Randolph v. Mambrino, AC 42742

CourtAppellate Court of Connecticut
Writing for the CourtPALMER, J.
Docket NumberAC 42742
Decision Date25 October 2022



No. AC 42742

Court of Appeals of Connecticut

October 25, 2022

Argued February 9, 2022

Procedural History

Amended petition for a new trial following the petitioner's conviction of the crimes of robbery in the first degree, conspiracy to commit robbery in the first degree and kidnapping in the second degree with a firearm, brought to the Superior Court in the judicial district of Hartford, where the court, Hon. John F. Mulcahy, Jr., judge trial referee, granted the respondents' motion for summary judgment and rendered judgment thereon, from which the petitioner, on the granting of certification, appealed to this court. Affirmed.

Gordon Randolph, self-represented, the appellant (petitioner).

Nancy L. Chupak, senior assistant state's attorney, with whom, on the brief, were Gail P. Hardy, former state's attorney, and Debra A. Collins, senior assistant state's attorney, for the appellees (respondents).

Alvord, Elgo and Palmer, Js.




The self-represented petitioner, Gordon Randolph, appeals from the summary judgment rendered by the trial court in favor of the respondents, Donna Mambrino and the state of Connecticut, and its subsequent dismissal of his petition for a new trial. On appeal, the petitioner claims that the trial court incorrectly concluded that General Statutes § 52-595,[1]which provides for the tolling of the statute of limitations applicable to a particular cause of action upon proof by the party bringing the action that the defendant fraudulently concealed the existence of the cause of action, does not toll the three year limitation period of General Statutes § 52-582[2] applicable to petitions for a new trial brought under General Statutes § 52-270.[3] We agree with the petitioner that the trial court incorrectly determined that § 52-595 does not apply to § 52-582. We also conclude, however, that the respondents are entitled to summary judgment because the petitioner, who alleges that the respondents intentionally concealed exculpatory evidence from him in violation of Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83, 87, 83 S.Ct. 1194, 10 L.Ed.2d 215 (1963), has failed to demonstrate that the facts, viewed most favorably to sustaining his claim under § 52-595, are sufficient to satisfy the stringent requirements of that tolling provision. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

The following facts and procedural history regarding both the petitioner's underlying conviction and the present action are relevant to this appeal. With respect to the petitioner's conviction, the trial court explained: "On August 24, 2012, Hartford police responded to an armed robbery in progress at [a restaurant] on Brainard Road. Upon arrival, a vehicle was observed leaving the area, it was followed by the police across local streets, it proceeded on to the highway, and the vehicle crashed while exiting the interstate. The petitioner was the driver; a passenger in the vehicle subsequently implicated the petitioner in the armed robbery. Inculpatory items of evidence were found in the vehicle. The petitioner was arrested on August 24, 2012, and charged with robbery in the first degree, conspiracy [to commit robbery in the first degree], and kidnapping [in the] second degree with a firearm. [On July 11, 2013, the petitioner] pleaded guilty [pursuant to a plea agreement] to all counts . . . [following] an exhaustive canvass [and a presentence investigation report] was ordered . . . ." He was sentenced on October 17, 2013, in accordance with that agreement to a total effective term of imprisonment of twenty-two years. The petitioner was represented, at all relevant times, by a public defender, R. Bruce Lorenzen. Mambrino, a senior assistant state's attorney, was involved in the prosecution of the case for the state.

The petitioner then filed a petition for a new trial


dated October 7, 2016, alleging that several letters written by someone named "Iris S." contained evidence establishing his innocence in his criminal case and that the respondents had possession of the letters and knowledge of their contents at the time of his guilty plea but purposefully failed to disclose them to him. In their amended answer to the petition, the respondents asserted that the petitioner had "failed to allege anything identifiable that could not have been discovered earlier by the exercise of due diligence, that would be material on a new trial, that is not merely cumulative nor is likely to produce a different result in a new trial," thereby failing to satisfy any of the requirements for a petition for a new trial enumerated by our Supreme Court in Asherman v. State, 202 Conn. 429, 434, 521 A.2d 578 (1987). The respondents also alleged, by way of a special defense, that the petition was time barred because it was not filed within three years from the date of the petitioner's sentencing as required under § 52-582.[4] In an amended petition for a new trial, the petitioner maintained that § 52-582 was tolled by § 52-595 as a result of the respondents' fraudulent concealment of the "Iris S." letters, which, he further claimed, violated his constitutional rights under Brady.

The respondents subsequently filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that there was no dispute between the parties that the petitioner had not served the respondents within the time frame mandated by § 52-582. The respondents further argued that the petitioner's tolling claim failed as a matter of law because he had not adduced facts sufficient to permit a finding of fraudulent concealment.

At a hearing on the respondents' motion, the court voiced concerns over whether the question of the court's subject matter jurisdiction had been properly addressed. The court then noted that it had provided the parties with several cases to review on that point, including Fichera v. Mine Hill Corp., 207 Conn. 204, 541 A.2d 472 (1988), and Turner v. State, 172 Conn.App. 352,160 A.3d 398 (2017). At the hearing, the respondents maintained that the court in Turner "was very explicit in . . . concluding] that the [three year] limitation period set forth in [§] 52-582 ... is jurisdictional in nature," such that the trial court in the present case lacked jurisdiction to consider the petitioner's untimely petition for any reason after the expiration of that period. The petitioner countered that neither Fichera nor Turner mandated the conclusion that § 52-582 cannot be tolled by proof of fraudulent concealment under § 52-595.

On September 27, 2018, the court granted the respondents' motion for summary judgment. The court relied in large part on this court's determination in Turner that § 52-582 is jurisdictional in nature and not subject to equitable tolling. See Turner v. State, supra, 172 Conn.App. 370.


The court also noted that, although Turner did not rule on whether § 52-595 applies to § 52-582, it "provide[d] guidance" by citing to Fichera, in which our Supreme Court concluded, under the facts of that case, that § 52-595 was unavailable to the plaintiff as a matter of law to toll General Statutes § 42-110g (f), the three year statute of limitations for claims under the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act (CUTPA), General Statutes § 42-110a et seq.[5] See Fichera v. Mine Hill Corp., supra, 207 Conn. 216-17. The court therefore concluded that the petitioner's failure to bring his petition within three years of his sentence operated as a jurisdictional bar to consideration of his petition for a new trial. The court thus dismissed the petition, and this appeal followed. Additional facts and procedural history will be set forth as necessary.


On appeal, the petitioner claims that the trial court incorrectly concluded that the three year limitation period of § 52-582 cannot be tolled by application of § 52-595. In response, the respondents contend that the trial court properly held that the limitation period of § 52-582 is jurisdictional in nature and therefore not subject to tolling under § 52-595.[6] Specifically, the respondents, relying on the analyses in Turner and Fichera, argue that there is "a clear legislative intent not to have § 52-595 apply to toll the statute of limitations for a petition for a new trial." We agree with the petitioner and, accordingly, conclude that the three year limitation period of § 52-582 may be tolled by a showing of fraudulent concealment pursuant to § 52-595.

We begin by noting that "[t]his court's standard of review for a motion for summary judgment is well established. Practice Book § [17-49] provides that summary judgment shall be rendered forthwith if the pleadings, affidavits and any other proof submitted show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. ... In deciding a motion for summary judgment, the trial court must view the evidence in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. . . . The party seeking summary judgment has the burden of showing the absence of any genuine issue [of] material facts which, under applicable principles of substantive law, entitle him to a judgment as a matter of law . . . and the party opposing such a motion must provide an evidentiary foundation to demonstrate the existence of a genuine issue of material fact. . . . [I]ssue-finding, rather than issue-determination, is the key to the procedure. . . . [T]he trial court does not sit as the trier of fact when ruling on a motion for summary judgment. . . . [Its] function is not to decide issues of material fact, but rather to determine whether any such issues exist. . . . Our review of the decision to grant a motion for summary judgment is plenary. . . . We therefore must


decide whether the court's conclusions were legally and logically correct and find support in the record." (Internal quotation marks omitted.) Electrical Contractors, Inc. v. 50...

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