Crawley v. Commissioner of Correction
As stated in the 2010 Connecticut Appellate Court case of Greene v. Commissioner of Correction, "[t]o satisfy the prejudice prong for ineffective assistance claims resulting from guilty verdicts, the petitioner must demonstrate that there exists a reasonable probability that, but for counsel's unprofessional errors, the result of the proceeding would have been different…" In New Britain, Scott Crawley was convicted of counts of possession of narcotics with intent to sell by a person who is not drug-dependent and received a total effective sentence of 30 years' incarceration. In Manchester, for two consolidated dockets, Crawley was convicted of crimes including possession of narcotics and possession of narcotics with intent to sell by a person who is not drug dependent. He was convicted, on a part B information, of having committed the Manchester offenses while on release in violation of C.G.S. §53a-40b. He received a total effective sentence of 27 years' incarceration to run consecutively to his New Britain case. He filed amended petitions for writs of habeas corpus regarding both the Manchester and New Britain cases claiming, relevantly, that his trial counsel, Donald Freeman, rendered ineffective assistance in failing to present evidence that the petitioner was drug dependent. The habeas court denied the petitions on this issue. Crawley appealed claiming that the court abused its discretion in denying certification to appeal because the court incorrectly concluded that he failed to demonstrate prejudice from counsel's alleged deficient performance in failing to raise a drug dependency defense. The Appellate Court dismissed the appeal. The habeas court properly determined that even assuming that counsel rendered deficient performance by failing to raise the defense, the petitioner failed to sustain his burden of demonstrating that he was prejudiced by the assumed deficiency because a reasonable probability was not shown that but for counsel's error, his sentence would have been lighter than the sentence actually imposed. In each case, there was no indication that the sentencing judges, both of whom noted the petitioner's long history of drug sales, would have given the petitioner lesser sentences had the defense of drug dependency been raised. Had the defense been put forth, the petitioner's maximum possible sentence in both cases would have increased by 15 years, rather than decreased, as to the charges of possession with intent to sell.