State v. Santiago
A violation of a defendant's right against double jeopardy is one of the permissible grounds on which to challenge the legality of a sentence. Jaime Santiago was convicted of assault in the first degree and risk of injury to a child in connection with injuries sustained by his three month old son while in the defendant's care found consistent with "shaken baby syndrome." Santiago was sentenced to 10 years incarceration and 10 years special parole on the assault charge and a consecutive 10 years' incarceration on the risk of injury charge, for a total effective sentence of 20 years' incarceration with 10 years special parole. Santiago filed a motion to correct an illegal sentence pursuant to Practice Book §43-22, primarily claiming that his consecutive sentences on the two charges violated his constitutional rights against double jeopardy. The court, Daminai, J., held a hearing and denied the motion. Later, the court sua sponte revoked its denial and dismissed the motion, finding that it did not have subject matter jurisdiction to hear it. Santiago appealed. The Appellate Court found the form of the judgment improper. The judgment of dismissal was reversed and the case remanded with direction to reinstate the judgment denying the motion to correct. A violation of a defendant's right against double jeopardy is a permissible ground on which to challenge the legality of a sentence. Because the defendant's challenge was based on a lawful ground, the court had subject matter jurisdiction to hear the defendant's motion to correct. The later dismissal was in error. However, the defendant's convictions for both assault in the first degree in violation of C.G.S. §53a-59(a)(3) and risk of injury to a child under C.G.S. §53-21(1) were not constitutionally defective. Assault in the first degree is a conceptually separate and distinct offense from risk of injury to a child. It was clear from the plain language of the relevant portions of C.G.S. §53-21(1) and C.G.S. §53a-59(a)(3), that each offense requires proof of a fact that the other does not. Further, the separate consecutive sentences for the offenses were proper. C.G.S. §53a-37 allows trial courts to impose consecutive sentences for multiple offenses.