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Robert S. v. Commissioner of Correction

Appellate Court of Connecticut

November 19, 2019

ROBERT S.
v.
COMMISSIONER OF CORRECTION[*]

         Argued September 11, 2019

          Superior Court, Judicial District of Tolland, Sferrazza, J.

Page 494

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 495

          James E. Mortimer, assigned counsel, for the appellant (petitioner).

         Lawrence J. Tytla, supervisory assistant state’s attorney, for the appellee (respondent).

         Keller, Bright and Bear, Js.

          OPINION

         BEAR, J.

         [194 Conn.App. 383] The petitioner, Robert S., appeals following the denial of his amended petition for certification to appeal from the judgment of the habeas court denying his petition for a writ of habeas corpus. On appeal, the petitioner claims that the habeas court (1) abused its discretion in denying his petition for certification to appeal and (2) improperly concluded that he failed to establish that he had received ineffective assistance from his trial counsel because they failed to conduct a proper investigation and to advise him of the viability of an intoxication defense. We conclude that the habeas court did not abuse its discretion in denying the petition for certification to appeal and, accordingly, dismiss the petitioner’s appeal.

          The habeas court’s memorandum of decision sets forth the following relevant facts and procedural history: "In the early hours of April 20, 2004, in New London, the petitioner visited the apartment of his former girlfriend [F, who was also the mother of his son]. While there, he stabbed [F] multiple times as well as stabbing a neighbor .... While [F] sought refuge in [the neighbor’s] apartment, the petitioner barricaded himself, his [194 Conn.App. 384] fifteen month old son ... and [F’s] ten year old sister ... in [F’s] apartment.

          "When the police arrived and pleaded with the petitioner to permit them to enter the apartment, the petitioner falsely warned them that he had a gun and would commence shooting if anyone tried to enter. The police could hear [F’s sister] screaming for help but could not break down the metal door to the apartment.

         "Eventually, the petitioner unlocked the door, and the police discovered that the petitioner stabbed to death [both children]. The petitioner stabbed [F’s sister] eleven times frontally and ten times in her back. She had six wounds to her neck. The petitioner stabbed [his son approximately] fourteen times, the blows distributed to the toddler’s neck, scalp, chest, and abdomen....

         "[T]he petitioner faced capital felony charges which allowed for imposition of the death penalty or life imprisonment without possibility of parole upon conviction. Murder of two persons in the course of a single transaction was a capital felony in 2004. ...


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