sex offender, Hartford criminal defense attorneyIn 2015, the Connecticut General Assembly directed the state’s Sentencing Commission to conduct an in-depth examination of Connecticut’s policies regarding the “assessment, management, treatment, and sentencing of sex offenders.” The two-year study concluded near the end of 2017. As a result of its findings, the Connecticut Sentencing Commission officially recommended a shift from offense-based registration as a sex offender to a system based on the risk an offender poses to the community at large.

The recommendation was formalized as House Bill 5578 in the most recent session of the General Assembly, but the measure never made it past the Judiciary Committee. Lawmakers, however, say that the proposal may have merits, but the discussion is better suited for the longer legislative session next year.

Among the study’s most important findings was the idea that the current laws and guidelines regarding sex offender registration are largely based on decades-old assumptions that have been proven questionable or demonstrably false. According to the Sentencing Commission, three primary myths persist.


sex offender, Hartford criminal defense attorneyWhen a person is convicted on charges of certain sex crimes, he or she may be required to register on the state’s sex offender registry for a period of time following any applicable prison term. Depending on the severity of the offense, registration may be required for 10 years or for the rest of the offender’s life. Because such a registry is considered by most people to be important in maintaining public safety, there is a common belief that every person on the list still poses a danger to his or her community.

Members of the Connecticut Sentencing Commission, however, say that a “one-size-fits-all approach to registration of sex offenders” is not always in the public’s best interest. In 2015, the Connecticut General Assembly directed a Commission subcommittee to consider a risk-based alternative to the current offense-based system.

The subcommittee announced a risk-based proposal in October that would require an in-depth evaluation of each individual convicted of a sex crime. Alex Tsarkov, the sentencing commission’s executive director, said, “We’re not trying to make life easier for offenders. We’re trying to focus on public safety.”


DNA collection, Connecticut criminal defense attorneyWhen properly collected and analyzed, DNA evidence is among the most clear-cut and convincing forensics in any criminal proceeding. Countless cases in the last several decades have been greatly impacted by the biological technology, including those of a large number of previously-convicted defendants who were later exonerated by DNA analysis.

Unsurprisingly, the success of such efforts has led all 50 states and the federal government to mandate the collection of DNA samples from at least some categories of convicted offenders, so as to assist in future investigations. Here in Connecticut, however, the state’s authority to use force in collecting DNA was recently brought before the state Supreme Court, promulgated by the appeals of two convicted felons who refused to submit to DNA collection.

Reasonable Force


sex trafficking, human trafficking, Hartford criminal defense attorneyLast month, Connecticut U.S. Attorney Deirdre Daly announced the launch of the Connecticut Human Trafficking Task Force, a group dedicated to combatting sexual and labor exploitation for financial gain around the state. The issue of sex trafficking, in particular, is quickly reaching alarming levels of concern, as the Connecticut Department of Children and Families has received more than 80 referrals of possible trafficking victims just this year.

“Modern-Day Slavery”

At the press conference announcing the creation of the task force, Daly made very strong comments regarding the seriousness of the problem. “Over the last several years,” she said, “it has become increasingly clear that human trafficking, and especially the sex trafficking of minors, this cruel victimization of defenseless young girls and sometimes boys, is a form of modern-day slavery.” While law enforcement efforts continue, she observed, the Internet has made the buying and selling of sex with children more available than ever before.


possession of child pornography. Hartford criminal defense attorneyChild pornography has become more prevalent since the advent of the internet and the proliferation of cameras. Consequently, law enforcement at both the state and federal levels have begun cracking down on people who possess child pornography. This has created a patchwork of federal and local laws that people are subject to. However, it is still important for people to understand this complex patchwork since the penalties for violating it can be incredibly severe.

State Law

Connecticut law on the possession of child pornography criminalizes knowingly possessing some amount of images of child pornography, which is defined as video or images depicting someone under the age of 16 engaging in sexually explicit conduct. The penalties for the crime depend on the amount of images a person has in their possession. Fewer than 20 images is a Class D felony punishable by five years in prison, with a one year mandatory minimum sentence. Possession of between 20 and 50 images is a Class C felony punishable by at most 20 years in prison, with a two year mandatory minimum sentence. More than 50 images brings it up to a Class B felony, and increases the mandatory minimum sentence to five years. However, the state law does make some reductions in severity if the person who possesses the images is a minor because of the prevalence of teenagers with cell phone cameras.

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