Lopez v. Comm'r of Corr., AC 43240

CourtAppellate Court of Connecticut
Writing for the CourtPER CURIAM.
Citation208 Conn.App. 515,264 A.3d 1097
Docket NumberAC 43240
Decision Date02 November 2021
Parties Ramon LOPEZ v. COMMISSIONER OF CORRECTION

208 Conn.App. 515
264 A.3d 1097

Ramon LOPEZ
v.
COMMISSIONER OF CORRECTION

AC 43240

Appellate Court of Connecticut.

Argued September 21, 2021
Officially released November 2, 2021


264 A.3d 1101

Michael W. Brown, West Hartford, for the appellant (petitioner).

Timothy F. Costello, senior assistant state's attorney, with whom, on the brief, were Joseph T. Corradino, state's attorney, and Emily Dewey Trudeau, assistant state's attorney, for the appellee (respondent).

PER CURIAM.

208 Conn.App. 516

The petitioner, Ramon Lopez, appeals from the judgment of the habeas court denying his petition for a writ of habeas corpus. On appeal, the petitioner claims that the court improperly rejected (1) his claim that the state, in violation of Brady v. Maryland , 373 U.S. 83, 87, 83 S. Ct. 1194, 10 L. Ed. 2d 215 (1963), failed to disclose certain information during the criminal case, (2) his claim that his first habeas counsel rendered ineffective assistance, and (3) his actual innocence claim. We affirm the judgment of the habeas court.

After a jury trial, the petitioner was convicted of murder in violation of General Statutes § 53a-54a (a), two counts of attempt to commit murder in violation of General Statutes §§ 53a-49 (a) and 53a-54a (a), and two counts of assault in the first degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-59 (a) (5). He was sentenced to a total effective term of 100 years of incarceration. On

208 Conn.App. 517

direct appeal, our Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of conviction. State v. Lopez , 280 Conn. 779, 782–83, 911 A.2d 1099 (2007). In 2005, the petitioner brought his first habeas action claiming ineffective assistance of his criminal trial counsel. The court denied habeas relief. Lopez v. Commissioner of Correction , Superior Court, judicial district of Tolland, Docket No. CV-05-4000857-S, 2012 WL 234150 (Conn. Super. January 4, 2012). This court affirmed the denial per curiam.

264 A.3d 1102

Lopez v. Commissioner of Correction , 150 Conn. App. 905, 93 A.3d 181, cert. denied, 314 Conn. 922, 100 A.3d 853 (2014).

The petitioner filed this second petition for a writ of habeas corpus in July, 2012. The petitioner pursued claims of, inter alia, a Brady violation, ineffective assistance of his first habeas counsel, and actual innocence. Following a trial, the habeas court, Sferrazza , J. , issued a memorandum of decision denying the amended petition for a writ of habeas corpus. On May 31, 2019, the court granted the petition for certification to appeal.

On appeal, the petitioner claims that the court improperly rejected his claims of a Brady violation, ineffective assistance of his first habeas counsel, and actual innocence.1 Specifically, the petitioner argues

208 Conn.App. 518

that "[t]he petition should have been granted on the Brady claim because the state's disclosure ... was inadequate, and the authority the habeas court referenced to support its conclusion is too distinguishable to hold persuasive weight," the habeas court incorrectly concluded that the first habeas counsel was effective, and "the habeas court's conclusion that the petitioner had not proven his innocence was based upon several critical legal errors."

We have examined the record and considered the briefs and arguments of the parties, and conclude that the judgment of the habeas court should be affirmed. In denying the petition, the court issued a thorough and well reasoned memorandum of decision, which is a proper statement of the relevant facts and the applicable law on the issues. We therefore adopt the decision as our own. See Lopez v. Warden , Superior Court, judicial district of Tolland, Docket No. CV-12-4004836-S, 2019 WL 2369528 (May 1, 2019) (reprinted at 208 Conn. App. 515, 264 A.3d 1097 ). "It would serve no useful purpose for this court to repeat the discussion therein contained." Norfolk & Dedham Mutual Fire Ins. Co. v. Wysocki , 243 Conn. 239, 241, 702 A.2d 638 (1997) ; see also Shaheer v. Commissioner of Correction , 207 Conn. App. 449, 453, 262 A.3d 152 (2021).

The judgment is affirmed.

208 Conn.App. 519

APPENDIX

RAMON LOPEZ v. WARDEN*

264 A.3d 1103

Superior Court, Judicial District of Tollxand

File No. CV-12-4004836-S

Memorandum filed May 1, 2019

Proceedings

Memorandum of decision on amended petition for writ of habeas corpus. Petition denied.

Michael W. Brown and Joshua Grubaugh , for the petitioner.

Emily D. Trudeau , assistant state's attorney, for the respondent.

SFERRAZZA, J. The plaintiff, Ramon Lopez, seeks habeas corpus relief from a total, effective sentence of 100 years of imprisonment, imposed after a jury trial, for the crimes of murder, two counts of attempted murder, and two counts of assault in the first degree. Our Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of conviction on direct appeal. State v. Lopez , 280 Conn. 779, 911 A.2d 1099 (2007).

The petitioner filed a previous habeas action attacking the effectiveness of his criminal defense counsel, Attorney Lawrence Hopkins. For sentencing, Attorney Robert Berke replaced Attorney Hopkins, and Attorney Berke's representation was not the subject of the first habeas case. On January 4, 2012, Judge Fuger denied habeas corpus relief. Lopez v. Commissioner of Correction , Superior Court, judicial district of Tolland, Docket No. CV-05-4000857-S, 2012 WL 234150 (Conn. Super. January 4, 2012). The

208 Conn.App. 520

Appellate Court affirmed that decision, per curiam. Lopez v. Commissioner of Correction , 150 Conn. App. 905, 93 A.3d 181, cert. denied, 314 Conn. 922, 100 A.3d 853 (2014).

In the present case, the petitioner pursues claims of ineffective assistance of defense counsel and previous habeas counsel, Attorneys Thomas P. Mullany III and David Rozwaski; a Brady violation; see Brady v. Maryland , 373 U.S. 83, 87, 83 S. Ct. 1194, 10 L. Ed. 2d 215 (1963) ; and a claim of actual innocence. Other grounds for relief were previously dismissed or have not been pursued and are deemed abandoned.

Because of the unusually complicated factual circumstances and scenarios presented by the evidence and the complex legal issues propounded, the court has permitted oversized briefs and granted numerous extensions of time to file such briefs. The petitioner's counsel has described the potential factual and legal issues as "numerous, complicated, [and] wide-ranging." Counsel has also noted that the record is "fairly voluminous" and acknowledged that the petitioner's third-party culpability theory is "at first counterintuitive ...." These observations appear apposite.

The court has reviewed the evidence in this case in great detail, including transcripts of the criminal trial and the first habeas case and police investigation and interview reports pertaining to multiple incidents. In order to set the stage properly and promote a fuller understanding of the factual and legal questions to be resolved, the court adopts a somewhat peculiar format in this memorandum and hopes that these aspirations can be attained.

First, the court provides a nonexhaustive glossary of names, aliases, and sobriquets to facilitate a comprehensive explanation of the several relationships, locations, and events that are pertinent to the court's decision.

208 Conn.App. 521

The petitioner: Ramon Lopez, a/k/a "Buttafuco."

The Pettway store: Located at the northwest corner of the intersection of Stratford Avenue and Fifth Street in Bridgeport. It is variously referred to as

264 A.3d 1104

an all-night convenience store, a liquor store, and a grocery store.

Manual Rosado: a/k/a Kevin Anderson and "Cricket." One of the shooting victims in the Pettway store incident of February 2, 2002.

Shariff Hakeem-Abdul: a/k/a "Polo" and Lonnie Rosado. The deceased victim of the Pettway store shooting and brother of Manual Rosado.

Robert Payton (now deceased): "Rob." A friend of Manual Rosado, brother of Tony Payton, and cousin to Brad Rainey.

Tony Payton: "Tone" or "Tonny." Brother of Robert Payton and a purported witness to the Pettway store shooting of February 2, 2002. Walks with a pronounced limp.

Gary Burton: Another shooting victim of the Pettway store shooting and acquaintance of Robert Payton.

John Dawson: Purported witness to the February 2, 2002 shooting and/or aftermath.

Eddie Hilton: Purported witness to the February 2, 2002 shooting and/or aftermath.

Desiree Jones: Friend of Gary Burton and purported witness to his shooting and/or aftermath.

Keaga Johnson: Friend of Gary Burton and purported witness to his shooting and/or aftermath.

Francisco Soares: "Cisco." An acquaintance of Gary Burton and...

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2 practice notes
  • Savin Gasoline Props., LLC v. Comm'n on the City Plan of Norwich, AC 44090
    • United States
    • Appellate Court of Connecticut
    • 2 novembre 2021
    ...of the trial court vacated with instruction that the trial court order the commission to vacate the special permit, corresponding site 208 Conn.App. 515 plan and § 14-321 approvals. The commission filed a response indicating that it believed that the appeal was moot and raising no objection......
  • Lopez v. Comm'r of Corr.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • 11 janvier 2022
    ...assistant state's attorney, in opposition.The petitioner Ramon Lopez' petition for certification to appeal from the Appellate Court, 208 Conn. App. 515, 264 A.3d 1097 (2021), is...
2 cases
  • Savin Gasoline Props., LLC v. Comm'n on the City Plan of Norwich, AC 44090
    • United States
    • Appellate Court of Connecticut
    • 2 novembre 2021
    ...of the trial court vacated with instruction that the trial court order the commission to vacate the special permit, corresponding site 208 Conn.App. 515 plan and § 14-321 approvals. The commission filed a response indicating that it believed that the appeal was moot and raising no objection......
  • Lopez v. Comm'r of Corr.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • 11 janvier 2022
    ...assistant state's attorney, in opposition.The petitioner Ramon Lopez' petition for certification to appeal from the Appellate Court, 208 Conn. App. 515, 264 A.3d 1097 (2021), is...

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