October 15, 2018
charging the defendant with the crimes of murder as an
accessory and conspiracy to commit murder, brought to the
Superior Court in the judicial district of Hartford, where
the defendant was presented to the court, Clifford,
J., on plea of guilty to the charge of murder as an
accessory; thereafter, the state entered a nolle prosequi as
to the charge of conspiracy to commit murder; judgment of
guilty in accordance with the plea; subsequently, the court,
Alexander, J., dismissed the defendant's motion
to correct an illegal sentence, and the defendant appealed to
the Appellate Court, Lavine, Beach and
Alvord, Js., which reversed the judgment
only as to its form and remanded the case with direction to
render judgment denying the motion to correct; thereafter,
this court, sua sponte, ordered the Appellate Court to
reconsider its decision that the trial court had jurisdiction
over the motion to correct; subsequently, the Appellate
Court, Lavine, Alvord and Beach,
Js., affirmed the trial court's dismissal of the
defendant's motion to correct an illegal sentence, and
the defendant, on the granting of certification, appealed to
Heather Clark, assigned counsel, for the appellant
Michele C. Lukban, senior assistant state's attorney,
with whom, on the brief, were Gail P. Hardy, state's
attorney, and Vicki Melchiorre, supervisory assistant
state's attorney, for the appellee (state).
Jepsen, former attorney general, Steven R. Strom, assistant
attorney general, and Leland J. Moore filed a brief for the
Connecticut Board of Pardons and Paroles as amicus curiae.
Simmons and Marsha L. Levick filed a brief for the Juvenile
Law Center as amicus curiae.
Michael S. Taylor and James P. Sexton filed a brief for the
Connecticut Criminal Defense Lawyers Association as amicus
Palmer, McDonald, D'Auria, Mullins, Kahn and Ecker, Js.
the federal constitution's prohibition on cruel and
unusual punishments, a juvenile offender cannot serve a
sentence of imprisonment for life, or its functional
equivalent, without the possibility of parole, unless his age
and the hallmarks of adolescence have been considered as
mitigating factors. Miller v. Alabama, 567
U.S. 460, 476-77, 132 S.Ct. 2455, 183 L.Ed.2d 407 (2012);
Casiano v. Commissioner of Correction, 317 Conn. 52,
60-61, 115 A.3d 1031 (2015), cert. denied sub nom. Semple
v. Casiano, U.S., 136 S.Ct. 1364, 194 L.Ed.2d
376 (2016); State v. Riley, 315 Conn. 637,
641, 110 A.3d 1205 (2015), cert. denied, U.S., 136S.Ct. 1361,
194 L.Ed.2d 376 (2016). The defendant, Tauren Williams-Bey,
is presently serving a sentence of thirty-five years
imprisonment, and, pursuant to No. 15-84 of the 2015 Public
Acts (P.A. 15-84), codified at General Statutes §
54-125a, has the possibility of parole after twenty-one years
in prison. His original sentence of thirty-five years without
parole was imposed without consideration of his age or the
hallmarks of adolescence. The defendant does not claim that
this sentence violates the federal constitution. Rather, he
claims that it violates the Connecticut constitution and that
he must be resentenced, even after P.A. 15-84 later made him
parole eligible. On the basis of our decision in State
v. McCleese, 333 Conn. 378, A.3d (2019), which
we also release today, we conclude that the defendant is not
entitled to resentencing.
following facts and procedural history are relevant to the
present appeal. The defendant is currently imprisoned for
murder. He was sixteen years old when he and two friends shot
and killed the victim. The defendant pleaded guilty to murder
as an accessory, in violation of General Statutes (Rev. to
1997) § 53a-54a and General Statutes § 53a-8. The
parties waived the presentence investigation report, and the
record does not reveal that the court otherwise considered
the defendant's age and the hallmarks of adolescence as
mitigating factors at sentencing. In accordance with the plea
agreement, the court imposed a sentence of thirty-five years
imprisonment. At the time of sentencing, the crime of which
the defendant was convicted made him ineligible for parole.
See General Statutes (Rev. to 1997) § 54-125a (b) (1).
If he serves the full term of imprisonment, the defendant
will be fifty-two years old when he is released.
decisions by the United States Supreme Court, decisions by
this court, and enactments by our legislature resulted in
changes to the sentencing scheme for juvenile offenders. . .
. Specifically, the United States Supreme Court . . . held
that the eighth amendment's prohibition on cruel and
unusual punishments is violated when a juvenile offender
serves a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment without the
possibility of parole because it renders ‘youth (and
all that accompanies it) irrelevant to imposition of that
harshest prison sentence' and ‘poses too great a
risk of disproportionate punishment.' Miller v.
Alabama, supra, 567 U.S. 479. Thus, an
offender's age and the hallmarks of adolescence must be
considered as mitigating factors before a juvenile can serve
this particular sentence. This court has interpreted
Miller to apply not only to mandatory sentences for
the literal life of the offender, but also to discretionary
sentences and sentences that result in imprisonment for the
‘functional equivalent' of an offender's life.
State v. Riley, supra, 315 Conn. 642, 654;
see also Casiano v. Commissioner of
Correction, supra, 317 Conn. 72. We also have ruled that
Miller applies not only prospectively, but
retroactively, and also to challenges to sentences on
collateral review. Casiano v. Commissioner of
Correction, supra, 71.
comport with federal constitutional requirements, the
legislature passed [P.A. 15-84]. In relevant part, the act
retroactively provided parole eligibility to juvenile
offenders sentenced to more than ten years in prison. See
P.A. 15-84, § 1.'' (Footnotes in original.)
State v. McCleese, supra, 333 Conn. 382-83.
As a result, the defendant is no longer serving a sentence
without parole-he will be parole eligible after serving
twenty-one years, or when he will be thirty-eight years old.
these developments, the defendant filed a motion to correct
an illegal sentence, asserting, among other claims, a
Miller violation. The trial court dismissed the
motion for lack of jurisdiction, and ...