COMMISSIONER OF CORRECTION [*]
September 11, 2019
petition for a writ of habeas corpus, brought to the Superior
Court in the judicial district of Tolland and tried to the
court, Sferrazza, J.; judgment denying the petition;
thereafter, the court denied the petition for certification
to appeal, and the petitioner appealed to this court.
E. Mortimer, assigned counsel, for the appellant
Lawrence J. Tytla, supervisory assistant state's
attorney, for the appellee (respondent).
Keller, Bright and Bear, Js.
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.
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 fifteen month old son . . . and [F's] ten year old
sister . . . in [F's] apartment.
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 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. . . .
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. See General Statutes § 53a-54b (7). The petitioner
previously withdrew claims involving retroactive application
of State v. Santiago, 318 Conn. 1');">318 Conn. 1, [122
A.3d 1] (2015).
bifurcation of the criminal trial into proceedings
determining guilt and those pertaining to penalty was
required in death penalty cases. See General Statutes §
53a-46a. Upon conviction of a capital offense, the fact
finder then received evidence and argument concerning the
existence or nonexistence of aggravating and mitigating
circumstances in weighing whether the death penalty was
appropriate. If not, then the accused received a life
sentence without possibility of parole.
extensive investigation . . . [the petitioner's trial
counsel], Attorneys [Bruce] Sturman and [Fred] DeCaprio,
were able to negotiate a plea disposition to the charges
[against the petitioner] in exchange for the state's
abandonment of its quest for the death penalty. On May 11,
2007, the petitioner pleaded ...