State v. Henderson
In the 2007 case of State v. Bell, the Connecticut Supreme Court concluded that a provision in C.G.S. §53a-40(h) requiring the trial court to make the determination as to whether extended incarceration of the defendant would best serve the public interest violated the defendant's constitutional right to due process and a trial by jury. Following a jury trial, Mitchell Henderson was convicted of robbery in the first degree, assault in the third degree, threatening and attempt to escape from custody. He pleaded guilty under the Alford doctrine to two part B informations and was sentenced including to 25 years incarceration for the robbery charge as a persistent dangerous felony offender and a consecutive 25 year incarceration sentence, execution suspended after 10 years, for attempt to escape as a persistent serious felony offender. The Appellate Court affirmed the conviction. Henderson filed a motion to correct an illegal sentence pursuant to Practice Book §43-22 claiming that the court enhanced his sentence based on its finding that an extended incarceration and lifetime supervision would best serve the public interest, thereby violating his constitutional rights to due process and a trial by jury under Bell. The trial court granted the state's motion to dismiss on the ground that the court lacked subject matter jurisdiction over Henderson's claim because it did not involve the imposition of an illegal sentence. The Appellate Court reversed the judgment. Addressing the merits of the claim, the Appellate Court concluded that Bell was not retroactive and remanded the case with direction to deny Henderson's motion. The Supreme Court granted the defendant's petition for certification to appeal and the state's cross petition. The issues were limited to whether the Appellate Court properly determined that the defendant's claim fell under Practice Book §43-22 and the court had jurisdiction to consider the motion and, if it did, whether the Appellate Court properly determined that Bell did not apply retroactively to this case. After examining the record and considering the briefs and oral arguments of the parties, the Supreme Court dismissed the appeals on the ground that certification was improvidently granted.