STATE v. ROBERT PENTLAND, III, SC 18178

Judicial District of Stamford

 

Criminal; Sex Offender Registration; Whether Defendant was Required to Register as a Sex Offender Notwithstanding that Trial Court Failed to Inform him that he was Subject to the Registration Requirements Prior to Accepting his Alford Plea. In January of 2005, the defendant pleaded guilty under the Alford doctrine to, among other things, unlawful restraint in the second degree, and he received a suspended sentence of incarceration with a period of probation. At the conclusion of the January, 2005 proceeding, the defendant's attorney stated that it was his understanding that the defendant would not be required to register as a sex offender, and, in response, the trial court expressed its agreement with that statement. Thereafter, the defendant was charged with violating his probation, and at a proceeding regarding that charge, the court opined that its previous conclusion concerning the defendant's obligation to register as a sex offender had been mistaken. It explained that the defendant was, in fact, required to register in light of the fact that his conviction involved a minor victim, and, accordingly, it ordered him to do so. The defendant subsequently moved to vacate the registration order on the ground that prior to accepting his Alford plea, the court failed to inform him that he would be subject to the registration requirements in violation of the mandatory language contained in General Statutes 54-251 (a), which provides in part that "[p]rior to accepting a plea of guilty or nolo contendere from a person with respect to a criminal offense against a victim who is a minor . . . the court shall (1) inform the person that the entry of a finding of guilty after acceptance of the plea will subject the person to the registration requirements of this section, and (2) determine that the person fully understands the consequences of the plea." The court denied the motion, and it ultimately permitted the defendant, who had entered an admission to the violation of probation charge, to continue serving his sentence of probation. In this appeal, the Supreme Court will determine whether the trial court properly ordered the defendant to register as a sex offender.