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Villafane v. Commissioner of Correction

Appellate Court of Connecticut

June 11, 2019

Angel VILLAFANE
v.
COMMISSIONER OF CORRECTION

         Argued January 9, 2019

         Appeal from the Superior Court, Sferrazza, J.

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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          Cheryl A. Juniewic, assigned counsel, New Haven, for the appellant (petitioner).

         Nancy 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.

         OPINION

         KELLER, J.

         [190 Conn.App. 567] The 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

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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.

         The 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 [190 Conn.App. 568] 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 sup-ported by a factual basis.

          At the 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.

          On June 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.

          In his return, the respondent, the Commissioner of Correction, indicated that he was without sufficient [190 Conn.App. 569] information to admit or deny any of the factual allegations contained in the petitioner’s petition for a writ of habeas corpus. ...


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