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East Hartford, CT criminal defense attorney

The effects of the coronavirus pandemic have been felt by nearly every single person living in the United States at one point since the start of it all back in March. Even if you never actually got the coronavirus yourself, you likely had to alter your usual routine in some way because of the pandemic. For a length of time, Connecticut’s judicial system was running on minimum operations with the majority of courthouses closed to the general public to adhere to the Governor’s statewide shutdown order. As the courthouses have begun to reopen and the judicial system has begun to increase its caseload, many people are wondering when and how criminal jury trials will proceed. In many jurisdictions, cases that do not involve juries, such as divorces and other civil cases, have been successfully settled using virtual means. Some have wondered if that is paving the way for the inevitable: virtual criminal jury trials.

Issues with Virtual Criminal Jury Trials

Many of a courthouse’s day-to-day operations are not conducive to a post-pandemic world -- at least not yet. Now that the majority of Connecticut’s courthouses are open for staff and visitors, one of the only things that officials are scrambling to figure out is what to do about criminal jury trials. The possibility of virtual criminal jury trials taking place in Connecticut is becoming increasingly larger with each passing day of the pandemic. It is clear that we have the technology and the capability of conducting virtual jury trials, but virtual jury trials come with issues and downfalls of their own, such as:

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East Hartford, CT criminal defense attorney false confession

For decades, American citizens have expressed various concerns about the nation’s police force over things such as the disproportionate use of violence against people of color and allegations of officers shooting unarmed suspects. According to the latest information from the Washington Post, there are approximately 5,624 people who have been shot and killed by on-duty police officers since 2015, on average about 1,000 each year. Because of that, we are now seeing many police stations across the country implementing new de-escalation and diversity training for officers. However, another widespread and concerning issue that has not been addressed in the same manner is officers who coerce or solicit false confessions from suspects of a crime.

False Confessions Are Not Uncommon

According to The Innocence Project, 375 people have been exonerated by DNA evidence for crimes that they did not commit. Of those cases, 102 cases or 27 percent were wrongfully convicted because of false confessions. Other sources have estimated that nearly $450 million has been paid out by state governments to defendants in false confession exoneration cases. 

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East Hartford, CT criminal defense attorney white collar crime

White collar crime is a type of typically nonviolent financial crime that usually involves some sort of financial gain. White collar crimes are often perpetrated by offenders who have been entrusted with certain financial information, which is why the penalties for committing a white collar crime can be severe. Successfully prosecuting a white collar crime requires sufficient evidence, which can come from various people and places. However, when it comes to getting evidence from an individual’s spouse, there are certain protections that exist that protect couples from having to reveal communications made in private with one another.

What Is the Marital Communications Privilege?

In the 1850s, the marital communications privilege was created and originally existed in U.S. law as an attempt to preserve the sanctity of marital conversation, therefore encouraging free and open communication and strengthening the marital bond. Both spouses retain the marital communications privilege, meaning either spouse can invoke the privilege at any time, as long as the three required elements exist. If a spouse wishes to keep certain communications confidential, he or she must be able to prove that:

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East Hartford, CT criminal defense attorney

In the United States, the police and the criminal justice system are under constant scrutiny and judgment from everyone. In recent years, the behavior and conduct of the country’s police force have been topics plastered across research papers, various studies, news articles, and social media posts, especially in the past few months. This has also led many lawmakers to propose new legislation to correct some of the injustices that are known and currently exist in the system, such as how the civil asset forfeiture system currently operates. There are actually three different types of asset forfeiture available, but unlike criminal forfeiture, you do not need to be charged with a crime to have your assets seized through civil forfeiture.

What Is Asset Forfeiture?

Asset forfeiture is a legal practice that allows law enforcement officers to claim a person’s property without charging the person with a crime. This type of forfeiture brings charges against the property itself, rather than the person. To initiate the civil asset forfeiture process, only suspicion is necessary, although the government will have to prove with a preponderance of the evidence that the assets are subject to forfeiture. However, the burden of proof is often left to the property owner to prove that he or she is innocent and he or she is also often not guaranteed the basic right to legal counsel.

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East Hartford, CT criminal defense attorney

Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States, people across the country have been advocating for the release of some of the inmates in the prisons and jails across the country who are either unable to post bail or who do not pose a risk to the community or who have been incarcerated for low-level offenses. COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that spreads easily through respiratory droplets when people are in close contact with one another. Prison conditions make this an ideal environment for COVID-19 to run rampant among populations, making it a concern for many. According to the Marshall Project, there have been more than 102,000 COVID-19 cases among the prison population as of August 18. The pandemic affected every aspect of life, but it affected prison systems exceptionally so, with issues reaching into the Connecticut Department of Corrections.

Mental Health Services Have Suffered

One of the biggest issues that the prison system has faced during the pandemic has been figuring out how to manage the mental health needs of the current and incoming inmates while maintaining safety measures. Throughout the pandemic, mental health services available to inmates have been limited and routine elective outpatient psychotherapy was suspended for most inmates.

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Logo Image 50 Founders Plaza
East Hartford, CT 06108
Phone: 860-290-8690
Fax: 860-290-8697
We are available by appointment during evening and weekend hours, if necessary.

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