State v. Ocasio

In State v. Ocasio, 50 Conn. App. 748, 718 A.2d 1018 (1998), rev'd, 253 Conn. 375, 751 A.2d 825 (2000), the Court determined that literal compliance with Practice Book 39-20 is necessary. In Ocasio, the trial court asked the defendant during his plea canvass whether the plea was voluntary, to which the defendant answered, "Yes." 50 Conn. App. at 750. Thereafter, the court accepted the defendant's plea as voluntary. Subsequently, the defendant filed a motion to withdraw his plea, claiming the trial court had failed to ensure that the plea was voluntary. Id. at 750-51. After the trial court denied that motion, the defendant appealed, claiming that to comply with Practice Book 39-20, a trial court must inquire not only as to the voluntariness of the plea, but also as to whether the plea was the result of threats, force or promises apart from the plea agreement. Id. at 751. The Court agreed, concluding that to comply with the mandate of 39-20, a trial court's plea canvass must ensure that the plea is not the result of force or threats or promises. Id. at 756. The Connecticut Supreme Court, however, reversed our decision in State v. Ocasio, 253 Conn. 375, 380, 751 A.2d 825 (2000), concluding that "only substantial, rather than literal, compliance with 39-20 is required in order to validate a defendant's plea of guilty."