State v. Brown
As explained in the 2012 Appellate Court decision in State v. Clark, a "Garvin agreement," one entered into pursuant to the 1997 Supreme Court case of State v. Garvin, "is a conditional plea agreement that has two possible binding outcomes, one that results from the defendant's compliance with the conditions of the plea agreement and one that is triggered by his violation of a condition of the agreement;" and the burden of proof for determining whether a Garvin agreement has been violated is minimum indicia of reliability. Pursuant to a Garvin agreement, Jonathan Brown pleaded guilty to assault in the third degree of an elderly person in violation of C.G.S. §53a-61a and admitted to two counts of violation of probation. Compliance with the agreement terms would have resulted in a fully suspended sentence and a different conviction—assault in the third degree under C.G.S. §53a-61. However, the court found that the defendant violated the agreement by failing to abide by the rules and regulations of Evolve—a 52 session behavior modification program and sentenced him to 18 months incarceration on the original C.G.S. §53a-61a assault charge and one count of violation of probation. Brown appealed claiming, first, that the court improperly failed to sentence him in accordance with the conditions of the agreement. The Appellate Court affirmed the judgment. The defendant unsuccessfully argued that he was not required to abide by the rules and regulations of Evolve and that he satisfied the agreement by ultimately completing the program. Based on the plea canvass, the Garvin agreement required the defendant to comply with the program. The court's finding that the defendant breached the agreement when he twice was suspended from the program was not clearly erroneous. Although the defendant ultimately completed the program, the agreement required both completion and compliance. The court did not violate the defendant's due process rights by failing to hold an evidentiary hearing on whether he breached the agreement's conditions. The defendant did not contest his noncompliance or request an evidentiary hearing. The court accorded the defendant an appropriate hearing by inquiring into his explanation. The court applied the appropriate standard of proof of minimum indicia of reliability in determining whether the defendant violated the agreement and not the preponderance of the evidence standard, as contended.