September 24, 2018
information charging the defendant with the crime of murder,
brought to the Superior Court in the judicial district of New
London, where the defendant was presented to the court,
Stanley, J., on a plea of guilty; judgment
of guilty in accordance with the plea; thereafter, the court,
Strackbein, J., denied the defendant's
motion to correct an illegal sentence, and the defendant
appealed to this court; subsequently, the matter was
transferred to our Supreme Court, which transferred the
matter back to this court. Reversed; further
W. Munn, with whom, on the brief, was Michael W. Brown, for
the appellant (defendant).
Lawrence J. Tytla, supervisory assistant state's
attorney, with whom, on the brief, was Michael L. Regan,
state's attorney, for the appellee (state).
Alvord, Prescott and Moll, Js.
defendant, Omar Miller, appeals from the trial court's
denial of his motion to correct an illegal sentence. The
defendant claims on appeal that the court improperly denied
his motion to correct an illegal sentence without first
conducting a hearing on the merits of the motion. We agree
and, accordingly, reverse the judgment of the trial court and
remand the case for further proceedings in accordance with
record reveals the following undisputed facts and procedural
history, which are relevant to our resolution of this appeal.
On September 27, 1991, the defendant pleaded guilty to
murder, in violation of General Statutes (Rev. to 1991)
§ 53a-54a. The defendant was nineteen years of age when
he committed the offense. After he entered his plea, but
before he was sentenced, he escaped from the custody of the
Commissioner of Correction. On November 6, 1991, the trial
court, Stanley, J., sentenced the
defendant, in absentia, to a thirty-five year term of
incarceration. He remained at large until 1997, when he was
apprehended in New York City and ultimately returned to
Connecticut to begin serving his sentence.
2, 2016, the defendant filed a pro se motion to correct an
illegal sentence pursuant to Practice Book §
43-22. The essence of the claim raised in the
defendant's motion is that the thirty-five year sentence
imposed on him by Judge Stanley violated article first,
§§ 8 and 9, of our state constitution's
prohibition against cruel and unusual
punishment. Specifically, the defendant asserted that,
despite the fact that he was nineteen years old at the time
he committed the offense, the court unconstitutionally failed
to consider mitigating factors related to his young age, as
it would be constitutionally required to had he committed the
offense when he was less than eighteen years old.
30, 2016, the trial court, Strackbein, J.,
sua sponte denied the defendant's motion. Notice of the
denial was sent to the defendant on July 5, 2016. On August
18, 2016, the defendant appealed from the denial of his
motion to correct an illegal sentence.
September 1, 2016, in order to perfect his appeal, the
defendant filed a motion requesting that the trial court
comply with Practice Book § 64-1 by either filing a
written memorandum of decision setting forth the factual and
legal basis for denying his motion to correct an illegal
sentence or by stating its decision orally in open court and
then providing a signed copy of the transcript. Upon receipt of
the defendant's § 64-1 notice from the appellate
clerk's office, the trial court ordered the parties to
appear on September 29, 2016, for the purpose of orally
stating its decision on the record. After doing so, the court
signed a transcript of its oral decision and filed it with
this court. Additional facts and procedural history will be
set forth as necessary.
defendant claims that the trial court improperly denied his
motion to correct an illegal sentence without first providing
him an opportunity to be heard on the motion. The state
claims that the court provided the defendant an adequate
hearing on his motion at the September 29, 2016 proceeding.
We agree with the defendant.
begin by setting forth our standard of review. Whether the
court is required to hold a hearing prior to disposing of a
motion to correct an illegal sentence presents a question of
law subject to plenary review. See Green v. Commissioner
of Correction, 184 Conn.App. 76, 82, 194 A.3d 857, cert.
denied, 330 Conn. 933, 195 A.3d 383 (2018); State v.
LaVoie, 158 Conn.App. 256, 268, 118 A.3d 708, cert.
denied, 319 Conn. 929, 125 A.3d 203 (2015), cert. denied,
U.S., 136 S.Ct. 1519, 194 L.Ed.2d 604 (2016). Furthermore, to
the extent that we are called upon to construe our rules of
practice, that process is ''governed by the same
principles as those regulating statutory interpretation. . .
. The interpretation and application of a statute, and thus a