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Helmedach v. Commissioner of Correction
Connecticut Appellate Court
148 A.3d 1105 (2016)
Attorney Richard Reeve defended Jennifer Helmedach (defendant) against serious criminal charges. During trial, the prosecution (plaintiff) made a favorable plea offer entailing 10 years in prison just before Helmedach testified in her own defense. Reeve did not tell Helmedach about the offer because she was “young and flustered” and he was concerned the offer would negatively affect her testimony. Helmedach testified for over two days without knowing about the offer. Reeve was working closely with Helmedach and in constant contact with her at the time yet did not mention the plea offer. The prosecution withdrew the offer, and Helmedach was convicted and sentenced to a much longer term. Helmedach petitioned for habeas corpus on grounds of ineffective assistance of counsel. The court found that Helmedach would have accepted the offer had she known about it and would have received only 10 years in prison. Therefore, the court concluded that Helmedach was denied her constitutional right to assistance of counsel and granted her habeas petition. The government appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Prescott, J.)
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