Janulawicz v. Commissioner of Correction
The failure to comply with the rules of practice does not deprive the Supreme Court of subject matter jurisdiction to consider an untimely petition for certification to appeal from the Appellate Court's judgment; untimely petitions and appeals are expressly contemplated by Practice Book §60-2 and §60-3. Following the denial of his motion to suppress certain evidence, Richard Janulawicz entered conditional pleas of nolo contendere to charges, including criminal possession of a firearm. On appeal, the Appellate Court affirmed the judgment denying the motion to suppress. Janulawicz filed an amended petition for a writ of habeas corpus alleging, inter alia, that his trial and appellate counsel, Deron Freemon, rendered ineffective assistance, including by failing to petition for certification to appeal to the Supreme Court, to transfer the matter to another attorney or to discuss the case merits with the petitioner until after the appeal period expired. The habeas court granted the petition, in part, ordering the petitioner's right to file a petition for certification to appeal to the Supreme Court restored. The respondent commissioner of correction appealed. The Appellate Court reversed the habeas court's judgment and found that the petitioner failed to introduce evidence of prejudice from counsel's deficiency and that the Supreme Court likely would have granted his petition for certification to appeal. As the petitioner never filed a motion to file a late petition for certification to appeal, the Supreme Court concluded that the habeas action was not justiciable because it was unripe for adjudication. The Appellate Court's judgment was reversed and the case remanded with direction to remand the matter to the habeas court to render judgment dismissing the habeas petition. Despite the petitioner's failure to file a timely petition for certification to appeal under Practice Book §84-4(a), the petitioner's habeas petition was unripe because the petitioner's injury is contingent on the Supreme Court denying a motion to file a late petition for certification, a motion the petitioner never filed. He would not suffer injury if the Supreme Court were to grant the request, obviating any need for a resolution of the issues on appeal. No jurisdictional barrier would prevent the Supreme Court from exercising its discretion to consider the untimely petition for certification to appeal. Such motions are routinely granted whenever there is a reasoned basis for doing so.