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;
thereafter, the court denied the petition for certification
to appeal, and the petitioner appealed to this court.
A. Juniewic, assigned counsel, for the appellant
L. Walker, assistant state's attorney, with whom, on the
brief, were Kevin D. Lawlor, former state's attorney, and
Angela R. Macchiarulo, senior assistant state's attorney,
for the appellee (respondent).
Keller, Moll and Bishop, Js.
petitioner, Angel Villafane, appeals following the denial of
his petition for certification to appeal from the judgment of
the habeas court denying his petition for a writ of habeas
corpus. The petitioner claims that the habeas court abused
its discretion in denying his petition for certification to
appeal and improperly (1) denied his motions to appoint
habeas counsel, and (2) rejected his claim that his trial
counsel provided ineffective assistance. We disagree and,
accordingly, dismiss the petitioner's appeal.
following facts and procedural history are relevant to our
resolution of this appeal. On December 17, 2014, the
petitioner pleaded guilty to one count of burglary in the
first degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-101
(a) (2) and one count of criminal violation of a protective
order in violation of General Statutes § 53a-223. The
petitioner also admitted to violating his probation in two
instances and violating a conditional discharge in violation
of General Statutes § 53a-32. According to the factual
basis provided by the state at the petitioner's plea
hearing, the petitioner forced his way into a house occupied
by a woman with whom he had a previous relationship, where he
proceeded to strike her ‘‘several times in the
head, and then grabbed a knife from the kitchen and attempted
to stab her . . . .'' The prosecutor indicated that
the woman's daughter called the police, and, at that
time, the petitioner fled from the residence. After
canvassing the petitioner, the court determined that the
pleas had been ‘‘knowingly and voluntarily
made'' and were supported by a factual basis.
petitioner's sentencing hearing on February 25, 2015, the
court imposed a total effective sentence of eight years
incarceration followed by seven years of special parole. The
court terminated the other probations that the petitioner was
serving at the time.
29, 2015, the petitioner, who was self-represented at the
time, filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus. The
petitioner alleged, inter alia, that he was living at the
victim's house on the day on which the crime was
committed. He contended that, because he lived there, he
‘‘could not be guilty of burglary in the first
degree . . . .'' Based on this contention, he alleged
that his attorney at the time of the plea hearing, public
defender David Egan, provided ineffective assistance by
recommending that he plead guilty to that crime and
‘‘take [nine] years and [seven] years special
parole.'' Id. He also contended that Egan
never ‘‘did his due diligence to remotely look
into fighting'' his case, nor did he investigate
‘‘the facts in the case or the witnesses . . .
.'' Additionally, the petitioner asserted that Egan
and the trial court, Iannotti, J., had
violated his sixth and fourteenth amendment rights because
Egan was ineffective and the trial court had refused to grant
his motion to dismiss Egan as his attorney.
return, the respondent, the Commissioner of Correction,
indicated that he was without sufficient information to admit
or deny any of the factual allegations contained in the
petitioner's petition for a writ of habeas corpus. As
such, the respondent indicated he would leave the petitioner
to his proof.
9, 2015, after the court received the petition for a writ of
habeas corpus, it referred the petitioner to the Office of
the Chief Public Defender for appointment of counsel. On
August 17, 2015, Attorney James Ruane and his law firm, Ruane
Attorneys at Law, entered an appearance on the
petitioner's behalf. On December 6, 2016, however, the
petitioner moved to dismiss counsel because, in his view,
since the time he was appointed counsel, the petitioner had
been ‘‘represented by [three] different
attorneys'' from the firm. He argued that each of the
attorneys had ‘‘done nothing at all in the
petitioner's case'' and that his most recent
attorney, Daniel F. Lage, had refused to investigate his
case. The petitioner requested that the habeas court dismiss
Lage and permit him to represent himself, and that a trial be
scheduled for March 20, 2017.
January 30, 2017, the habeas court, Bright, J.,
heard arguments on the petitioner's motion to dismiss
counsel. After canvassing the petitioner and cautioning him
about the challenges of self-representation, the court
stated: ‘‘[The petitioner] has thought through
this. He understands the challenges of representing himself,
but he's been working diligently in preparing his case.
He has a ...