January 22, 2019
charging the defendant with the crime of murder, brought to
the Superior Court in the judicial district of Fairfield and
tried to the jury before Gormley, J.; verdict and
judgment of guilty, from which the defendant appealed to the
Supreme Court, which affirmed the judgment; thereafter, the
court, Devlin, J., dismissed the defendant's
motion to correct an illegal sentence, and the defendant
appealed to this court. Affirmed.
Mukhtaar, self-represented, the appellant (defendant).
Michele C. Lukban, senior assistant state's attorney,
with whom, on the brief, were John C. Smriga, state's
attorney, and C. Robert Satti, Jr., supervisory assistant
state's attorney, for the appellee (state).
DiPentima, C. J., and Sheldon and Moll, Js.
self-represented defendant, Abdul Mukhtaar, appeals from the
judgment of the trial court dismissing his motion to correct
an illegal sentence filed pursuant to Practice Book §
43-22. On appeal, he argues that the court
improperly dismissed this motion. We disagree and,
accordingly, affirm the judgment of the trial court.
following facts and procedural history are necessary for the
resolution of this appeal. The defendant was convicted of
murder in violation of General Statutes § 53a-54a and
sentenced to fifty years incarceration. See State v.
Mukhtaar, 253 Conn. 280, 281-82, 750 A.2d 1059
(2000). Our Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of
conviction on direct appeal. See id.,
defendant filed the motion to correct an illegal sentence
that is the subject of the present appeal on January 19,
2018. In this motion, the defendant alleged that his sentence
was illegal because (1) Judge Gormley had presided over both
the defendant's probable cause hearing and the criminal
trial, (2) Judge Gormley was biased, (3) Judge Gormley did
not order a competency examination pursuant to General
Statutes (Rev. to 1997) § 54-56d and (4) there were
inconsistent statements by witnesses during the criminal
investigation and trial.
February 14, 2018, the court conducted a hearing on the
defendant's motion. In addition to the claims set forth
in his motion, the defendant also claimed that his sentence
was illegal because the Bridgeport Police Department lost and
destroyed evidence before the criminal trial and that he was
the victim of implicit bias. One week later, the court,
Devlin, J., issued a memorandum of decision
dismissing the defendant's motion to correct an illegal
sentence. After setting forth the relevant law, the court
concluded: ‘‘None of the six claims raised by the
defendant concerns his sentence or the manner in which it was
imposed. To the contrary, his claims regarding judicial bias,
lack of competency examination, implicit bias, inconsistent
statements, lost evidence and that the same judge presided
over the [probable cause hearing] and trial, all concern the
underlying conviction and not the defendant's sentence.
Accordingly, this court lacks jurisdiction to consider these
claims.'' This appeal followed. Additional facts will
be set forth as necessary.
appeal, the defendant claims that the court improperly
concluded that it lacked jurisdiction to consider the issues
raised in his motion to correct an illegal sentence. The
state counters, inter alia, that all of the defendant's
issues focus on the events that occurred prior to his
sentencing, and therefore the court properly dismissed the
motion to correct. We agree with the state.
outset, we identify our standard of review. ‘‘Our
determination of whether a motion to correct falls within the
scope of Practice Book § 43-22 is a question of law and,
thus, our review is plenary.'' (Internal quotation
marks omitted.) State v. Anderson, 187 Conn.App.
569, 584, A.3d (2019); see also State v. Delgado,
323 Conn. 801, 810, 151 A.3d 345 (2016); State v.
Robles, 169 Conn.App. 127, 131, 150 A.3d 687 (2016),
cert. denied, 324 Conn. 906, 152 A.3d 544 (2017).
we set forth the legal principles pertaining to the trial
court's jurisdiction following a judgment of conviction.
‘‘The Superior Court is a constitutional court of
general jurisdiction. In the absence of statutory or
constitutional provisions, the limits of its jurisdiction are
delineated by the common law. . . . It is well established
that under the common law a trial court has the discretionary
power to modify or vacate a criminal judgment before the
sentence has been executed. . . . This is so because the
court loses jurisdiction over the case when the defendant is
committed to the custody of the commissioner of correction
and begins serving the sentence. . . . Because it is well
established that the jurisdiction of the trial court
terminates once a defendant has been sentenced, a trial court
may no longer take any action affecting a defendant's
sentence unless it expressly has been authorized to act. . .
. [Practice Book]§ 43-22 embodies a common law exception
that permits the trial court to correct an illegal sentence
or other illegal disposition. . . . Thus, if the defendant
cannot demonstrate that his motion to correct falls ...