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Untitled---2023-09-27T123423.765.jpgCivil asset forfeiture is a practice that is commonly used by law enforcement to confiscate the property of criminal suspects. Police officers and other law enforcement officials at the local, state, and federal levels may seize money, vehicles, or other assets that they believe are connected to criminal activity. This can put people in a difficult position as they attempt to recover their property. In some cases, people who are never charged with crimes or who have not engaged in any criminal activity must wait months or years before their cases can be resolved.

As criminal justice advocates continue to work to address the issue of asset forfeiture, they are seeking to ensure that people’s rights to due process are protected in these cases. The United States Supreme Court is currently considering a case involving civil asset forfeiture, and its decision may determine what rights apply to people in these situations. Regardless of the outcome of this case, those who are looking to recover money or property that has been confiscated by law enforcement can work with an experienced attorney to determine the best ways to recover their assets and protect their rights.

Culley v. Attorney General of Alabama and Due Process Rights

According to the Institute for Justice, billions of dollars in assets are confiscated by law enforcement officials every year throughout the United States. In 2018, around $3 billion was seized by officials in 42 states and the District of Columbia, as well as officials working for the federal Department of Justice and the Department of the Treasury. 


New Laws May Affect Criminal Cases Involving Sex Trafficking

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Untitled---2023-09-19T110124.451.jpgHuman trafficking is an issue that has gained a great deal of attention in recent years. Concerns about the abduction, transportation, and harboring of children, women, or others in order to compel them to participate in the commercial sex trade have led lawmakers to pass new laws addressing sex crimes and crimes against children. A recent change to the laws in California is one example of this trend, and people throughout the United States may face serious penalties if they are accused of engaging in any form of sex trafficking. To ensure that these accusations can be addressed correctly, people in Connecticut can secure representation from an attorney who has experience defending clients against these types of charges.

California’s Changes to Laws Regarding Sex Trafficking

Lawmakers in California have taken steps to address concerns about sex trafficking in response to statistics showing that the state ranks highest in the number of reported human trafficking cases. According to the state’s legislators, buying and selling of people is the fastest-growing criminal industry in the world, and California serves as a large hub for this type of activity. In response to this issue, the state legislature passed a new law that will impose harsher penalties for people convicted of child sex trafficking.

Following this change to California law, human trafficking of a minor is considered a “serious felony.” This means that these offenses will fall under the umbrella of California’s “three strikes” law, which imposes a life sentence after a person is convicted of a serious felony for the third time. In addition, the state’s laws limit plea bargaining in these cases, and mandatory minimum sentences will typically apply for those who are convicted of sex trafficking or other offenses that are considered violent sex crimes.


Connecticut Implements New Jury Selection System

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Untitled---2023-09-12T103124.752.jpgOne of the key principles of the criminal justice system in the United States is the right of a defendant to be tried by a jury of their peers. That is, the decisions about a person’s guilt or innocence should be made by a group of people who represent the demographics of the community where a defendant resides. However, in recent years, some questions have been raised about whether juries in Connecticut criminal cases truly represent a cross-section of the community. In response to these concerns, laws have been passed that have put new rules in place that will affect juror summons in the state. For defendants who are facing criminal charges, an attorney can provide guidance on how these rules may affect them, and they can work with the defendant to develop a successful defense strategy.

State v. Holmes and the Jury Selection Task Force

Changes to Connecticut’s jury selection process were instigated following a ruling by the Connecticut Supreme Court in 2019. In the case of State v. Holmes, the defendant had appealed a conviction on charges of murder, home invasion, and criminal possession of a firearm based on the claim that the prosecutor had improperly excused a juror based on their race. The defendant was African-American, and he claimed that the juror in question was excused because he was also Black. The prosecutor challenged these claims, stating that the juror was excused because he had stated that he had a distrust of law enforcement.

When reviewing the case, the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled that the prosecutor’s excusal of the juror was acceptable. Even though the juror stated that his reasons for distrust of law enforcement were based on his life experiences as an African-American, the court ruled that these opinions were race-neutral and a valid reason for excluding a juror. 


Supreme Court Decision May Affect Stalking Charges

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Untitled---2023-09-08T143109.455.jpgThe U.S. Supreme Court regularly reviews high-profile cases, providing interpretations of various laws and issuing decisions that may affect criminal cases and other legal matters. In some cases, the Supreme Court’s rulings may lead to reinterpretations of state statutes, and this may affect the types of charges people may face and the penalties that may be imposed upon conviction. In one recent case, the Supreme Court issued a ruling that may affect charges related to stalking. Those who have been accused of this offense can work with an attorney to determine how changes in the laws may play a role in their defense.

Counterman v. Colorado Addresses Threatening Messages

In the case of Counterman v. Colorado, the Supreme Court reviewed the conviction of a man who was accused of stalking a local musician. Over six years, he sent her thousands of messages through social media, including some messages that appeared to be threatening, such as stating that he wanted her to die. After learning that the man had previously been arrested for making threats of violence against women, the musician contacted the police, and the man was arrested and eventually convicted of stalking.

The defendant appealed the conviction, and the case eventually made its way to the Supreme Court. Upon review, the court overturned the conviction, and in its ruling, it created a new standard for determining whether messages sent by alleged stalkers may constitute criminal violations or whether they may be protected as free speech under the First Amendment. Under this standard, messages may only be considered stalking if a person understood that there was a likelihood that their words or actions could be considered threatening, and they consciously disregarded that risk.


Untitled---2023-08-29T091740.667.jpgOver the past few years, the United States Supreme Court has issued a number of controversial decisions. Its rulings on issues such as abortion, affirmative action, and student loan forgiveness have been discussed and debated by many. However, the court has made some other significant rulings that have received less attention, including in one case that addressed whether people who have been convicted of federal crimes can seek relief and demonstrate their innocence. This ruling is likely to affect many criminal cases, and federal prisoners may need to work with an attorney to determine how they may be able to proceed as they fight against wrongful convictions or unjust sentences.

Jones v. Hendrix and Habeas Corpus Petitions

In the case of Jones v. Hendrix, the Supreme Court reviewed a case in which a man had been sentenced to 27 years in prison for violating federal laws prohibiting convicted felons from possessing firearms. In 2019, the Supreme Court ruled that in these cases, prosecutors must prove that a defendant knew that they were illegally in possession of a firearm. Since prosecutors had not established that fact in this case, the defendant should have been able to challenge his conviction.

When a person wishes to challenge a conviction by showing that they were innocent of the crimes for which they were convicted, they will typically do so by filing a petition for a writ of habeas corpus. However, the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA), which was passed by Congress in 1996, places restrictions on prisoners’ ability to petition for habeas corpus a second or subsequent time. The defendant in Jones v. Hendrix had previously sought a writ of habeas corpus and been denied, so even though he could show that he was legally considered to be innocent based on the current laws, he was unable to seek relief.

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