279 A.2d 574 (Conn.Cir.Ct. 1971), 1971-16, State v. Anonymous (1971-16)

Docket Nº:ANONYMOUS (1971-16).
Citation:279 A.2d 574, 6 Conn.Cir.Ct. 555
Opinion Judge:DEARINGTON, Judge. In this opinion CASALE, J., concurred. JACOBS, Judge (concurring).
Party Name:STATE of Connecticut v.
Judge Panel:JACOBS, Judge (concurring). In this opinion CASALE, J., concurred. DEARINGTON,
Court:Circuit Court of Connecticut

Page 574

279 A.2d 574 (Conn.Cir.Ct. 1971)

6 Conn.Cir.Ct. 555

STATE of Connecticut


ANONYMOUS (1971-16).

No. 1971-16.

Circuit Court of Connecticut.



The defendant, having entered a plea of guilty to the crime of larceny and having been found guilty by the court, has appealed, assigning error in that the court advised him that he was not entitled to the services of the public defender, [6 Conn.Cir.Ct. 556] failed to advise him of a right to plead not guilty and elect to be tried by jury, accepted a plea of guilty after he had indicated he wished to consult an attorney, failed to inquire whether his plea was voluntary, and failed to question him to determine whether he understood the nature and consequence of his plea of guilty.

Page 575

The defendant appeared in court unrepresented by counsel. The court asked him if he wanted a continuance to consult with an attorney. The court advised him that the maximum penalty for larceny of property not in excess of $15 in value, the crime claimed by the state, was a fine of $25 or thirty days' imprisonment or both. General Statutes § 53-63. The court further advised him that because of the maximum penalty he, the defendant, was not entitled to the services of the public defender. The defendant had not requested the services of the public defender, nor had he claimed indigency. The defendant then requested a continuance, and the case was continued for one week. Immediately thereafter, he informed the court that he was preparing to go to the hospital. The court asked him if he wanted a 'longer continuance,' and he answered, 'I plead guilty, I guess.' He was thereupon arraigned and entered a plea of guilty.

We first consider the denial of the services of the public defender. Section 845A of the Practice Book, relating to criminal procedure in the Circuit Court, provides as follows: 'In all criminal actions, including motor vehicle actions, punishable by confinement for more than thirty days, the judge Before whom the matter is pending shall, if he determines that the defendant is unrepresented and financially unable to retain counsel, designate the public defender * * * to represent the defendant.' The defendant does not cite this rule, but his argument, in effect, would render the rule unconstitutional. He cites no authority[6 Conn.Cir.Ct. 557] enunciated in any judicial decision of the United States Supreme Court which requires a court-appointed attorney in all criminal cases irrespective of the penalty. He relies on Gideon v. Wainwright, 372 U.S. 335, 83 S.Ct. 792, 9 L.Ed.2d 799, and Carnley v. Cochran, 369 U.S. 506, 82 S.Ct. 884, 8 L.Ed.2d 70. Gideon established the rule that the right to counsel guaranteed by the sixth amendment is applicable to the states by virtue of the fourteenth amendment, making it unconstitutional to try a person for a felony in a state court unless he had a lawyer or had validly waived one. In Carnley, the accused was charged with incestuous relations with his thirteen-year-old daughter and with indecent assault. There were complicated aspects of the case involving the validity of the act under which he was prosecuted and other procedural difficulties. Such considerations were deemed sufficient to require a conclusion that the trial without defense counsel did not measure up to the requirements of the fourteenth amendment. These cases lend no support to the defendant's argument. The defendant cites a number of cases in both federal courts and state jurisdictions holding that a defendant in any criminal case, if indigent, is entitled to the services...

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