Rogers v. Commissioner of Correction
Although in the 2012 case of State v. Payne, the Connecticut Supreme Court rejected the presumption in favor of joinder, the court did not alter the remainder of the substantive law that Connecticut courts apply when determining whether joinder is appropriate. The trial court granted the state's motion for joinder as to two informations against Anthony Rogers. Following a jury trial, Rogers was convicted of murder and conspiracy to commit murder, charged in the first information, and attempt to commit assault in the first degree and carrying a pistol without a permit, charged in the second information. On appeal, the Appellate Court declined to review Rogers' joinder challenge due to inadequate briefing and affirmed the judgments. Rogers filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus alleging ineffective assistance of his appellate counsel for failing to brief adequately his joinder and other claims. The habeas court denied Rogers' motion for summary judgment and granted the respondent commissioner of correction's cross motion finding a lack of prejudice. The petitioner appealed claiming that the habeas court erred in holding that even if his appellate counsel adequately briefed the joinder issue, the Appellate Court would have affirmed his convictions. The Appellate Court affirmed judgment. When convicted, Connecticut courts recognized a presumption in favor of joinder, subsequently rejected in Payne. The change made no difference here because the trial court engaged in a thorough analysis in granting the motion for joinder independent of the then existing presumption in favor of joinder. Furthermore, the Supreme Court did not alter the remainder of the substantive law that Connecticut courts apply when determining whether joinder is appropriate. The essence of the petitioner's challenge to the joinder of informations was that the allegations in the murder charge concerned brutal or shocking conduct that compromised the jury's ability to consider fairly the charges against him in the assault case. However, the trial court concluded otherwise and provided a thorough analysis, premised on good authority for its conclusion. The Appellate Court found no basis to reverse the habeas court's judgment. On the record, the panel found no genuine issue of material fact or question of law relating to whether it was reasonably probable that the petitioner would have prevailed in his direct appeal even if the joinder issue were properly briefed.