Connecticut Criminal Law & Injury Blog

Connecticut criminal defense lawyer for immigrationFor years, illegal and undocumented immigration has been a point of contention in American politics. Many people have argued over the rights that undocumented immigrants should or should not have. In 2013, Connecticut passed what is known as the Trust Act, which elaborated on how and when local law enforcement officials can assist federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents when they request help completing deportations. Recently, Connecticut passed two new bills, each amending the Trust Act to provide further protections to undocumented immigrants. For immigrants who are facing criminal charges, it is important to understand how these changes to the law will affect their rights.

Exceptions for Civil Detainers at Forefront of Debate

A civil detainer is an order from immigration officials requesting local law enforcement to comply with ICE to detain an immigrant. Civil detainers are orders that have not been reviewed by a U.S. District Court judge or magistrate or a Connecticut Superior Court judge, meaning they carry no legal obligation for a law enforcement official to arrest someone. The Trust Act of 2013 prohibited law enforcement officials from arresting or detaining immigrants solely based on a civil detainer — with the exception of seven different situations. These situations included if the immigrant had been convicted of a felony, if they are subject to a final order of deportation, or if they present a risk to public safety.

Changes to the Act

The Trust Act of 2013 still prohibits local law enforcement from detaining immigrants on the basis of a civil detainer, but the exceptions to this rule are now narrowed down to three. For a law enforcement official to arrest or detain an undocumented immigrant, the immigrant must be on a federal terrorist watch list, be convicted of a major felony, or have a judicial order against them. In addition, the bills also limit law enforcement from disclosing an immigrant’s confidential information to ICE in certain situations, and law enforcement officials are required to inform immigrants when ICE has requested their detention.

A Connecticut Criminal Defense Attorney May Be the Key

While these bills would not require a judicial order for detention in all cases, they greatly increase the protections that are given to undocumented immigrants. Still, if an immigrant is convicted of a felony, they could face civil detention and deportation by ICE. At the Woolf Law Firm, LLC, we have extensive experience defending clients against all types of felony charges. If you are an undocumented immigrant facing criminal charges, do not delay — get in touch with our skilled Hartford, CT criminal defense lawyer today. Call our office at [[phone]] to schedule a free consultation.

Sources:

https://ctmirror.org/2019/05/30/trust-act-connecticut-restricts-cooperation-with-ice/

https://www.courant.com/politics/hc-pol-trust-act-update-undocumented-immigrant-protections-20190531-yof4ohdsqjerdj5mqilleybqg4-story.html

https://portal.ct.gov/Office-of-the-Governor/News/Press-Releases/2019/05-2019/Governor-Lamont-Applauds-Final-Passage-of-Legislation-Strengthening-the-Connecticut-Trust-Act

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Hartford sex crime defense attorney

In the wake of the viral “Me Too” movement that swept across social media in recent years, many state and local jurisdictions have taken a second look at their current sexual assault laws to determine whether changes should be made. Connecticut is the latest state to pass legislation concerning sexual misconduct laws. The Connecticut legislature recently voted to pass a bill that would make a number of changes to state law, including extending the statute of limitations for prosecuting sexual assault charges.

Disagreement Among House Members

Though the bill passed unanimously in the Senate, the vote in the House was not as one-sided. The bill passed by a vote of 121-23, with those 23 naysayers expressing worries about the changes to the law. One member suggested that a person’s memories are not always accurate as time goes on, and a longer statute of limitations could mean that a person may be accused of sex crimes based on untrustworthy testimony. Another member was concerned with the bill’s possible interference with the constitutional right to a fair and speedy trial. Proponents of the bill have stated that lengthening the statute of limitations helps the victims but does not detract from the rights of the accused, because the burden of proof will remain the same.

Current Laws on Statute of Limitations

Under Connecticut’s current laws, the statute of limitations in cases concerning sexual misconduct vary depending on a couple of different factors. Class A felonies have no statute of limitations — they can be prosecuted at any time. These crimes include first degree sexual assault when force or the threat of force is used and the victim is under the age of 16, first degree sexual assault when the victim is under the age of 13 and the perpetrator is more than two years older than the victim, first degree aggravated sexual assault when a victim is under the age of 16, and aggravated sexual assault of a minor. Sexual assault or abuse cases that are not Class A felonies typically have a five-year statute of limitations, while misdemeanor cases typically have a one-year statute of limitations.

Proposed Changes to Statutes of Limitations

The new law would extend the statute of limitations for Class B, C, and D felony sexual assaults in which the victim is above the age of 21 from five years to 20 years. For victims between the ages of 18 and 20, the statute of limitations will be 30 years after the victim’s 21st birthday. For misdemeanor charges, the statute of limitations would increase from 1 year to 10 years.

A Connecticut Criminal Defense Attorney Can Answer Your Questions

Sexual assault can be one of the most serious crimes you can be charged with. You may face years in jail and extensive damage to your reputation and personal relationships if you are convicted of sexual assault, and accusations can come years after the alleged incident. If you are facing criminal charges related to alleged sexual misconduct, you need a Hartford, CT sexual assault defense lawyer who understands the laws and knows the best strategies for defense. At the Woolf Law Firm, LLC, we can provide you with over 20 years of trusted legal experience. Call our office today at 860-290-8690 to schedule a free consultation.

Sources:

https://www.cga.ct.gov/2017/rpt/pdf/2017-R-0071.pdf

https://ctmirror.org/2019/06/01/with-some-trepidation-house-passes-times-up/

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Hartford personal injury lawyer wrongful death

Losing a loved one is never easy. The grief process can be a difficult one, but it can be especially painful if your loved one died because of the negligence of another person. The sudden death of a family member can wreak havoc on the family’s emotions, and also their finances. Funerals are much more expensive than many people believe — the average cost of a funeral is around $10,000. Fortunately, the state of Connecticut provides ways for family members to recover compensation for the damages and costs associated with a wrongful death. The time right after the death of your loved one is critical — the sooner you act, the better.

Filing a Wrongful Death Claim

In the state of Connecticut, a wrongful death claim is defined as a claim “for injuries resulting in death.” The claim itself is similar to that of a personal injury lawsuit — you are claiming that someone else acted in a negligent manner, which caused the injuries which led to your loved one’s untimely death. Typically, a wrongful death claim must be submitted within two years of the date of death.

What Kind of Compensation Is Available in Wrongful Death Claims?

If you win your case, you may be entitled to certain types of compensation. The Connecticut wrongful death statute states that the following types of damages can be recovered:

• Lost earning capacity
• Conscious pain and suffering endured by the deceased prior to his or her death
• Loss of enjoyment of life activities
• Reasonable costs for medical, hospital, and nursing services related to the deceased’s illness or injury
• Reasonable funeral and burial expenses

Additionally, if you are pursuing a wrongful death claim on behalf of your spouse, you may be able to recover “loss of consortium” damages. Technically, loss of consortium damages are separate claims from any other wrongful death claim, but they will typically be filed together. Loss of consortium damages provide compensation for the loss of your spouse’s companionship, affection, and general company.

A Connecticut Wrongful Death Attorney Can Help You File Your Claim

If your loved one died because of the negligence of a person or company, you should take steps to determine your options for recovering compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit. However, determining how to address the legal issues involved in this type of case can be a complex matter, which is why you should entrust the task to a skilled Hartford, CT wrongful death lawyer. At the Woolf Law Firm, we understand that a sudden death in the family can cause a huge emotional and financial strain on all family members, and we are dedicated to helping you get through this difficult time. Call our office today at 860-290-8690 to schedule a free consultation.

Sources:

https://www.cga.ct.gov/current/pub/chap_925.htm#sec_52-555

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Hartford defense attorney criminal justice system

For years, advocates have claimed that the criminal justice system in the United States is unjust toward certain groups of people. According to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), one in three black men and one in six Latino men can expect to be incarcerated in their lifetimes, compared to only one in 17 white men. A majority of the country agrees that the U.S. criminal justice system needs to be reformed. One of the main ways of doing this is through the actions of prosecutors, who play a crucial role in the criminal justice process.

Bill Passes in Both CT House and Senate

A bill was recently passed in both the Connecticut Senate and House of Representatives that will require more transparency when it comes to Connecticut prosecutors in the criminal justice system. The bill, which was passed with a rare unanimous vote in both the House and Senate, will require the state to create a public website to publish information such as demographic information about defendants that prosecutors do and do not prosecute, in addition to information about prosecutors’ actions on charging, diversionary programs, plea deals, and sentencing.

The Significance of Prosecutors

Many people believe that prosecutors hold the key to criminal justice reform in the United States. Prosecutors are responsible for many different decisions that are made during the criminal justice process. They determine whether or not a charge is changed or dropped, whether or not a plea deal is offered to a defendant, whether or not bail is recommended, how a case is investigated, and whether or not defendants get the opportunity to participate in diversionary programs, such as drug court.

People often believe that criminal cases are decided by juries or judges, but the fact of the matter is that around 95 percent of criminal cases in the United States end in plea bargains. This means that it is not judges or juries who are deciding the fate of defendants — it is prosecutors. By encouraging prosecutorial transparency, the state of Connecticut is working to ensure that everyone is treated fairly in criminal cases.

Contact a Connecticut Criminal Defense Attorney Today

There are many rules and regulations that are followed in the criminal justice system, and they often do not work in the favor of those who are facing criminal charges. People of color, such as Latinos and black Americans, have been disproportionately affected by how prosecutors approach criminal cases. At the Woolf Law Firm, LLC, we believe that all defendants should be treated equally. If you have been charged with a crime, our persistent Hartford, CT criminal defense lawyer fight for your rights and help you reach a positive outcome to your case. Call our office today at 860-290-8690 to schedule a free consultation.

Sources:

https://ctmirror.org/2019/05/28/senate-passes-prosecutorial-transparency-bill/

https://www.cga.ct.gov/2019/ACT/pa/pdf/2019PA-00059-R00SB-00880-PA.pdf

https://www.aclu.org/sites/default/files/field_document/aclu_smart_justice_prosecutor_transparency_report.pdf

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