STATE v. SIDNEY WADE, SC 18510
Judicial District of New Britain
Criminal; Remand Orders; Resentencing; Whether Trial Court Lacked Authority to Resentence Defendant for Convictions not Specifically Referenced in Remand Order; Whether Increasing Sentences for Convictions Affirmed on Appeal Constitutes Judicial Vindictiveness. The defendant was convicted of four drug offenses, and one count of first degree manslaughter. He was sentenced to concurrent seven year terms of incarceration on each of the four drug convictions. This sentence was ordered to run consecutive to the eighteen year sentence imposed for the first degree manslaughter conviction, for a total effective sentence of twenty-five years imprisonment. On appeal, the Appellate Court affirmed the defendant's drug convictions, but reversed his first degree manslaughter conviction for insufficiency of evidence. The court remanded the matter to the trial court "with direction to modify the judgment to reflect a conviction of manslaughter in the second degree . . . and to resentence the defendant in accordance with that conviction." At the remand proceeding, the state argued that, under the "aggregate package" theory of sentencing adopted in State v. Raucci, 21 Conn. App. 557 (1990), the trial court had the authority to restructure the individual counts within the sentencing package to effectuate its original sentencing intent as long as the revised total effective sentence did not exceed the original total effective sentence. Therefore, the state requested that the court, consistent with its original sentencing intent, reimpose a total effective sentence of twenty-five years incarceration. While acknowledging that the court was bound by its original sentencing intent, defense counsel nevertheless argued that, because the Appellate Court's remand order limited the trial court to resentencing the defendant only as to the second degree manslaughter conviction, the court lacked authority to resentence the defendant on the drug convictions. The trial court rejected defense counsel's argument, noting that the remand order did not expressly prohibit the court from resentencing the defendant on the drug charges. Thereafter, applying Raucci, the court vacated the defendant's sentences on all the counts. It then increased the defendant's concurrent terms of imprisonment for the drug convictions from seven years to thirteen years. The court ordered that those sentences run consecutive to a ten year sentence imposed for the second degree manslaughter conviction, for a total effective sentence of twenty-three years imprisonment. On appeal, the defendant claims, inter alia, that (a) the trial court had no authority to resentence him on the drug convictions because the Appellate Court's mandate was limited to resentencing him solely on the second degree manslaughter conviction, (b) the "aggregate package" approach to sentencing is not applicable where a conviction is reversed on appeal for insufficiency of evidence, and (c) the imposition of a higher sentence for the drug convictions by the trial court on remand after the defendant successfully appealed his first degree manslaughter conviction was vindictive and, therefore, violative of his due process rights under North Carolina v. Pearce, 395 U.S. 711 (1969).