What are some of the direct consequences in guilty pleas when it comes to habeas corpus in Connecticut? Find out here.
“The longstanding test for determining the validity of a guilty plea is ‘whether the plea represents a voluntary and intelligent choice among the alternative courses of action open to the defendant.’” Hill v. Lockhart, 474 U.S. at 56 (quoting North Carolina v. Alford, 400 U.S. at 31); see also Practice Book Section 39-20 (court must determine that guilty plea is voluntary before accepting it).
Accordingly, before a guilty plea gets entered, the defendant must know the direct consequences of the plea. Brady v. United States, 397 U.S. 742, 748 (1970); see Falby v. Commissioner, 32 Conn. App. 438, 445 (“A defendant must be aware of all direct consequences of his plea”), cert. denied, 227 Conn. 927 (1993). A direct consequence of a guilty plea is the punishment to get exacted. See State v, Lloyd, 8 Conn. App. 491, 494 (1986), cert. denied and cross-pet. denied, 203 Conn. 801 (1987).
Direct Consequences of Guilty Plea
Practice Book § 39-19 identifies the direct consequences of a guilty plea, see Falby v. Commissioner, 32 Conn. App. at 445, and sets forth the scope of the Court’s canvass. Before the plea gets accepted, the Court must determine that the defendant understands “[t]he nature of the charge” § 39-19(1), “[t]he mandatory minimum sentence, if any” § 39-19(2), “[t]he fact that the statute for the…offense does not permit the sentence to be suspended” § 39 -19(3).
“The maximum possible sentence on the charge, including, if there are several charges, the maximum sentence possible from consecutive sentences and, including, when applicable, the fact that a different or additional punishment may be authorized by reason of a previous conviction” § 39-19(4).
Also, “[t]he fact that he or she has the right to plead not guilty or to persist in that plea if it has already been made, and the fact that he or she has the right to be tried by a jury or a judge and that at that trial the defendant has the right to the assistance of counsel, the right to confront and cross-examine witnesses against him or her, and the right not to be compelled to incriminate himself or herself.” § 39-19(5); see also Boykin v. Alabama, 395 U.S. 238, 244 (1969)(court “must make sure [the defendant] has a full understanding of what the plea connotes and its consequences”).
Defense counsel is likewise obligated to discuss with the defendant the direct consequences of an anticipated guilty plea. Without such discussion the defendant cannot make a fully informed decision concerning the alternatives he or she faces. Consequently, the failure to discuss the plea’s direct consequences may constitute ineffective assistance of counsel.
A habeas petition that alleges ineffective assistance of counsel on a guilty plea due to erroneous advice on a direct consequence of the plea should also allege, in a separate count, that the plea is involuntary and, hence, invalid. This is the prudent approach notwithstanding case law indicating that, “in certain circumstances, a petitioner’s claim of a constitutional violation is so inextricably bound up in the issue of the effectiveness of trial counsel, that a separate claim of a constitutional violation is not required.” Carpenter v. Commissioner, 274 Conn. 834, 843 (2005).
If you are interested in filing your own Connecticut habeas corpus petition, contact an attorney for more help.