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Report Reveals Racial Disparities in Connecticut Criminal Cases

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connecticut criminal defense lawyerDefendants in criminal cases will often struggle to determine how they can protect their rights, respond to accusations by police officers and prosecutors, and resolve these matters in a way that will allow them to avoid being convicted or reduce their potential consequences. While all defendants may experience difficulties as they determine how to defend against criminal charges, minorities are likely to face more serious charges and consequences. A recent report that showed how Connecticut’s legal system is biased against minorities demonstrates the importance of working with an experienced attorney to defend against criminal charges.

Criminal Case Dispositions for Minorities in 2020

The Connecticut legislature has required prosecutors to collect demographic information about defendants and provide annual reports on the dispositions of criminal cases. The report for 2020 showed that while the total number of criminal cases decreased due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the same types of disparities continued to affect minorities as in previous years. Findings of the report included:

  • While white people make up 67 percent of Connecticut's population, they only accounted for 46 percent of the dispositions in criminal cases. 11 percent of people in Connecticut are Black, but Black defendants accounted for 28 percent of criminal dispositions. Hispanic people make up 17 percent of the state’s population, but they accounted for 23 percent of criminal dispositions.

  • 27 percent of Black defendants, 24 percent of Hispanic defendants, and 23 percent of white defendants received a guilty verdict, either through a plea bargain or a trial. However, 32 percent of white defendants had their cases dismissed, while 28 percent of Hispanic defendants and 22 percent of Black defendants received dismissals.  

  • Black defendants were more likely to be charged and convicted of felony charges, while white defendants were more likely to be charged and convicted of misdemeanors.

  • 33 percent of arrests took place in the cities of Hartford, Waterbury, Bridgeport, New Britain, and New Haven. These cities account for only 16 percent of Connecticut’s population, and most people who live in these cities are minorities.

The nolle is the most common disposition for criminal charges. In these cases, charges against a defendant will be dropped, as long as the person is not arrested for 13 months after receiving a nolle. However, in many cases, a person will be charged with multiple offenses. While a nolle may be used for certain charges, prosecutors may only agree to do so if a person pleads guilty to other charges. 

Contact Our Connecticut Criminal Defense Attorney

This report illustrates the importance of having an experienced attorney on your side when you are facing criminal charges. While some criminal charges may be dismissed, or a nolle may be available in some cases, prosecutors are likely to pursue a conviction. The Woolf Law Firm, LLC can help you determine the best defense strategy, and we will help you address any violations of your rights during your case. Contact our Hartford criminal defense lawyer today by calling 860-290-8690 to arrange a free consultation.

Sources:

https://ctnewsjunkie.com/2021/08/02/drop-in-charges-but-blacks-still-arrested-at-higher-rate/

https://portal.ct.gov/-/media/OPM/CJPPD/CjResearch/Prosecutor-Data-Analysis/Second-Analysis-of-Prosecutor-Data-PA-1959-2021-Report.pdf

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