Moyher v. Commissioner of Correction
The habeas court's denial of a petition for a writ of habeas corpus alleging ineffective assistance of counsel is reviewed under the standard established by the U.S. Supreme Court in the 1984 case of Strickland v. Washington, under which a petitioner must produce evidence that "counsel's representation fell below an objective standard of reasonableness and…counsel's deficient performance prejudiced the defense because there is a reasonable probability that the outcome of the proceedings would have been different had it not been for the deficient performance." Gerald Moyher was arrested at a home he shared with Doreen Storer. Police officers heard an escalating verbal dispute between Moyher and Storer, and, aware of a history of domestic violence between the couple who had been drinking, entered the home under the emergency doctrine. Moyher ordered them to leave. He was seen pushing Storer. Moyher pushed an officer and injured him. The officer subdued Moyher and placed him under arrest. Following a jury trial, Moyher was found guilty of assaulting a police officer acting in the performance of his duties and interfering with an officer in the performance of his duties. Moyher filed this petition for a writ of habeas corpus, alleging ineffective assistance of trial counsel due to counsel's failure to file a motion to suppress certain evidence found inside his home and to request a charge regarding an illegal police entry. Following a hearing, the habeas court denied the petition finding that a motion to suppress would not have been successful and that the petitioner failed to demonstrate that counsel's performance was ineffective. The court also found that the petitioner was not entitled to a jury instruction on an illegal police entry and was not prejudiced by counsel's performance. Granted certification to appeal, Moyher appealed claiming that the court improperly found that a motion to suppress evidence at trial would not have been successful and, therefore, that counsel's assistance was not ineffective. The Appellate Court affirmed the judgment. Based on its review of the evidence, the Appellate Court concluded that the habeas court properly denied the writ of habeas corpus.