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East Hartford, CT criminal defense attorney juvenile crime

Nearly every jurisdiction in the United States has a special court system for minors designed to rehabilitate them rather than punishing them. This is based on the knowledge that juveniles have a greater capacity for change than adults, which is why Connecticut’s Juvenile Transfer Act was created. The act was intended to close courtrooms and seal the records of juveniles charged with the most serious felonies and whose cases were transferred to adult court. This act went into effect in October 2019, but a federal judge recently ruled that the Juvenile Transfer Act violates the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and the Connecticut Constitution.

Federal Judge Orders Records to Be Unsealed

A federal judge in Hartford, CT recently ordered the Connecticut judiciary to open courtrooms and unseal court records related to cases involving juveniles charged with the most serious felonies that were transferred from juvenile to adult court. Under the state’s Juvenile Transfer Act, cases involving minors who commit the most serious felonies, such as murder or sexual assault, which are transferred to adult court are closed to the public, and records are sealed, unless a conviction is reached. The judge ordered all juvenile cases transferred to adult court going forward must be open to the public and all case records, past and future, must be unsealed.

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Hartford computer crimes defense lawyerDuring your daily routine, you come into contact with a wide variety of computers and electronic devices. These may include cell phones, smart appliances, AI digital assistants, vehicles, home security systems, and much more. Computers play a huge role in our daily lives, and they often contain secure and personal information that is meant to be private. To address privacy concerns and ensure that sensitive data remains secure, there are laws in place that protect this information and punish those who commit computer crimes, or “hacking.” In Connecticut, computer crimes are addressed in the state’s criminal statutes, and there are a variety of actions and situations that could result in these types of charges.

What Constitutes Computer Crime?

According to the Connecticut criminal statute, there are five ways you can be charged with computer crime. Computer crime occurs when a person:

  • Accesses or causes to be accessed a computer system for which he or she has no authorization to access;
  • Accesses or otherwise uses a computer system for the purpose of gaining unauthorized computer services;
  • Intentionally or recklessly disrupts or denies computer services to an authorized user of a computer system;
  • Misuses computer system information through actions such as copying confidential data, deleting or damaging computer system data, or receiving or retaining data obtained through unauthorized access; or
  • Intentionally or recklessly destroys, tampers with, takes, alters, damages, or otherwise ruins any equipment used in a computer system.

Degrees of Computer Crime

Computer crimes are grouped into five different degrees based on the value of the property or computer services that were allegedly damaged or stolen. Fifth-degree computer crimes involving damages or theft of less than $500 will be charged as a Class B misdemeanor. The charges for higher-value property or services, with the most serious offense being first-degree computer crimes involving damages of theft of more than $10,000. This is a Class B felony, and a conviction can result in a prison sentence of up to 20 years.

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Hartford criminal defense lawyer illegal video recordingSince the beginning of March, many states across the United States have enacted closures for non-essential businesses and stay-at-home orders for residents. The number of people who are now working from home and students who are attending school through online classes has skyrocketed. Many of these people have been using online video conferencing services such as Zoom, Skype, or Microsoft Teams. The use of these programs has been beneficial for people, but the legalities surrounding these services has been brought into question. Specifically, when is it legal to record someone in Connecticut, and could a person face criminal charges for making an illegal recording?

Who Must Be Aware of the Recording?

There are two stances that are common across the country when it comes to the legality of recording conversations. Some states are “two-party” consent states, which means that all parties involved in the conversation being recorded must be aware of the fact that the recording is taking place and must consent to it. The majority of states, however, are “one-party” consent states, meaning it is legal to record a conversation as long as one party consents to the recording.

In Connecticut, the legality of a recording depends on the circumstances of the situation. When recording an in-person conversation in which the parties are physically present in the same location, only one person needs to be aware of and consent to the recording. If none of the parties are aware of the recording, the person making the recording could be charged with eavesdropping, which is a Class D felony. Connecticut Class D felonies can result in up to five years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines.

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suicide, Connecticut criminal defense lawyerThroughout the United States, suicide is a serious yet under-discussed problem. Each year, more than 40,000 Americans succeed in taking their own lives, with countless more making one or more attempts. Suicide is now the second-leading cause of death for individuals between 15 and 34—only accidents claim more lives. For friends and family members of a suicide victim, the situation can be traumatic and life-changing, as they may feel like they have failed their loved one. Recently, however, a Massachusetts court ruled that a young woman who encouraged her boyfriend to kill himself must now serve at least 15 months in prison for involuntary manslaughter.

A Tragic Set of Facts

Three years ago, an 18-year-old man Massachusetts man committed suicide by filling his pickup truck cab with carbon monoxide in a store parking lot. As officials investigated the death, they found that the man’s girlfriend—a 17-year-old young woman—had been sending him messages via text and social media encouraging him to go through with his suicide plan. According to reports and court documents, the teen even allegedly told the young man to “get back in” when he got scared and got out of his carbon monoxide-filled truck.

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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

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