Mims returns to court quickly with claim of illegal sentence

Three weeks after he was sentenced to 10 years in prison for kidnapping and assaulting the mother of his child in April 2016 in Ledyard, Christopher R. Mims was back in front of a New London Superior Court judge Thursday with a claim that the sentence is illegal.

Judge Hillary B. Strackbein, who had imposed the sentence, and the lawyers for the state and defense, who had negotiated the plea agreement Mims accepted rather than take his chances with a trial, were not impressed.

The 33-year-old Mims had pleaded guilty in May to first-degree kidnapping and risk of injury to a minor, accepting a deal worked out by Supervisory Assistant State's Attorney Lawrence J. Tytla and Mims' attorney, M. Fred DeCaprio from the public defender's office. Strackbein imposed the agreed-upon sentence of 10 years in prison followed by special parole on July 27.

Within days, Mims filed with the court a "Motion to Correct" an illegal sentence dated the same day as his sentencing hearing. He claimed the decade of special parole he will serve upon his release from prison constitutes "double jeopardy." While on special parole, he would be supervised in the community by the Department of Correction and would be subject to re-incarceration if he fails to comply with the conditions of his release.

The public defender reviewed the motion and filed a brief indicating there was no legal basis for Mims' claim and Mims would not be able to have a public defender. Mims said he would like a continuance so that he could look for a lawyer.

The prosecutor said getting someone to make the argument that special parole is illegal could be a challenge.

"Special parole was created by the legislature in 1998," Tytla said. "No attorney in practice in the State of Connecticut has seen fit to raise this claim, which suggests to me the claim has no merit and Mr. Mims would be hard-pressed to find an attorney to represent him."

"Basically what he (Tytla) is saying, is 'This is the law,'" the judge told Mims. "The law is the law. You agreed to the sentence."

Strackbein denied Mims' motion "based on the legality of special parole," but told Mims he could hire an attorney and file it again.

k.florin@theday.com

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