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

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 cell phone evidence

In today’s world, our cell phones have become a normal and natural part of our lives. Even just 20 years ago, most people did not own a mobile phone, and the ones who did own them had phones that were nowhere near as powerful as the ones we have today. Smartphones are convenient for many everyday tasks, but they also pose valid privacy concerns for users because of data collection from nearly every app on your device. In some cases, this data may even be used to arrest, charge, or even convict you of a crime in Connecticut.

How Is My Data Being Collected?

Many cell phone users’ personal data is being collected, stored, and sold off without their knowledge. You may wonder how this might happen -- the apps on your phone, in fact, are responsible for most of this data collection. Data trackers are hidden and embedded into many apps that are readily available on the App Store and Google Play. These trackers collect all kinds of information and personal data about you, sell it, and transmit it to various third parties, who are often advertisers. However, advertisers are not the only ones interested in personal data. Recently, it was discovered that location data was being sold to law enforcement to help detain undocumented immigrants. 

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East Hartford, CT criminal defense attorney

The entire country has seen changes like never before due to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic. Nearly every aspect of life has been affected by this public health crisis -- even the criminal justice system. Across the country, court systems have been operating with the bare minimum staff in only a handful of open courthouses. However, even with a resurgence of COVID-19 cases, some municipalities are planning to or have already begun to reopen. The state of Connecticut is one such municipality that has begun to reopen courthouses.

Barriers to Reopening

Reopening courthouses in the midst of a pandemic pose a challenge for the criminal justice system. COVID-19 is a virus that is mainly spread through respiratory droplets that are produced when you talk, sneeze, and cough. Being in close contact with people, which is closer than six feet apart from another person, increases the chances of transmitting the COVID-19 virus. In criminal matters, close contact with other people is often unavoidable. The accused are often subject to pre-trial detention in close quarters. Judges, lawyers, jury members, and other court staff, in addition to the accused, are subject to confined rooms with poor ventilation for most of the day, during which many people speak for extended periods of time.

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Hartford computer crimes defense lawyerDuring your daily routine, you come into contact with a wide variety of computers and electronic devices. These may include cell phones, smart appliances, AI digital assistants, vehicles, home security systems, and much more. Computers play a huge role in our daily lives, and they often contain secure and personal information that is meant to be private. To address privacy concerns and ensure that sensitive data remains secure, there are laws in place that protect this information and punish those who commit computer crimes, or “hacking.” In Connecticut, computer crimes are addressed in the state’s criminal statutes, and there are a variety of actions and situations that could result in these types of charges.

What Constitutes Computer Crime?

According to the Connecticut criminal statute, there are five ways you can be charged with computer crime. Computer crime occurs when a person:

  • Accesses or causes to be accessed a computer system for which he or she has no authorization to access;
  • Accesses or otherwise uses a computer system for the purpose of gaining unauthorized computer services;
  • Intentionally or recklessly disrupts or denies computer services to an authorized user of a computer system;
  • Misuses computer system information through actions such as copying confidential data, deleting or damaging computer system data, or receiving or retaining data obtained through unauthorized access; or
  • Intentionally or recklessly destroys, tampers with, takes, alters, damages, or otherwise ruins any equipment used in a computer system.

Degrees of Computer Crime

Computer crimes are grouped into five different degrees based on the value of the property or computer services that were allegedly damaged or stolen. Fifth-degree computer crimes involving damages or theft of less than $500 will be charged as a Class B misdemeanor. The charges for higher-value property or services, with the most serious offense being first-degree computer crimes involving damages of theft of more than $10,000. This is a Class B felony, and a conviction can result in a prison sentence of up to 20 years.

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East Hartford, CT 06108
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