General Statutes §§ 53a-8, 53a-49 (a) (2) and 53a-134 (a) (2), and two counts of hindering prosecution in the second degree in violation of § 53a-166. The defendant thereafter entered a guilty plea to two counts of hindering prosecution in the second degree.[1] In accordance with the terms of that plea, the court sentenced the defendant to consecutive terms of seven and one-half years incarceration, execution suspended after five years, with five years of probation. His total effective sentence on the two hindering prosecution counts was fifteen years incarceration, execution suspended after ten years, with five years of probation.

         Months later, the defendant filed a motion to correct an illegal sentence, claiming that his sentence exceeded the statutory maximum and violated the prohibition against double jeopardy.[2] The defendant later filed a motion for procedural default predicated on the state's failure to file a written response to his motion to correct. The court held a hearing on the defendant's motions on July 26, 2017, at which it denied both motions. From that judgment, the defendant now appeals.

         I

         The defendant first claims that the court improperly rejected his double jeopardy challenge to his sentence on the two hindering prosecution counts. In response, the state argues that the defendant waived that claim by pleading guilty to those counts. We agree with the state.

         The double jeopardy clause of the fifth amendment to the United States constitution provides that no person shall ‘‘be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb . . . .''[3] That constitutional provision is applicable to the states through the due process clause of the fourteenth amendment. Ben-ton v. Maryland, 395 U.S. 784, 794, 89 S.Ct. 2056, 23 L.Ed.2d 707 (1969). An alleged double jeopardy violation is a proper basis for a motion to correct an illegal sentence. See State v. Wade, 178 Conn.App. 459, 466, 175 A.3d 1284 (2017), cert. denied, 327 Conn. 1002, 176 A.3d 1194 (2018).

         It nevertheless remains that the defendant pleaded guilty to the two counts in question and in this appeal does not dispute that his plea was voluntarily and intelligently made. See footnote 1 of this opinion. Our Supreme Court has observed that ‘‘[a]s a general rule, an unconditional plea of guilty . . . intelligently and voluntarily made, operates as a waiver of all nonjurisdictional defects and bars the later assertion of constitutional challenges to pretrial proceedings. . . . Therefore, only those issues fully disclosed in the record which relate either to the exercise of jurisdiction . . . by the court or to the voluntary and intelligent nature of the plea are ordinarily appealable after a plea of guilty . . . .'' (Citations omitted; emphasis omitted; footnotes omitted.) State v. Madera, 198 Conn. 92, 97- 98, 503 A.2d 136 (1985).

         The United States Supreme Court, in addressing the viability of a double jeopardy challenge following a guilty plea, has explained that ‘‘[j]ust as a defendant who pleads guilty to a single count admits guilt to the specified offense, so too does a defendant who pleads guilty to two counts with facial allegations of distinct offenses concede that he has committed two separate crimes.'' United States v. Broce, 488 U.S. 563, 570, 109 S.Ct. 757, 102 L.Ed.2d 927 (1989). In that case, the court emphasized that the defendants ‘‘had the opportunity, instead of entering their guilty pleas, to challenge the theory of the indictments . . . . They chose not to, and hence relinquished that entitlement.'' Id., 571. Relinquishment of a double jeopardy claim, the court continued, ‘‘derives not from any inquiry into a defendant's subjective understanding of the range of potential defenses, but from the admissions necessarily made upon entry of a voluntary plea of guilty.'' Id., 573-74; accord United States v. Burroughs, 691 Fed.Appx. 31, 33 (2d Cir. 2017) (defendant's ‘‘valid guilty plea . . . constitutes a waiver of his double jeopardy ...


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