Sentence Review Division


Sentence Review; Appellate Jurisdiction; Whether Rulings of Sentence Review Division can be Reviewed by way of Writ of Error; Whether Sentence Review Division was Required to Modify Sentence; Whether Sentence Review Division Failed to Prescribe Adequate Procedures to Protect Defendant's Liberty Interest. After being sentenced in connection with his convictions for sexual assault in the fourth degree and risk of injury to a minor, the defendant applied for sentence review. At his hearing before the sentence review division of the Superior Court (division), the defendant asserted that his sentence was disproportionate to sentences of other, similarly situated offenders. He claimed that the trial court sentenced him as if he had been convicted of sexual assault in the first degree. In affirming the defendant's sentence, the division indicated that pursuant to Practice Book 43-23 et seq., the scope of its review was limited to determining whether the sentence imposed was "inappropriate or disproportionate in 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." It then determined that the sentencing court evaluated the facts and testimony before handing down the defendant's sentence and that the sentence was neither inappropriate nor disproportionate. The defendant then filed this writ of error, requesting that the Supreme Court conclude that the division improperly failed to reduce his sentence and improperly failed to prescribe procedural rules to protect his liberty interest in being free from disproportionate confinement. The state, in turn, argues that the Supreme Court must dismiss this writ of error because General Statutes 51-196, which provides, in part, that "[t]he decision of the review division in each case shall be final" precludes appellate review of the division's ruling.