Zuberi v. Commissioner of Correction
The habeas court was not required, nor permitted, to look beyond the issues raised in the habeas petition. Muhoza Zuberi pleaded guilty to a narcotics possession charge. The trial court did not advise Zuberi of the possible consequence of his pleathat if he were not a U.S. citizen, he might be deported. Zuberi filed an amended petition for a writ of habeas corpus alleging ineffective representation by trial counsel. The habeas court denied the petition. Zuberi appealed claiming that the habeas court committed plain error in refusing to grant his amended petition by failing to apply a clearly applicable statute, C.G.S §54-lj, which, he contended, required the habeas court to vacate his conviction due to the trial court's failure to advise him of the possible immigration consequences of his plea before rendering a judgment of conviction. The Appellate Court affirmed the judgment. On appeal the petitioner did not challenge the habeas court's findings and conclusions regarding the alleged ineffective assistance of his trial counsel, the only error claimed in his amended petition. Instead, he contended that he was entitled to the relief sought in his petition because it was mandated by C.G.S. §54-lj(c), even though he did not make any such argument in his amended petition. Effectively, the petitioner argued that it was plain error for the habeas court not to vacate his conviction, through a sua sponte application of C.G.S. §54-lj(c), after he brought to the court's attention, in the context of his ineffective assistance of counsel claim, the trial court's failure to advise him of the immigration consequences of his plea. The Appellate Court concluded that the petitioner failed to demonstrate plain error by the habeas court. The habeas court was not required, nor permitted, to look beyond the issues raised in the amended petition. The Appellate Court declined to exercise its inherent supervisory authority over the administration of justice to vacate the conviction. The petitioner has the right to plead grounds upon which he seeks habeas relief and to obtain a judicial determination related to those grounds. There was no showing that the traditional protections available are inadequate.