September 19, 2019
information charging the defendant with the crimes of felony
murder, robbery in the first degree and conspiracy to commit
robbery in the first degree, brought to the Superior Court in
the judicial district of Fairfield, where the defendant was
presented to the court, Comerford, J., on a plea of
guilty to felony murder; judgment in accordance with the
plea; thereafter, the court, Devlin, J., denied the
defendant's motion to correct an illegal sentence, and
the defendant appealed to this court. Affirmed.
Ricks, self-represented, the appellant (defendant).
Michele C. Lukban, senior assistant state's attorney,
with whom, on the brief, were John C. Smriga, state's
attorney, and C. Robert Satti, Jr., supervisory assistant
state's attorney, for the appellee (state).
Alvord, Moll and Norcott, Js.
defendant, Ronald Ricks, appeals from the judgment of the
trial court denying his motion to correct an illegal
sentence. On appeal, the defendant claims that the trial
court improperly concluded that he had breached his initial
plea agreement with the state and that his sentence was not
illegally imposed. Specifically, the defendant asserts that
due process requires the state to prove, by a preponderance
of evidence, that he was in breach of the initial plea
agreement before the state could enter a second plea
agreement. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.
following facts and procedural history are relevant to this
appeal. On April 9, 1999, the state offered, and the
defendant accepted, a plea agreement in which the defendant
agreed to plead guilty to the charge of felony murder in
violation of General Statutes § 53a-54c, for crimes
committed on December 12, 1997, and to testify truthfully in
his codefendant's trial, or, in the alternative, if his
codefendant pleaded guilty without going to trial, the state
would recommend the mandatory minimum sentence of twenty-five
years of incarceration. The plea agreement also contained the
stipulation that if the defendant refused to testify or did
not testify truthfully, the state would recommend a more
substantial sentence. The codefendant referred to in the plea
agreement ultimately pleaded guilty, without going to trial,
on April 15, 1999.
before May 25, 1999, the defendant filed a grievance against
his original attorney for alleged misrepresentations and
requested that a new attorney be assigned to his case. At
about the same time, the defendant filed a motion to withdraw
his guilty plea, as he believed he was induced, by his
original attorney, to accept the initial plea agreement. When
the defendant filed the motion to withdraw, the prosecutor
forewarned the defendant that his sentence would likely be
increased, stating in relevant part, ‘‘I'm
quite confident that if [the defendant] is successful in
anything, it's going to be successful in, by the end of
July, having himself about [a] ten to fifteen more year
sentence that he already has secured for himself.''
Thereafter, the court appointed a substitute assigned counsel
for the remainder of the defendant's case.
18, 1999, the court held a sentencing hearing for the
defendant. At the hearing, the defendant, having had a
‘‘change of heart, '' orally moved to
withdraw his motion to withdraw the guilty plea. The court
permitted the withdrawal of such motion. Immediately
thereafter, the court vacated the defendant's initial
plea. Subsequently, the defendant pleaded guilty to felony
murder. Accepting the state's recommendation, the court
sentenced the defendant to thirty years of incarceration,
twenty-five of which is the mandatory minimum.
March 19, 2001, the defendant filed a petition for a writ of
habeas corpus alleging ineffective assistance of counsel,
which was denied by the habeas court on June 28, 2004.
Thereafter, the defendant filed a motion to correct an
illegal sentence with the trial court. A hearing on the
motion was held on December 13, 2017. Subsequently, the trial
court, Devlin, J., denied the motion on February 20,
2018. This appeal followed.
examination of the record on appeal and the briefs and
arguments of the parties persuades us that the judgment of
the trial court should be affirmed. The trial court's
memorandum of decision fully addresses the arguments raised
in the present appeal, and we adopt its concise and well
reasoned decision as a proper statement of the relevant facts
and applicable law on the issue. See State v. Ricks,
Superior Court, judicial district of Fairfield, Docket No.
CV-97-135273 (February 20, 2018) (reprinted at 194 Conn.App.,
A.3d). It serves no useful purpose for us to repeat the