Costa v. Reed

Decision Date22 June 1931
CourtConnecticut Supreme Court
PartiesCOSTA v. REED, Warden.
155 A. 417

REED, Warden.

Supreme Court of Errors of Connecticut.

June 22, 1931.

Case reserved from Superior Court, Hartford County; Newell Jennings, Judge.

Application for writ of habeas corpus by Joseph Costa against Charles S. Reed, Warden, to determine the legality of the imprisonment of applicant in the Connecticut State Prison, brought to the superior court for Hartford county, where a demurrer to the second defense of defendant's reply was interposed and the case reserved on the pleading for the advice of court.

Superior court advised to overrule demurrer to second defense of reply.

Argued before MALTBIE, C. J., and HAINES, HINMAN, BANKS, and AVERT, JJ.

Francis P. Guilfoile, of Waterbury, for applicant.

Walter Holcomb, State's Atty., of Torrington, for respondent.


The application for the writ is made by Joseph Costa, claiming that he is unlawfully imprisoned by the warden of the Connecticut State Prison. The warden filed a return, setting forth that the applicant was detained by virtue of a mittimus of commitment dated November 15, 1929, and issued by order of the superior court, then holden in and for Litchfield county, reciting his conviction November 13, 1929, for the crime of injury by dynamiting, and a sentence of imprisonment in the state's prison. To this return the applicant answered that the warrant of commitment was void because it was issued from an alleged criminal session of the superior court, purporting to have been held in the town of Winchester in Litchfield county November 15, 1929, and that chapter 232 of the Public Acts of 1929 provides that criminal sessions of the superior court for Litchfield county shall be held in the town of Litchfield. The answer further averred that the judge presiding over the September criminal session of the superior court in Litchfield adjourned the session from Litchfield to Winchester, and there, assembled with the clerk and other court officials, attempted to try the applicant, and that the superior court had no jurisdiction, since it was not held at the place and time authorized by law, namely, the town of Litchfield.

To this answer, the respondent filed a reply, admitting that the September criminal" session of the superior court for Litchfield county was adjourned from Litchfield to Winchester, and, by way of second defense, alleged the following: On the first Tuesday of September, 1929, the county courthouse at Litchfield, and the superior court room therein, were unusable for the purpose of holding court because of extensive repairs then being made, and continued so to December 10, 1929. There were" no places, during this period, suitable, adequate, and obtainable in the town

155 A. 418

of Litchfield for the purpose of holding criminal sessions of the superior court. At Winsted, town of Winchester, Litchfield county, there was and is a superior court room regularly used for the trial of civil causes and suitable for the trial of criminal cases. On the first Tuesday of September, 1929, at which time the session for the transaction of criminal or civil business was fixed by statute to open, the court was, at the direction of the Honorable Edwin C. Dickenson, judge thereof, assigned to hold the same, opened at Litchfield, and adjourned to Winsted, where it was thereafter opened and adjourned from time to time until November 13, 1929, when the court was open and in session. The state's attorney for Litchfield county duly gave and sent out notices in writing to parties accused of crime named in the trial list of criminal cases, and to their attorneys, to appear before the court in the courthouse at Winsted on Wednesday, October 2, 1929, at 10 o'clock in the forenoon, and plead to the information for which they were charged...

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