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young adult, Connecticut criminal defense attorneyOver the last several years, Governor Dannel P. Malloy has spearheaded efforts to reform the Connecticut criminal justice system and to reduce the state’s prison population. In 2015, Governor Malloy successfully lobbied for the reclassification of most drug possession charges as misdemeanors as opposed to felonies, thereby reducing prison sentences for non-violent offenders. Last year, he continued promoting his “Second Chance Society” measures to reform the state’s bail system and to expand the juvenile court system’s jurisdiction to include young adults up to age 21. While the initiatives failed to gain sufficient traction during 2016, both are back on the table this year.

Raising the Age

When a juvenile breaks the law, he or she, in most cases, is subject to the jurisdiction of the state’s juvenile court system. Juvenile courts are generally more focused on education and rehabilitation than punishment. The approach is intended to prevent young offenders from becoming immersed in a criminal lifestyle, pushing them instead to become productive members of society.

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prosecutors, Connecticut criminal defense attorneyWhen you go to work every day, you are expected to perform at a certain level. You may have productivity standards or sales quotas that must be met, and you are almost certainly required to adhere to your company’s code of conduct policies. If you make a major mistake or deliberately break the rules, you are probably subject to some sort of disciplinary process which could ultimately cost you your job. At the very least, you will likely be expected to remedy your error if possible. While such expectations apply to most people who work for a living, it seems that criminal prosecutors—for whom a major mistake or misconduct could ruin another person’s life—are often exempt. A report released earlier this year found that prosecutors who commit misconduct or make serious mistakes in their prosecution of criminal cases are very rarely held accountable for their actions.

Hundreds of Examples

The Prosecutorial Oversight Coalition was formed as a joint project of the Innocence Project, the Innocence Project New Orleans, the Veritas Initiative at Santa Clara University School of Law, and Resurrection After Exoneration to study examples of prosecutor error and misconduct. The group looked at thousands of court decisions between 2004 and 2008 from five states—Arizona, California, New York, Pennsylvania, and Texas—and found 660 incidents of prosecutor misconduct. In reality, the number is probably much higher, considering how difficult it can be to recognize the behavior as misconduct.

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firearms analysis, Hartford criminal defense attorneyForensic science is the application of research, analysis, technology, and science in civil and criminal law proceedings. If you have turned on a television in the last decade and a half, you have probably seen at least one if not dozens of dramas depicting fictionalized versions of forensic investigation. When forensics experts provide testimony or evidence in a criminal case, it is easy to presume that the results in question are fully reliable and backed by solid scientific research.

In recent years, however, it appears that forensic investigators have been overstating the reliability of some of their most well-known methods, including those used to “match” a bullet to a particular firearm. The issue has become such a concern that an appellate court judge in Washington, D.C. addressed the matter in an opinion filed in the appeal of a murder conviction.

Common Methodology

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identification, Hartford criminal defense attorneyEven if you have never been inside a courtroom for a criminal trial, you have probably seen dramatized versions in movies and on television. As such, you are likely familiar with the concept of a courtroom identification. While a witness—often the alleged victim or an eyewitness to the crime—is being questioned, he or she is asked by the district attorney a question along the lines of “Is the person who committed this offense present in the courtroom today?” If the response is affirmative, the witness is then asked to point out that individual for the record.

New Guidelines

Last week, the Connecticut Supreme Court handed down a ruling that places a limit on such in-court identifications. Going forward, the state must notify the court that a witness will be identifying a suspect in court for the first time, without having identified the suspect via a photo-lineup or other, non-suggestive manner prior to trial. The presiding judge is only permitted to allow a first-time identification in court if “there is no factual dispute as to the identity of the perpetrator, or the ability of the particular eyewitness to identify the defendant is not at issue.”

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Posted by on in Criminal Law

Ferguson Missouri criminal lawyer, Connecticut criminal attorneyWell we ought to know its not about "Ferguson!" Ferguson was a mere catalyst for what will hopefully be a better USA for people of all colors and creeds.

As many of my colleagues in the criminal defense bar know, when we're traveling on the highway and see those blue flashing lights, 80% of the time the occupants are people of color. 80% plus of our clients are people of color. The Criminal court dockets consists of 80% plus of people of color.

We've sadly come to accept that! But all clearly realize that the disproportionality of these facts are "real".

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