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State v. Crespo

Appellate Court of Connecticut

June 18, 2019

STATE of Connecticut
v.
Anthony CRESPO

         Argued January 28, 2019

         Appeal from the Superior Court, Judicial District of Middlesex, Diana, J., Suarez, J.

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          Michael S. Hillis, New Haven, for the appellant (defendant).

         Bruce R. Lockwood, senior assistant state’s attorney, with whom, on the brief, were Peter A. McShane, former state’s attorney, and Russell Zentner, senior assistant state’s attorney, for the appellee (state).

         DiPentima, C.J., and Elgo and Bright, Js.

          OPINION

         ELGO, J.

         [190 Conn.App. 642] The defendant, Anthony Crespo, appeals from the judgment of the trial court finding him in violation of probation pursuant to General Statutes § 53a-32. On appeal, the defendant claims that (1) the court improperly overruled an objection predicated on the right to confront adverse witnesses without making the requisite finding of good cause, (2) the court improperly denied his motion to dismiss due to the imposition of allegedly inconsistent conditions of probation, (3) the court improperly failed to conduct an evidentiary hearing pursuant to Franks v. Delaware, 438 U.S. 154, 98 S.Ct. 2674, 57 L.Ed.2d 667 (1978), (4) the court abused its discretion in denying his motion for judicial disqualification and (5) the evidence was insufficient to sustain the court’s finding that the defendant violated a condition of his probation. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

         On April 23, 2007, the defendant pleaded guilty to assault in the second degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-60 (a) (2), risk of injury to a child involving sexual contact in violation of General Statutes § 53-21 (a) (2), and sexual assault in the fourth degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-73a (a) (1) (A).[1] At sentencing, the court remarked: "This is some of [190 Conn.App. 643] the worst treatment of a minor child that I have ever seen in my years on the bench. In my opinion, Mr. Crespo, you are a sexual deviant, and you are a violent and physical human being, except that you are a violent and physical human being toward those who cannot defend themselves." The court then sentenced the defendant to a total effective term of sixteen years incarceration, execution suspended after nine and one-half years, followed by fifteen years of probation. The special conditions of probation imposed by the court required, inter alia, that the defendant have "no unsupervised contact with minors under the age of sixteen and that any supervisor be approved by both his treatment provider and his supervising [probation] officer" (supervisor condition).

          On December 8, 2014, in preparation for his release from incarceration, the defendant signed several standardized forms

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prepared by the office of adult probation, including one titled "Sex Offender Conditions of Probation." Among the conditions specified therein and marked applicable to the defendant was the following requirement: "You will not be in the presence of minors, nor have contact in any form, direct or indirect ... with children under the age of sixteen without Probation Officer approval. Any contact must be reported immediately to a Probation Officer" (approval condition).

         On March 17, 2015, the defendant’s probationary period commenced upon his release from the custody of the Commissioner of Correction. In accordance with the supervisor condition imposed by the court at sentencing, the defendant’s wife, Rosa,[2] subsequently was approved as the defendant’s supervisor by his probation officer, the treatment provider, and the victim’s advocate.

         [190 Conn.App. 644] Approximately nine months into the defendant’s probationary period, his probation officer, Michael Sullivan, received a report that a fourteen year old female was living at the apartment that the defendant shared with Rosa. Following an investigation, Sullivan obtained an arrest warrant for the defendant’s violation of the terms of his probation. In that application, Sullivan alleged that the defendant had violated both the supervisor condition and the approval condition of his probation. The defendant then was arrested and charged with breaching the terms of his probation in violation of § 53a-32.

          A probation revocation hearing commenced on November 8, 2017, at which the court heard testimony from Sullivan and Vanessa Valentin, a probation officer who was involved in the investigation of the defendant’s alleged violation of the terms of his probation. When the state rested in the adjudicatory stage of that proceeding, the defendant moved to dismiss the charge on the ground that the approval condition of his probation was inconsistent with the supervisor condition ordered by the trial court. After hearing argument from the parties, the court denied that motion. Defense counsel then asked the trial court to disqualify itself on the ground of bias. In response, the court stated: "Because of the seriousness of the matter before the court, because of the fact that your client is facing incarceration and because of the fact that you’ve raised the issue now, at this late stage of the proceeding, I am going to ask that another judge hear your motion to disqualify ...." Following a recess, Judge Leo V. Diana presided over a hearing on the defendant’s motion for judicial disqualification, at the conclusion of which the court denied the motion.

         The adjudicatory phase of the probation revocation hearing resumed on November 17, 2017. The defendant presented the testimony of one witness, the fourteen year old female who allegedly resided at the defendant’s [190 Conn.App. 645] apartment for a period of time in December, 2016.[3] When her testimony concluded, the defendant rested, and the court heard argument from the parties. ...


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