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State v. Francis

Appellate Court of Connecticut

July 2, 2019

STATE of Connecticut
v.
Ernest FRANCIS

         Argued March 13, 2019

Page 537

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 538

         Appeal from the Superior Court in the judicial district of Hartford-New Britain at Hartford, and tried to the jury before Miano, J. Dewey, J.

          Robert L. O’Brien, Douglasville, assigned counsel, with whom, on the brief, was Christopher Y. Duby, North Haven, assigned counsel, for the appellant (defendant).

         Ronald G. Weller, senior assistant state’s attorney, with whom, on the brief, were Gail P. Hardy, state’s attorney, Rita M. Shair, senior assistant state’s attorney, and Elizabeth S. Tanaka, former assistant state’s attorney, for the appellee (state).

         DiPentima, C.J., and Alvord and Conway, Js.

          OPINION

         DiPENTIMA, C.J.

         [191 Conn.App. 103] The defendant, Ernest Francis, appeals from the judgment of the trial court denying his motion to correct an illegal sentence filed pursuant to Practice Book § 43-22. On appeal, the defendant claims that his sentence was imposed in an illegal manner because the court substantially relied on materially inaccurate information concerning his prior criminal history and the manner in which he had committed the underlying crime. We disagree and, thus, affirm the judgment of the trial court.

         The following facts and procedural history are relevant to this appeal. The defendant was convicted of murder in violation of General Statutes § 53a-54a(a), and, on April 15, 1992, was sentenced to fifty years of incarceration. See State v. Francis, 228 Conn. 118, 635 A.2d 762 (1993). Prior to sentencing, the court, Miano, J., was provided with a presentence investigation report (presentence report) detailing the defendant’s prior criminal history. The presentence report indicated that the defendant had been convicted previously of conspiracy to sell cocaine and assault in the second degree. During sentencing, the prosecutor informed the court of the details surrounding the apparent conviction of conspiracy to sell cocaine and noted that there seemed to be a discrepancy between the offense of which he was charged initially, conspiracy to sell cocaine, and the offense of which he was convicted, conspiracy to possess cocaine. The prosecutor also advised the court that the defendant had not been convicted of assault [191 Conn.App. 104] in the second degree, as indicated in the report, but, rather, assault in the third degree.

          In discussing the reasons for its sentence, the court, Miano, J., reviewed the events that transpired on the day the defendant murdered the victim. In so doing, the court indicated that the defendant had stabbed the victim more than once during the underlying altercation. After recounting

Page 539

the relevant facts based on the evidence at trial, the court noted that the defendant, at the age of nineteen, had three felony convictions. After noting that one of "[t]he purposes of sentencing" is deterrence, the court sought to send a message to "the young men like the defendant that appear macho, that are involved in drugs, that have cars, attractive new cars, that have jewelry, that have money, [and] that have attractive ladies," that "[they] have to think before they commit such an ...


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