September 23, 2019
for a writ of habeas corpus, brought to the Superior Court in
the judicial district of Tolland and tried to the court,
Cobb, J.; judgment denying the petition; thereafter,
the court denied the petition for certification to appeal,
and the petitioner appealed to this court; subsequently, the
court, Cobb, J., granted the petition for
certification to appeal; thereafter, the court, Bright,
J., denied the petition for a writ of mandamus filed by
the petitioner. Affirmed.
Cooke, self-represented, the appellant (petitioner).
R. Strom, assistant attorney general, with whom were Matthew
A. Weiner, assistant state's attorney, and, on the brief,
William Tong, attorney general, Michael L. Regan, state's
attorney, and Lawrence J. Tytla, supervisory assistant
state's attorney, for the appellee (respondent).
Lavine, Devlin and Beach, Js.
petitioner, Ian Cooke, appeals from the judgment of the
habeas court denying his petition for a writ of habeas
corpus. On appeal, the petitioner asserts that (1) his claims
were properly certified for appellate review by the habeas
court, (2) the cumulative effect of his trial counsel's
errors deprived him of effective assistance of counsel, (3)
his trial counsel was ineffective in not ensuring that he was
competent to stand trial, and (4) the court erred in failing
to issue a writ of mandamus directing the Office of the Chief
Public Defender to provide him with legal assistance to
pursue the present appeal. The respondent, in turn, argues
that the habeas court lacked jurisdiction to grant the
petition for certification to appeal more than four months
after its initial denial of certification to appeal. In
response, the petitioner contends that the court had
continuing jurisdiction to grant the petition for
certification to appeal. We agree that the court had
continuing jurisdiction to grant the petition for
certification to appeal, but conclude that it did not abuse
its discretion in denying both the petition for a writ of
habeas corpus and the petition for a writ of mandamus.
Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the court.
following facts and procedural history are relevant to this
appeal. Following a jury trial, the petitioner was convicted
of murder in violation of General Statutes § 53a-54a,
capital felony murder in violation of General Statutes §
53a-54b (7), and possession of a sawed-off shotgun in
violation of General Statutes § 53a-211 (a). The court
sentenced him to a total effective term of life imprisonment
without the possibility of parole. The petitioner's
conviction was affirmed on direct appeal. State v.
Cooke, 134 Conn.App. 573, 581, 39 A.3d 1178, cert.
denied, 305 Conn. 903, 43 A.3d 662 (2012). In its resolution
of that appeal, this court set forth the following facts,
which are relevant to this appeal.
after 3 p.m. on May 27, 2006, the town of Groton dispatch
center received a 911 call from 1021 Pleasant Valley Road
reporting that one Gregory Giesing had been shot at his
residence. Police officers, including Officer Sean Griffin,
arrived at the scene, and Gregory Giesing's wife, Laurel
Giesing, reported that she had observed in her driveway after
she had found her husband shot a ‘dark, silver
grayish' Jeep with thick piping on the front. After going
through the residence to ensure that it was safe, Griffin
went to the lower unit of the residence and found Derek Von
Winkle, Gregory Giesing's stepbrother, who also had been
shot. Shortly thereafter, fire and medical personnel arrived.
of the responders from the fire department informed Griffin
that there had been a stabbing at the LaTriumphe Apartments,
which was near the Giesings' residence. The police,
including Griffin, responded to that location, entered an
apartment through an open sliding door and found on the
living room floor the [petitioner], whose hand and cheek were
injured. The police spoke with the [petitioner's] father,
who had called 911 and had told the dispatcher that his son
may have been stabbed by a drug dealer or drug dealers. Based
upon the conversation between the police and the
[petitioner's] father, Griffin then went outside to the
parking lot to look for the Jeep that Laurel Giesing had
described. Griffin located a silver gray Jeep with a
‘brush guard,' and observed blood on the exterior
driver's side and on the driver's side interior
compartment of the vehicle. Laurel Giesing was later shown
the vehicle and, after examining it, stated that it looked
‘very similar' to and ‘the same' as the
vehicle she saw at her residence after her husband had been
shot. Additionally, a search of the general outside area,
including a wooded area, around the [petitioner's]
apartment revealed apparently bloodstained duffle bags
containing illegal drugs and a disassembled shotgun.
associate medical examiner for the state determined that
Gregory Giesing died of a gunshot wound to the chest. The
medical examiner concluded that Von Winkle died of a shotgun
wound to the neck and chest. . . .
items of evidence, including three known samples of DNA from
Von Winkle, Gregory Giesing and the [petitioner], were
submitted to the state forensic science laboratory for DNA
analysis. Nicholas Yang, a forensic science examiner,
performed the tests. At trial, he testified as to his
findings. Yang determined that the [petitioner's] DNA was
consistent with that found on the exterior of a duffle bag
found outside the [petitioner's] apartment complex, the
doorknob to Von Winkle's apartment, multiple locations on
pants retrieved from Gregory Giesing's body, the wooden
deck area of Gregory Giesing's residence, a part of the
floor mat of the Jeep and on various parts of the
disassembled shotgun. The [petitioner] could not be
eliminated as a source of DNA on the zipper of a Dudley bag,
a reddish-brown stain on a knife found near Gregory
Giesing's body, a blood-like substance taken from the
interior door of Gregory Giesing's apartment, the
steering wheel of the Jeep, a hacksaw from the apartment in
which the [petitioner] was found, two swabs from the floor
mat of the Jeep and the brake pedal from the Jeep.''
(Citations omitted; footnote omitted.) Id., 575-77.
August 4, 2011, the petitioner filed a self-represented
petition for a writ of habeas corpus. Subsequently, Attorney
John Williams was appointed to represent the petitioner.
Williams never filed an amended petition. When asked by the
habeas court, Cobb, J., to clarify the claims raised
in the petition, Williams presented three claims that the
petitioner's trial counsel, Attorney John Walkley, was
ineffective by: ‘‘(1) failing to adequately
investigate and prepare the case for trial, (2) failing to
adequately challenge the prosecution's case and present
the defense's case at trial and (3) failing to assure
that the petitioner was competent to stand trial.''
In addition, the petitioner's brief to the habeas court
raised two more claims that Walkley was ineffective in
cross-examining one witness and impeaching another witness.
habeas court conducted a five day trial between March 20,
2014, and September 10, 2014. On July 8, 2015, the habeas
court issued a memorandum of decision denying the petition.
The habeas court concluded that, as to each of the
petitioner's claims, he had failed to prove either that
Walkley's performance was deficient or that the
petitioner was prejudiced by Walkley's performance, as
required by Strickland v. Washington, 466
U.S. 668, 104 S.Ct. 2052, 80 L.Ed.2d 674 (1984), to establish
ineffective assistance of counsel. The habeas court also
noted that the petitioner had offered little to no
evidentiary support for most of his claims.
thereafter, on July 13, 2015, Williams filed a petition for
certification to appeal setting forth two issues:
‘‘Did [the habeas] [c]ourt err in  requiring
petitioner to prove prejudice from trial counsel's
failure to have a competency exam, when such retrospective
proof is impossible and prejudice is presumed; and  in
failing to address counsel's failure to visit the crime
scene and test . . . both sound and sight?'' The
court denied the petition for certification to appeal on July
22, 2015, independently of Williams, the petitioner filed an
application for waiver of fees, costs and expenses and
appointment of counsel on appeal (waiver application).
Attached to the waiver application, the petitioner included a
document titled, ‘‘Affidavit in Support of
Petition for Certification to the Appellate Court.''
In this affidavit, the petitioner requested certification to
appeal on different grounds than those articulated by
Williams. The petitioner sought certification to appeal on
four other issues: (1) whether the court properly considered
the petitioner's argument that he was not competent to
assist Walkley; (2) whether the evidence, in the aggregate,
supported the petitioner's theory that Walkley had not
conducted a thorough and complete investigation of the blood
and DNA evidence; (3) whether there were cumulative
deficiencies in Walkley's representation and whether
those numerous deficiencies, in the aggregate, prejudiced the
petitioner; and (4) whether the court erred in not
considering the totality of Walkley's alleged errors in
conducting its Strickland analysis. While the habeas
court did grant the petitioner's waiver application on
July 27, 2015, there was no indication in the record at that
time that the court had ruled on the petitioner's request
for certification of additional issues on appeal.
August 17, 2015, the petitioner filed his appeal.
Subsequently, on November 5, 2015, Attorney Allison Near
filed her appearance as appointed appellate counsel for the
petitioner. On June 10, 2016, Near filed a motion for leave
to withdraw as appointed counsel accompanied with an
Anders brief. The petitioner later filed, on January 4,
2017, a motion to remove Near as appointed counsel and to
proceed self-represented. The court, Bright,
J., granted the petitioner's motion on March 6,
2017. Subsequently, the self-represented petitioner filed an
appearance with this court on March 17, 2017.
March 31, 2017, the petitioner filed a motion for
articulation, requesting that the habeas court issue a ruling
on his affidavit attached to his waiver application, which he
had filed on July 22, 2015, that outlined additional issues
for appeal. In a handwritten ruling added at the end of the
petitioner's motion and dated May 9, 2017, the court,
Cobb, J., concluded that ‘‘[i]n
view of the petitioner's status as a self-represented
litigant, the [c]ourt treats this motion for articulation as
a motion to amend his petition for certification to include
additional issues on appeal, and grants it.''
Subsequently, on appeal, the petitioner has challenged the
habeas court's judgment denying his petition for a writ
of habeas corpus on the grounds raised in his affidavit.
3, 2017, the petitioner filed a petition seeking a writ of
mandamus to compel the Office of the Chief Public Defender to
assist the petitioner's legal research. In his petition,
the petitioner contended that he was incapable of conducting
legal research, because the Department of Correction does not
provide law libraries or online legal resources to its
inmates and, as a result of his decision to proceed as a
self-represented petitioner, he did not have access to
outside legal assistance. Consequently, the petitioner argued
that the lack of legal resources violated his federal and
state constitutional right to have meaningful access to the
courts and, thus, necessitated an order to compel legal
assistance from the Office of the Chief Public Defender. On
June 26, 2017, the ...