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Hartford sexual assault defense attorney minor victimSex crimes are some of the most serious and harshly punished crimes there are. Even just being accused of a sex crime can have a negative and long-lasting impact on your life. The state of Connecticut does not take kindly to those who are convicted of being a sex offender, and consequences can be even more severe for those who are convicted of a sex offense involving a minor child. If you are convicted of a sex crime in Connecticut, you could a face long prison sentence, extremely expensive fines, and the requirement to register as a sex offender.

Types of Sex Offenses Upon a Minor

In Connecticut, sex offenses are broken down into degrees. Though all sex offenses are extremely serious, first-degree sexual assault is the most harshly punished, and fourth-degree sexual assault is one of the lesser offenses. When it comes to sexual offenses involving victims who are minors, the same laws apply as if the victim was an adult, but the charges automatically become much more serious, and the consequences become more harsh.

In Connecticut, a minor is defined as a person under the age of 16. However, if the alleged perpetrator of sexual assault is in a supervisory position over the alleged victim, such as a coach or teacher, they can be charged with sexual assault of a minor, even if the alleged victim is 18 years old. In addition, anyone charged with Sexual Assault of a Minor will automatically be charged with Risk of Injury to a Minor under Connecticut General Statute 53-21.

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Hartford, CT murder defense attorneyMurder is one of the oldest and most serious crimes in civilized society. The killing of one human being by another is taken very seriously and can come with extremely severe punishments. Many states divide murder charges into first, second, and third degree murder, but Connecticut is slightly different. Rather than dividing murder charges into degrees, Connecticut determines the seriousness of the murder charge based on a variety of factors, such as the people involved in the crime, whether or not the murder occurred at the same time a felony was committed, the type of felony that was committed, and other circumstances.

Connecticut Murder Charges

According to the Connecticut Penal Code, murder is defined as causing the death of another person when the offender has the intent to cause death. A murder charge becomes a murder with special circumstances when the offender:

  • Murders a police officer, firefighter, inspector, or other government official performing their duties;
  • Murders for financial gain or hires someone to murder for financial gain;
  • Murders someone and had previously been convicted of murder or felony murder;
  • Murders while serving a life sentence;
  • Murders during a kidnapping;
  • Murders during sexual assault;
  • Murders two or more people at once; or
  • Murders someone under the age of 16.

Additional charges and penalties may apply when a person commits murder while also committing or attempting to commit any of the following felonies:

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eyewitness, East Hartford criminal defense attorneyConsider a hypothetical scenario in which you are in line at your bank waiting for a teller to call you over. Suddenly, at one of the other teller windows, you see a person holding a gun. The person is yelling for everyone to get down and demanding that the bank employee hand over cash. You realize that there is little to be gained from arguing with a person holding a gun, so you get down on the floor and cover your head with your arms—but not before you sneak a look at the would-be robber’s face.

Now for the million-dollar question: Would you be able to accurately describe the face you saw when the police get your statement later? If you were like most people, you would probably answer the question with a resounding “yes.” If you really were like most people, however, the description you give would probably not match images taken from the bank’s security cameras as closely as you might expect, even though you reported everything exactly as you remembered it.  This is one the major weaknesses in eyewitness testimony and one of the most important things to keep in mind if anyone ever claims that they saw you commit a crime.

Child Shooting Victim in Houston

On Sunday, December 30, a 7-year-old Houston girl named Jazmine Barnes was killed when a gunman opened fire on the car in which she, her sisters, and her mother were sitting. When the mother and her surviving daughters were asked what they saw, they told police they remembered a red pickup truck being driven by a thin white man in his 30s or 40s who had a five-o’clock shadow. For several days, police in the area used the description as a basis for their investigation, but an anonymous tip started pushing investigators in a different direction.

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jury, Hartford criminal defense attorneyWhen a person is facing criminal charges and his or her case goes to a jury trial, there is a long list of rules that Connecticut courts must follow to ensure the trial is handled properly. Such rules address not only a suspect’s rights but also the process of the trial itself, including collecting a pool of potential jurors and selecting the appropriate number of jurors to decide the case. Jury selection is an important part of the criminal justice process, but at least one Connecticut judge believes that the current rules that govern jury selection should be amended to be more inclusive.

Peremptory Challenges

During jury selection, attorneys for both sides—prosecutors and defendants in a criminal trial—have a tool at their disposal known as a peremptory challenge. A peremptory challenge gives the attorney the ability to strike a prospective juror without a detailed explanation. Compared to a challenge for cause, peremptory challenges may be limited by jurisdictional rules. While a peremptory challenge does not require a justification, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1986 that such challenges could not be used to strike a prospective juror solely on the basis of race.

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Posted by on in Criminal Law

social media, Hartford criminal defense attorneyIt has been said that you can find anything online if you look hard enough. While some people use the internet to find entertaining videos, news stories, sports highlights, and hobby advice, others are attracted to the way that it allows them to share their lives with others. Social media outlets have become an extremely popular form of communication, with Facebook boasting more than 1.8 billion—yes, billion with a “b”—active monthly users. Facebook Live, a live video streaming feature, launched about a year ago, giving users the ability to instantly share videos of their exploits and experiences with their friends. But, what happens when those exploits are actually homicides or sexual assaults being broadcast in real time? Does a person who sees a crime on social media have a legal obligation to report it to appropriate authorities?

Recent Examples

The issue has been particularly illuminated by two high-profile examples in recent weeks—both involving actions broadcasted on Facebook Live. The first involved an alleged gang rape of a Chicago teenager by several juveniles and at least one adult, according to reports. Thus far, Chicago police have arrested one of the minors and another turned himself in, but at least 40 people watched the streaming video.

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