211860 v. Warden

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Superior Court of Connecticut.

Jeffrey Stenner # 211860 v. Warden

CV064001209

Decided: November 22, 2011

MEMORANDUM OF DECISION

In this habeas action, the petitioner, Jeffrey Stenner, claims that his trial attorney, Brian Woolf, was ineffective at his criminal trial and but for Woolf's deficient performance, he would not have been found guilty at trial.   The court finds the issues for the respondent warden.

On December 15, 2003, after a trial to a jury, the petitioner was found guilty of murder pursuant to General Statutes §§ 53a–54a and 53a–8 and was sentenced to 60 years in prison.   The conviction was affirmed by the Connecticut Supreme Court on March 27, 2007.  State v. Stenner, 281 Conn. 742, 917 A.2d 28 (2007).   The Supreme Court found the jury could reasonably have found the following facts:

In 1985, the defendant, a former banker, met and befriended Schmidt [the victim] in Canton at Zindies, a bar owned by the defendant.   Schmidt briefly worked for the defendant, but the defendant fired Schmidt after catching him using cocaine, and the two parted ways.   They became reacquainted in the spring of 1987 at the defendant's New Britain place of business, Banquer's restaurant.   Once again, the defendant hired Schmidt, first as a part-time doorman and bartender, and eventually as a full-time, all-purpose employee.   The defendant also hired Perfecto Valle as a cook, and, in 1987, the defendant, Schmidt and Valle orchestrated the robbery of an armored truck.   At that time, Schmidt was working as a guard for the armored truck company and was the operation's “inside man.”   The trio stole more than $1 million, some of which the men shared, but the bulk of which went to run the defendant's fledgling New Britain restaurant.

At the defendant's urging, Schmidt took out a $100,000 life insurance policy in September 1987.   By September 1988, however, the policy was on the verge of lapsing and, on the advice of his insurance agent, the defendant paid the premium on the policy and converted it into a “key man” policy.   At that time, Schmidt named the defendant as the beneficiary.   Around the same time, the defendant, disappointed by Schmidt's increasingly disheveled appearance and lax attitude, demoted Schmidt from his full-time job to a part time one.   Nevertheless, the duo planned and executed a second armored truck robbery that same year, and in the spring of 1989, they started a lawn care business together.   By December of that year, however, the relationship had soured further, after the defendant again became dissatisfied with Schmidt's work performance.   The defendant also refused Schmidt's requests to help with his rent and to borrow the defendant's truck from his landscaping business.

In addition, the defendant learned that Schmidt had discussed the first armored truck robbery with individuals not privy to that crime.   He also learned that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had interviewed employees of Banquer's restaurant, including Schmidt, in the course of its investigation of the armored truck robberies.   The defendant thought, incorrectly, that Schmidt had been serving as an informant for narcotics officers of the New Britain police department.   As a result, the defendant was, as he testified, concerned about Schmidt's “proclivity to talk too much ․” According to Valle, the defendant said that he would “take care of it.”   To do so, the defendant turned to Cancel, whom the defendant had met at a gym.   Cancel organized a group of men, including John Grzeszczyk, Gilberto Delgado and Salvatore Zampi, to plan Schmidt's murder.   Cancel initially told the group only that somebody had a problem with an individual, whom that person wanted “out of the way,” and that the team would be financially compensated.   Approximately two weeks before the murder of Schmidt, Cancel specifically stated that it was the defendant who wanted somebody killed and that the defendant would pay to have this done.   He later informed the men of the identity of Schmidt, whom Cancel did not, himself, know and toward whom he had no particular animosity.

On the evening of December 19, 1989, Cancel and Grzeszczyk met the defendant and Schmidt at Banquer's restaurant.   The defendant asked Schmidt to help Cancel and Grzeszczyk with an errand.   He agreed, and Cancel and Grzeszczyk then left the restaurant, informing Schmidt that they would return later to pick him up.   As promised, Grzeszczyk arrived at the restaurant later that night, accompanied this time by Delgado.   Grzeszczyk, Delgado and Schmidt then proceeded to Schmidt's car.   Grzeszczyk sat in the driver's seat, Schmidt sat in the front passenger seat, and Delgado sat behind Schmidt.   While on route to their fictitious destination, Delgado strangled Schmidt with a rope.

At the same time, Grzeszczyk repeatedly hit Schmidt in the head, in an apparent effort to push him back in the seat.   After killing him, Grzeszczyk and Delgado dumped Schmidt's body on the side of a snow bank near the Bethel Church in Southington.   Thereafter, they returned to New Britain, where they left Schmidt's car in the parking lot of Banquer's restaurant.   They then met with Cancel and Zampi, who destroyed the clothing of Grzeszczyk and Delgado, to discuss the murder.

Early the next morning, the pastor of Bethel Church discovered Schmidt's body.   The state medical examiner's office determined that Schmidt had died of asphyxiation from strangulation and that he had suffered a puncture wound to the forehead.   That same day, the defendant notified his insurance agent of Schmidt's death and confirmed that the key man policy on Schmidt was in force.   Approximately one or two weeks later, Cancel paid Grzeszczyk and Delgado each $1,000 with money he had received from the defendant.   Shortly thereafter, the defendant again contacted his insurance agent regarding Schmidt's $100,000 life insurance policy, stating that his restaurant was encountering financial troubles and intimating that he was anxious to collect the policy's proceeds.

The effort of the police to identify Schmidt led them to the defendant, who, on December 20, 1989, identified Schmidt's body and gave a statement regarding his interactions with Schmidt on the night of the murder.   Two days later, the police again interviewed the defendant, who provided a written statement.   The police and the FBI discussed the possibility of a connection between the armored truck robberies and the murder.   Although the police recovered thirteen latent fingerprints from Schmidt's automobile, at the time, the laboratory was unable positively to identify any of the prints, and the police were unable to solve the murder.

In 1995, the state forensics laboratory acquired an automated fingerprint identification system.   Subsequent to that acquisition, the Southington police department requested that the state forensics laboratory evaluate the latent fingerprints obtained in their investigation.   In 2001, that investigation matched the fingerprints recovered from Schmidt's car with those of Grzeszczyk.   After multiple interviews, Grzeszczyk confessed his role in Schmidt's murder and, implicated the defendant, Cancel, Zampi and Delgado, all of whom subsequently were charged in connection with Schmidt's murder.   See State v. Cancel, 275 Conn. 1, 5, 878 A.2d 1103 (2005).   Grzeszczyk and Delgado both testified against the defendant at his trial, which also included testimony from various law enforcement officials, forensic experts and other witnesses, including the defendant's former wife.   Additional facts and procedural history will be set forth as necessary.

State v. Stenner, supra, 281 Conn. 745–49 (footnotes omitted).

The petitioner filed this petition for a writ of habeas corpus on July 27, 2006.   In his petition, the petitioner claims that his trial attorney's conduct was deficient in that:  (1) he failed to hire an investigator and to conduct an effective investigation;  (2) he failed to introduce the testimony of certain witnesses who would have testified that others had a motive to murder the victim; 1  (3) he failed to object on sixth amendment grounds to the introduction of a hearsay statement of a co-conspirator;  and (4) he failed to effectively impeach the testimony of co-conspirators.2  The petitioner claims that but for his trial counsel's deficient performance, the jury would have found him not guilty.   By way of relief, the petitioner seeks a new trial.   This court heard evidence on October 5 and 6, 2011.   The parties filed pre-trial and post-trial briefs.

I.

It is well-established that in order to establish a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel, the petitioner has the burden to show that “(1) counsel's representation fell below an objective standard of reasonableness, and (2) counsel's deficient performance prejudiced the defense because there was a reasonable probability that the outcome of the proceedings would have been different had it not been for the deficient performance.”  (Emphasis in original.)  Johnson v. Commissioner of Correction, 285 Conn. 556, 575, 941 A.2d 248 (2008).  “To satisfy the ‘performance prong,’ a claimant must demonstrate that ‘counsel made errors so serious that counsel was not functioning as the ‘counsel’ guaranteed ․ by Sixth Amendment.'   “ Ledbetter v. Commissioner of Correction, 275 Conn. 451, 458, 880 A.2d 160 (2005), cert. denied sub nom.  Ledbetter v. Lantz, 546 U.S. 1187, 126 S.Ct. 1368, 164 L.Ed.2d 77 (2006), quoting Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668, 667, 104 S.Ct. 2052, 80 L.Ed.2d 674 (1984).   Under the second prong of the test, prejudice, the petitioner must show that counsel's errors were so serious as to deprive the defendant of a fair trial, a trial whose result is unreliable.  Strickland v. Washington, supra, 466 U.S. 687;  Ebron v. Commissioner of Correction, 120 Conn.App. 560, 992 A.2d 1200, 2010, cert. granted, 297 Conn. 912, 995 A.2d 954 (2010).   Ultimately, the “benchmark for judging any claim of ineffectiveness must be whether counsel's conduct so undermined the proper functioning of the adversarial process that the trial cannot be relied on as having produced a just result.”  Strickland v. Washington, supra, 466 U.S. 686.

When assessing trial counsel's performance, the habeas court is required to “indulge a strong presumption that counsel's conduct falls within the wide range of reasonable professional assistance ․” Strickland v. Washington, supra, 466 U.S. 689–90.   The United States Supreme Court explained:

A fair assessment of attorney performance requires that every effort be made to eliminate the distorting effects of hindsight, to reconstruct the circumstances of counsel's challenged conduct, and to evaluate the conduct from counsel's perspective at the time.   Because of the difficulties inherent in making the evaluation, a court must indulge a strong presumption that counsel's conduct falls within the wide range of reasonable professional assistance;  that is, the defendant must overcome the presumption that, under the circumstances, the challenged action “might be considered sound trial strategy.”  ․ There are countless ways to provide effective assistance in any given case.   Even the best criminal defense attorneys would not defend a particular client in the same way.

Id. (Internal citations omitted.)

The court has reviewed the petitioner's claims in accordance with the Strickland test, and, for the following reasons, concludes that the petitioner has failed to meet his burden on either prong of the test on any of his claims.

II.

The petitioner's first claim is that Woolf failed to hire a second investigator and failed to conduct an effective investigation.   The court finds the following facts relevant to this claim.   Woolf was retained to represent the petitioner, shortly after he was arrested.   The petitioner had a good working relationship with Woolf throughout the course of the pre-trial and trial proceedings in this case.   In addition to meeting with the petitioner at the courthouse, Woolf met with him at the jail to discuss the case six or seven times prior to the trial.   The petitioner was very involved in the case and his defense and Woolf discussed all aspects of the case with him.

Through discovery, Woolf obtained the state's entire file in this matter, which included the autopsy report, witness statements, the police report and other information.   Woolf also hired an investigator to conduct an investigation into the backgrounds of the state's witnesses, some of whom were co-defendants of the petitioner.   Trial counsel investigated all viable leads or leads that were brought to his attention and believed he had all relevant information either from the state or the petitioner.   Woolf did not believe this case necessitated any additional investigation.

An attorney representing a criminal defendant has “a duty to make reasonable investigations or to make a reasonable decision that makes particular investigations unnecessary.   In any ineffectiveness case, a particular decision not to investigate must be directly assessed for reasonableness in all the circumstances, applying a heavy measure of deference to counsel's judgments.”   Strickland, supra, 466 U.S. 691.  “The reasonableness of counsel's actions may be determined or substantially influenced by the defendant's own statements or actions.   Counsel's actions are usually based, quite properly, on informed strategic choices made by the defendant and on information supplied by the defendant.   In particular, what investigation decisions are reasonable depends critically on such information.   For example, when the facts that support a certain potential line of defense are generally known to counsel because of what the defendant has said, the need for further investigation may be considerably diminished or eliminated altogether.   And when a defendant has given counsel reason to believe that pursuing certain investigations would be fruitless or even harmful, counsel's failure to pursue those investigations may not later be challenged as unreasonable.   In short, inquiry into counsel's conversations with the defendant may be critical to a proper assessment of counsel's investigation decisions, just as it may be critical to a proper assessment of counsel's other litigation decisions.”  Strickland, supra, 466 U.S. 691.

The court finds that Woolf hired an investigator and conducted a thorough and comprehensive investigation in this case.   Woolf conducted an investigation that was reasonable under the circumstances of this particular case, where he obtained information from the state or from the petitioner himself.   In addition, the petitioner has failed to show what specific information, that was not already known to trial counsel, would have been discovered had additional investigation been conducted or how such evidence would have lead to a different result in this case.   Accordingly, court finds the petitioner has failed to meet his burden on his claim of insufficient investigation.

III.

The petitioner next claims that trial counsel failed to present the testimony of five witnesses that would have proven that other unidentified persons had a motive to kill the victim and that had that evidence been provided to the jury, petitioner would have been found not guilty by the jury.   In particular, petitioner claims that trial counsel should have called himself, his sister, Robin Stenner, and others that worked at petitioner's establishments, Kathy LaBella, Richard Corlette and Leo Valentine.3  These witnesses, he claims, would have testified that (1) the victim used drugs;  (2) the victim claimed to be a police informant;  (3) the victim was known to have a gun;  (3) that the victim has altercations with unnamed unknown individuals;  and (4) prior to his death, the victim had a disheveled appearance.   The petitioner claims that the testimony of these witnesses would have established that some other unspecified person had a motive to murder the victim.

“The failure of defense counsel to call a potential defense witness does not constitute ineffective assistance unless there is some showing that the testimony would have been helpful in establishing the asserted defense.   Defense counsel will be deemed ineffective only when it is shown that a defendant has informed his attorney of the existence of the witness and that the attorney, without a reasonable investigation and without adequate explanation, failed to call the witness at trial.   The reasonableness of an investigation must be evaluated not through hindsight but from the perspective of the attorney when he was conducting it.”  State v. Talton, 197 Conn. 280, 297–98, 497 A.2d 35 (1985).”  Vines v. Commissioner of Correction, 94 Conn.App. 288, 296, 892 A.2d 312 (2006), cert. denied, 278 Conn. 922, 901 A.2d 1222 (2006).  “[T]here is a strong presumption that the trial strategy employed by a criminal defendant's counsel is reasonable and is a result of the exercise of professional judgment ․” (Citation omitted.)  Iovieno v. Commissioner of Correction, 67 Conn.App. 126, 128, 786 A.2d 1113 (2001), cert. denied, 259 Conn. 916, 792 A.2d 851 (2002).  Vines v. Commissioner of Correction, supra, 94 Conn.App. 297.

The court finds the following facts related to this claim.   The state had a strong case against the petitioner based on his own statements and the testimony of his co-defendants.   The state also presented evidence that the petitioner had a strong motive to have the petitioner killed, because the petitioner believed that the victim had been discussing prior armed robberies that the two had committed, thereby subjecting them to possible arrest for those crimes.   In addition, the petitioner had taken out a $100,000 insurance policy on the victim and made himself the beneficiary.

The petitioner called five witnesses at trial.   Certain of those witnesses provided evidence of an alibi, testifying that the petitioner was with friends playing poker when the victim was killed.   The petitioner attempted to solicit testimony from Labella that the victim claimed to be a police informant but that testimony was disallowed at trial.   However, the jury had before it other evidence that the victim claimed to have served as a police informant.   State v. Stenner, supra, 281 Conn. 747 (“defendant thought, incorrectly, that [the victim] had been serving as an informant for narcotics officers of the New Britain police department”).

As to the witnesses that the petitioner claims should have been presented at trial, they were either unknown to Woolf or he did not believe that had any helpful information to impart to the jury.   As to Robin Stenner, the victim's sister, she would have testified that several years before the murder, she saw the victim with a gun and saw him enter a house and come out with drugs.   At the time of the trial, Robin Stenner lived out of state.   Woolf recalls discussing her testimony with the petitioner and concluding that she did not possess any helpful information to provide at the time.   The court finds that Woolf did not act unreasonably by not calling Robin Stenner as a witnesses at trial because neither he nor the petitioner were aware at the time of trial that she possessed any relevant information to assist the defense.   Even if Woolf had known about Robin Stenner's experience with the victim, it is unlikely that an event that occurred several years prior to the murder, involving unidentified individuals, would have altered the outcome of the trial had it been admissible.

As to Labella, she did testify at the criminal trial.   Woolf attempted to present her testimony that the victim claimed to be a police informant, but the trial court disallowed it.   In addition, since evidence of the informant issue was before the jury, such evidence would have been cumulative.  State v. Stenner, supra, 281 Conn. 747 (“defendant thought, incorrectly, that [the victim] had been serving as an informant for narcotics officers of the New Britain police department”).

As to the petitioner himself, he testified at the criminal trial, and therefore, had the opportunity to present any evidence he believed was relevant to any issue, including motive.   As to testimony that the victim was disheveled prior to his death, such testimony would have been cumulative as there was testimony produced at trial to establish this fact.  State v. Stenner, supra, 281 Conn. 746 (“the defendant, disappointed by [the victim's] disheveled appearance and lax attitude, demoted [the victim] from his full-time job to a part-time”).

With respect to Valentine and Corlette, the petitioner's employees, Woolf was not aware of them or that they had any information that would be useful to the defense.   Valentine would have testified that he saw the victim get into a verbal argument with two unidentified men at a bar one night several months before the victim was murdered, but had no idea what the argument was about.   He had also seen the victim with a gun.   Corlette served as a bouncer with the victim at one of the petitioner's establishments.   One evening, over two years before the victim was killed, Corlette and the victim threw two unknown, unnamed individuals out of the bar.   Those individuals threatened to return to the establishment.   Later that evening, there were gun shots in the parking lot of the bar.   Corlette did not see the shooters and did not know if they were the same individuals that he and the victim had thrown out of the bar.

The court finds it was not unreasonable for Woolf not to present the testimony of Corlette or Valentine, since he was not aware that they had any useful information and their proposed testimony was wholly speculative.   Even if Woolf had been aware of their testimony and presented it at trial, the court finds that the petitioner has failed to establish that such evidence, had it been presented, would have changed the result.   Such testimony, regarding altercations with unknown unnamed individuals, for the purpose of establishing that others had a motive to kill the victim, is wholly speculative.   Trial counsel was under no obligation to attempt to present such testimony even if he had been aware of it.  “ ‘The burden to demonstrate what benefit additional investigation would have revealed is on the petitioner.  United States v. Green, 882 F.2d 999, 1003 (5th Cir.1989) ․’ (Citation omitted.)  Holley v. Commissioner of Correction, 62 Conn.App. 170, 175, 774 A.2d 148 (2001);  see also Johnson v. Commissioner of Correction, 285 Conn. 556, 584, 941 A.2d 248 (2008) (petitioner failed to present evidence to take claim from realm of speculation to demonstrable reality).”  Gonzalez v. Commissioner of Correction, 127 Conn.App. 454, 459, 14 A.3d 1053, cert. denied, 302 Conn. 933 (2011).

Thus, as to the five potential witnesses the court finds that the petitioner has failed to meet his burden of proving that trial counsel's conduct was deficient or that he was prejudiced.

IV.

Petitioner next claims that trial counsel's performance was deficient in that he failed to object on sixth amendment confrontation grounds to the testimony of two co-defendants regarding the hearsay statements of a non-testifying co-conspirator.

The trial in this case took place in December 2003.   Prior to the start of evidence, trial counsel filed a motion in limine in which he sought to exclude the testimony of a nonappearing co-conspirator, Scott Cancel on hearsay grounds.  State v. Stenner, supra, 281 Conn. 745.   He renewed that objection at trial.  Id. However, the trial court admitted the evidence of Cancel's statement through the testimony of another co-defendant, John Grzeszczyk, over trial counsel's objection.

On appeal from his conviction, the petitioner claimed as error the admission of Cancel's statements on the ground that the admission of the hearsay statements violated his right of confrontation under the sixth amendment.   Id. 755.   The Supreme Court refused to hear the claim because it was not preserved at trial and, on appeal, petitioner failed to brief the issue that the unpreserved constitutional claim should be considered under State v. Golding, 213 Conn. 233, 239–40, 567 A.2d 823 (1989).

In this habeas case, petitioner claims that trial counsel's performance was deficient in failing to object to the introduction of Cancel's statements on the ground that the admission of those statements violated his sixth amendment right to confront his accusers.   To support this proposition, petitioner cites the United State's Supreme Court case of Crawford v. Washingon, 541 U.S. 36, 68, 124 S.Ct. 1354, 158 L.Ed.2d 177 (2004), and State v. Slater, 285 Conn. 162, 169–70, 939 A.2d 1105, cert. denied, 553 U.S. 1085, 128 S.Ct. 2885, 171 L.Ed.2d 822 (2008).  Crawford v. Washington, supra, was decided in March 2004 after the petitioner's trial had concluded.   In Crawford, the Supreme Court adopted a new standard for determining confrontation clause claims and overruled Ohio v. Roberts, 448 U.S. 56, 66, 100 S.Ct. 2531, 65 L.Ed.2d 597 (1980), to the extent it applied to “testimonial” hearsay statements.

“[C]ounsel's failure to advance novel legal theories or argument does not constitute ineffective performance.”  Ledbetter v. Commissioner of Correction, supra, 275 Conn. 460.   Here, trial counsel could not be expected to anticipate that the United State's Supreme Court would alter the law on the sixth amendment confrontation clause.   Counsel properly objected to the admission of Cancel's hearsay statements based on the law as it existed at the time with respect to the statements of co-conspirators.4  State v. Couture, 218 Conn. 309, 323–24, 589 A.2d 343 (1991) (“[I]t is well established that a co-conspirator's [hearsay] statement, made while the conspiracy is ongoing and in furtherance of the conspiracy, is an exception to the hearsay rule and as such, does not violate the confrontation clause”).   See also State v. Jones, 60 Conn.App. 866, 878, 761 A.2d 789 (2000), cert. denied, 255 Conn. 942, 769 A.2d 59 (2001);  State v. Robertson, 254 Conn. 739, 745, 760 A.2d 82 (2000);  State v. Booth, 250 Conn. 611, 634, 737 A.2d 404 (1999), cert. denied sub nom.  Brown v. Connecticut, 529 U.S. 1060, 120 S.Ct. 1568, 146 L.Ed.2d 471 (2000);  State v. Headley, 26 Conn.App. 94, 100, 598 A.2d 655, cert. denied, 220 Conn. 933, 599 A.2d 384 (1991).   These cases, citing to State v. Couture regarding the admission of co-conspirator's hearsay statements, were established and controlling precedent at the time of the petitioner's criminal trial in December of 2003 until the United States Supreme Court decided Crawford v. Washington in March of 2004.

Accordingly, the court finds that the petitioner has failed to prove this claim.5

V.

For the forgoing reasons, the petition for writ of habeas corpus is denied.   Petitioner has thirty (30) days to submit a judgment file.

Cobb, J.

FOOTNOTES

FN1. In the amended petition, the petitioner asserts as two separate claims, that trial counsel failed to call witnesses and failed to present evidence that others had a motive to commit the crime.   Based on the way this case was presented at trial and petitioner's briefs in this case, it is clear that these claims are actually one claim—that is that defense counsel failed to present certain witnesses who would have testified that others had a motive to murder the victim.   Thus, in this opinion, the court treats these as a single claim..  FN1. In the amended petition, the petitioner asserts as two separate claims, that trial counsel failed to call witnesses and failed to present evidence that others had a motive to commit the crime.   Based on the way this case was presented at trial and petitioner's briefs in this case, it is clear that these claims are actually one claim—that is that defense counsel failed to present certain witnesses who would have testified that others had a motive to murder the victim.   Thus, in this opinion, the court treats these as a single claim.

FN2. The amended petition included two other claims labeled “II. Violation of Right to Fair Trial” alleging that:  (1) the state failed to disclose impeachment evidence by failing to disclose that co-defendants' cases were being resolved favorably in exchange for testimony against the petitioner;  and (2) post-conviction statements by co-conspirators corroborate the petitioner's claim that the decedent was killed by drug dealers and not the petitioner.   These claims were withdrawn by petitioner's counsel at the conclusion of the habeas trial..  FN2. The amended petition included two other claims labeled “II. Violation of Right to Fair Trial” alleging that:  (1) the state failed to disclose impeachment evidence by failing to disclose that co-defendants' cases were being resolved favorably in exchange for testimony against the petitioner;  and (2) post-conviction statements by co-conspirators corroborate the petitioner's claim that the decedent was killed by drug dealers and not the petitioner.   These claims were withdrawn by petitioner's counsel at the conclusion of the habeas trial.

FN3. In the amended petition, the petitioner asserts that the following other people should have been called as witnesses at trial:  Keith Schmidt, Steven Schmidt, Salvatore Zampi, Scott Cancel and Christine Mazzarella.   Because the petitioner has presented no evidence concerning these potential witnesses, the court finds that petitioner has abandoned these claims..  FN3. In the amended petition, the petitioner asserts that the following other people should have been called as witnesses at trial:  Keith Schmidt, Steven Schmidt, Salvatore Zampi, Scott Cancel and Christine Mazzarella.   Because the petitioner has presented no evidence concerning these potential witnesses, the court finds that petitioner has abandoned these claims.

FN4. The court points out that appellate counsel raised the unpreserved sixth amendment confrontation clause on appeal, but failed to brief the issue as to his entitlement to review under State v. Golding, 213 Conn. 233, 567 A.2d 823 (1989)..  FN4. The court points out that appellate counsel raised the unpreserved sixth amendment confrontation clause on appeal, but failed to brief the issue as to his entitlement to review under State v. Golding, 213 Conn. 233, 567 A.2d 823 (1989).

FN5. The petitioner also claims that trial counsel failed to “effectively impeach alleged co-conspirators.”   However, the petitioner did not present sufficient proof of this claim at trial and did not brief the issue in his pre- or post-trial briefs.   The claim is thus abandoned and/or unproven..  FN5. The petitioner also claims that trial counsel failed to “effectively impeach alleged co-conspirators.”   However, the petitioner did not present sufficient proof of this claim at trial and did not brief the issue in his pre- or post-trial briefs.   The claim is thus abandoned and/or unproven.

Cobb, Susan Quinn, J.