Peeler v. Comm'r of Corr., AC 37382

CourtAppellate Court of Connecticut
Citation155 A.3d 772,170 Conn.App. 654
Decision Date14 February 2017
Docket NumberAC 37382

170 Conn.App. 654
155 A.3d 772

Russell PEELER

AC 37382

Appellate Court of Connecticut.

Argued November 15, 2016
Officially released February 14, 2017

Lisa J. Steele, assigned counsel, for the appellant (petitioner).

Harry Weller, senior assistant state's attorney, with whom, on the brief, were John C. Smriga, state's attorney, Craig P. Nowak, senior assistant state's attorney, and Richard K. Greenalch, deputy assistant state's attorney, for the appellee (respondent).

Alvord, Prescott and Mihalakos, Js.


The petitioner, Russell Peeler, appeals from the judgment of the habeas court denying his petition for a writ of habeas corpus.1 On appeal, the petitioner claims that the habeas court erroneously (1) deprived him of his right to self-representation; (2) concluded that his claim that his expeditious criminal trial schedule violated his constitutional rights had been procedurally defaulted; (3) concluded that appellate counsel provided effective assistance; and (4) concluded that the state did not suppress evidence in violation of Brady v. Maryland , 373 U.S. 83, 87, 83 S.Ct. 1194, 10 L.Ed.2d 215 (1963).2 We disagree

155 A.3d 778

and, accordingly, affirm the judgment of the habeas court.

The following factual and procedural history, as set forth in State v. Peeler , 271 Conn. 338, 348–55, 857 A.2d 808 (2004), cert. denied, 546 U.S. 845, 126 S.Ct. 94, 163 L.Ed.2d 110 (2005) (Peeler II ), is relevant to the present appeal. "In the late 1990s, the [petitioner] and his brother, Adrian Peeler (Adrian), operated a large-scale drug trafficking network that sold crack cocaine (crack) throughout the city of Bridgeport. In 1997, the [petitioner] partnered with Rudolph Snead, Jr., to produce and distribute the crack. Snead's responsibilities included providing the [petitioner] with powdered cocaine, which the [petitioner], with the help of several associates, processed into crack and then sold on the streets. The partnership began to sour when, in 1997, the [petitioner] accused Snead of overcharging him for the powdered cocaine. Snead responded to the accusation by ‘shooting up’ a building on Benham Street in Bridgeport that the [petitioner] used as a ‘crack house.’ According to one of the [petitioner's] associates, the [petitioner] vowed to retaliate.

"In September, 1997, the [petitioner], Corey King, Shawn Kennedy, and the [petitioner's] cousin, Ryan Peeler (Ryan), were driving in Bridgeport when the [petitioner] noticed Snead's car parked in the lot of a barber shop. The [petitioner] observed Snead leave the barber shop, get into his car and drive away. At the time, the [petitioner] was aware that two young boys, later identified as Leroy Brown, Jr., and Tyrell Snead (Tyrell), were passengers in Snead's car.

"The [petitioner's] car followed Snead's car to the Lindley Avenue entrance ramp to Route 25. As Snead proceeded up the ramp, he slowed down and pulled off to the side. The [petitioner's] vehicle pulled up next to Snead's car, and the [petitioner], who was seated in the right front passenger seat, fired several shots at Snead from a .40 caliber, semi-automatic handgun.3 The [petitioner] kept shooting until his gun jammed.

"Several of the shots fired by the [petitioner] hit Snead, injuring him, but not so severely that he was unable to drive away. A Bridgeport police officer, who noticed glass falling from Snead's car as he drove by, stopped the vehicle. After Snead explained what had happened, the officer sent him to St. Vincent's Medical Center for treatment.

"At the hospital, another officer from the Bridgeport police department interviewed Snead and his two young passengers, Brown and Tyrell. The officer's investigative report included the names of all three interviewees. On the basis of Snead's identification of the [petitioner] as the person who had shot him, the [petitioner] was arrested and charged with attempted murder.

"The [petitioner], however, posted bond and was released from custody. After his release, the [petitioner] made it clear to his associates that he was furious with Snead for reporting the Lindley Avenue shooting to the police, and that he was going to ‘get’ him for giving a statement to the police. Subsequently, in May, 1998, while free on bond, the [petitioner] shot and killed Snead in the same barber shop that Snead had patronized immediately prior to the Lindley Avenue shooting.

"While investigating Snead's death, the Bridgeport police department performed

155 A.3d 779

ballistics tests comparing the shell casings retrieved from the murder scene with those from the Lindley Avenue shooting. The tests revealed that all of the bullets had been discharged from the same gun. The police were also aware that Brown could identify the [petitioner] as the shooter in the Lindley Avenue shooting, thus linking him directly to Snead's murder. On the basis of this information, the [petitioner] was arrested and charged with Snead's murder.

"The [petitioner], however, again secured his release by posting bond. As a condition of his release, the [petitioner] was required to observe a curfew and wear an electronic ankle bracelet to ensure compliance. Despite these precautions, the [petitioner] continued operating his drug trafficking business, albeit from a new location.

"In January, 1998, during the course of pretrial discovery in connection with the Lindley Avenue shooting, the state provided defense counsel with the police report identifying Brown and Tyrell as the two passengers in Snead's car when that shooting had occurred. The trial court, however, ordered counsel to conceal the names of the two children from the [petitioner] to ensure their safety.

"During the fall of 1998, the [petitioner] frequently discussed his pending cases with his attorney, and often speculated as to the identity of the state's witnesses. He noticed that his attorney had made an extraordinary effort to prevent him from learning the name or names of the state's witnesses. The [petitioner], however, remembered that during the Lindley Avenue shooting Snead had been accompanied by two children, Tyrell and Brown. He therefore surmised that those children could be the state's witnesses in the cases pending against him.

"The [petitioner's] suspicions were confirmed when, one day while driving past 207 Earl Avenue in Bridgeport, where Brown lived with his mother, Karen Clarke, the [petitioner] saw Brown playing outside. When Brown saw the [petitioner], he looked surprised and immediately ran away. As a result, the [petitioner] concluded that Brown was in fact one of the state's witnesses. The [petitioner] thereafter openly contemplated the possibility of having someone kill Brown and Clarke.

"In December, 1998, the [petitioner] told his girlfriend, Angelina Keene, that she should move away from Bridgeport because he was going to start killing the witnesses against him.4 At about the same time, the [petitioner] offered Kybarris Taylor $10,000 to kill two people. Specifically, the [petitioner] told Taylor that he wanted to eliminate ‘two nobodies.’ Taylor refused the offer. The [petitioner] also asked his brother Adrian and Josephine Lee, a crack addict and prostitute who lived across the street from Clarke and Brown, to carry out the killings. They too initially refused. Ultimately, however, Adrian agreed to commit the double homicide.

155 A.3d 780

"The [petitioner] also told his associates that he wanted the witnesses killed with a revolver because, unlike a .40 caliber semi-automatic handgun, the shell casings would not be discharged from the revolver, making it more difficult to link the shootings to the gun.5 In October, 1998, one of the [petitioner's] associates in the drug trade, Albrent Daniels, procured for the [petitioner] the revolver that was to be used to kill Clarke and Brown. ... [King, another associate of the petitioner,] testified that at one point after the [petitioner] had gained possession of the gun, the [petitioner] described to several of his associates, including Adrian, what he intended to do with it. He said that he would put the gun to Brown's head and go ‘[p]ow,’ simulating the sound of a gunshot. The gun eventually was given to the [petitioner's] brother, Adrian.

"At this same time, the [petitioner] and his drug trafficking associates moved their crack production to a house located at 200 Earl Avenue in Bridgeport, across the street from the house in which Clarke and Brown then lived. The residents of the 200 Earl Avenue address, including Lee, were crack users who obtained the drug from the [petitioner's] drug trafficking network.

"Lee testified that on January 6, 1999, the day before the Clarke and Brown murders, the [petitioner] and an associate, later identified as King, were at the house located at 200 Earl Avenue. According to Lee, the two men spent time in the dining room observing Clarke and Brown's residence. Lee further testified that another of the [petitioner's] associates, later identified as Gary Garner, and the [petitioner's] brother, Adrian, also came by the house that day. At some point, King left Lee's residence and, thereafter, Lee observed Adrian and the [petitioner] conversing in the dining room.

"The [petitioner] and...

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9 cases
  • Little v. Comm'r of Corr.
    • United States
    • Appellate Court of Connecticut
    • 17 Octubre 2017 an ambuscade of the [habeas] judge." (Citation omitted; internal quotation marks omitted.) Peeler v. Commissioner of Correction, 170 Conn.App. 654, 677, 155 A.3d 772, cert. denied, 325 Conn. 901, 157 A.3d 1146 (2017). In his second habeas petition and before the habeas court, the petitio......
  • State v. Simmons, AC 37826
    • United States
    • Appellate Court of Connecticut
    • 26 Marzo 2019
    ...that a Brady violation has not occurred." (Citations omitted; internal quotation marks omitted.) Peeler v. Commissioner of Correction , 170 Conn. App. 654, 687–88, 155 A.3d 772, cert. denied, 325 Conn. 901, 157 A.3d 1146 (2017). Moreover, "[w]hether the [defendant] was deprived of his due p......
  • State v. Harris
    • United States
    • Appellate Court of Connecticut
    • 30 Junio 2020
    ...we must conclude that a Brady violation has not occurred." (Internal quotation marks omitted). Peeler v. Commissioner of Correction , 170 Conn. App. 654, 688, 155 A.3d 772, cert. denied, 325 Conn. 901, 157 A.3d 1146 (2017). It is important to note, however, that "[n]ot every failure by the ......
  • State v. Rogers, AC 40125
    • United States
    • Appellate Court of Connecticut
    • 24 Julio 2018
    ...decided by the court adversely to the appellant's claim." (Internal quotation marks omitted.) Peeler v. Commissioner of Correction , 170 Conn. App. 654, 677, 155 A.3d 772, cert. denied, 325 Conn. 901, 157 A.3d 1146 (2017).The defendant relies on our Supreme Court's decision in State v. Edwa......
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