Mandatory Arrest Law Complicates Domestic Violence Calls, Connecticut Criminal Defense AttorneyDespite aggressive, nationwide awareness campaigns over the last several decades, domestic violence and intimate partner abuse continue to plague families throughout Connecticut and across the country. Tragically, millions of people suffer abuse at the hands of a spouse, partner, or another family member each year, and an alarmingly large number of victims are hesitant or simply refuse to seek help. Sometimes, however, a domestic violence victim will have the courage to call the police, hoping that law enforcement will help resolve the problem at hand. The police arrive and arrest the alleged abuser—then proceed to arrest the victim as well. This is known as a “dual arrest,” and the rate of such arrests in Connecticut is nearly 10 times higher than the national average.

The Problems of Mandatory Arrest

Connecticut is one of 22 states with laws that require police to make an arrest when they respond to a domestic violence call. In theory, mandatory arrest laws are intended to protect victims of abuse by eliminating the need for officers to make a judgment call on the scene. But in practice, such laws have unintended consequences. Studies suggest that many victims fear additional retaliation from their abusers following a call to a police and mandatory arrest, which means mandatory arrest laws may actually be reducing calls for help.

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misconduct, Hartford criminal defense attorneySeemingly every other week or so, there is a new report of alleged misconduct of some type involving police officers. Over the last several years, we have heard countless stories of police shootings, overaggressive behavior by officers against criminal suspects, and allegations of blatant and systemic racism. Due in large part to these types of examples, many people are hesitant to trust law enforcement officers and such apprehension is understandable. Now, a federal lawsuit recently filed in Connecticut suggests that there is even a measure of distrust of certain officers and officials among other police officers.

Federal Action

Earlier this month a former member of the Rocky Hill police department filed suit in federal court in Bridgeport seeking damages for harassment and discrimination. The suit names four defendants, including the Rocky Hill police chief and another officer, as well as the current and former Town Managers of Rocky Hill.

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stingray, Hartford criminal defense attorneyWhen the police are trying to track down a suspect, they will often stop at nothing to find him or her. In many cases, such determination is understandable, as it is focused on getting a potentially dangerous individual off the street in the interest of public safety as well as enforcing the law. Sometimes, however, law enforcement officials can become overzealous, venturing into territory that risks violating a suspect’s Fourth Amendment rights. With the rise of digital technology, it can be difficult for criminal suspects to even know that their rights have been compromised, but a federal judge in New York recently issued a ruling that could prove to be very important to the future of criminal investigations.

United States v. Lambis

The case in question was the result of a drug investigation by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). According to court records, the DEA legally acquired a suspect’s cell phone information, then obtained a warrant to access cell tower records in an effort to locate the phone. The cell tower data was only able to give DEA agents the general vicinity of the phone. The DEA then employed the use of a cell-site simulator, commonly known as a Stingray, to further track the suspect’s mobile device. The Stingray mimicked a cell tower, gathering information from the man’s phone, leading DEA agents to knock on his door while he slept. A subsequent search of the apartment led to the discovery of cocaine and drug paraphernalia. The man was arrested but sought to have the evidence suppressed based on the manner in which he and the evidence were found.

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