February 2, 2009
BY THE DIVISION
Jose Rivera, petitioner, was found guilty after a trial to a jury of Carrying a Pistol without a Permit, in violation of Connecticut General Statutes § 29-35, with a penalty of one to five years; Sale of Narcotics, in violation of Connecticut General Statutes § 21a-277(a), with a penalty of one to fifteen years; Conspiracy to Commit Sale of Narcotics, in violation of Connecticut General Statutes §§ 21a-277(a) and 53a-48, with a penalty of one to fifteen years; and, Conspiracy to Commit Assault in the First Degree, in violation of §§ 53a-59(a)(5) and 53a-48, with a penalty of one to twenty years. The petitioner was found not guilty on the charge of Murder. The court imposed a total effective sentence of twenty years to serve (five years on the pistol count, fifteen years on the narcotics count, and twenty years on the assault count). The total effective sentence was to run consecutively to the sentence that he was serving. It is this sentence that the petitioner seeks to have reviewed.
At the hearing before the Division, counsel for petitioner argued that the sentence was "disproportionate" given the acquittal on the Murder charge and that the petitioner should be sentenced on the facts as it related to the conduct for the other offenses. Counsel indicated that the prior criminal history of the petitioner did not warrant the substantial sentence imposed by the trial court and asked the Division to impose a lesser sentence.
Counsel for the State addressed the Division at the hearing and described the criminal history of the petitioner, which included a conviction for Manslaughter in the Second Degree, where the petitioner struck and killed a thirteen-year-old boy riding a bicycle with a motor vehicle he was operating and fled the scene. The petitioner also had a felony conviction for Weapon in a Correctional Institution and numerous correction department disciplinary tickets.
The sentencing court considered all aspects of the record before it in a thorough manner and took into consideration the petitioner's background and his criminal history. The court found that the petitioner had "lived a wasted and lawless life." (Transcript page 27.) The court indicated that it was sentencing the petitioner not on the crime of taking the life of the victim "because the jury has made that decision." (Transcript at page 29.) The court found the remaining counts to be very serious offenses. The court noted that the violence in the petitioner's life seemed to be "increasing rather than decreasing." (Transcript at page 29.)
Pursuant to Connecticut Practice Book § 43-23 et seq. the Sentence Review Division is limited in the scope of its review. The Division is to determine whether the sentence imposed "should be modified because it is inappropriate or disproportionate in the light of the nature of the offense, the character of the offender, the protection of the public interest, and the deterrent, rehabilitative, isolative, and denunciatory purposes for which the sentence was intended." Practice Book § 43-28.
The Division is without authority to modify sentences except in accordance with the provisions of Connecticut Practice Book § 43-23 et seq. and Connecticut General Statutes § 51-194 et seq. Taking into consideration the petitioner's background and the nature of these offenses, the sentence imposed was appropriate and not disproportionate.
In reviewing the record as a whole, the Division finds that the sentencing Court's actions were in accordance with the parameters of Connecticut Practice Book § 43-23 et seq.
The sentence is AFFIRMED