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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.

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dual arrest, Connecticut criminal defense attorneyWhen the police respond to a report of a domestic disturbance, how they handle the situation is determined by a number of factors. Of course, the behavior of and allegations made by the parties involved will contribute to the officer’s decision on whether or not to make an arrest. The applicable laws of the state in question also matter and can vary widely from one state to the next.

In Connecticut, an officer is essentially required to make an arrest when responding to a domestic violence call if he or she has probable cause to believe that violent incident took place. Unfortunately, however, the wording of the law—which went into effect in 1987—has had the unintended consequence of raising the rate of dual arrests to more than double the national average. In recent weeks, victims’ advocate groups have renewed calls to amend the state’s laws so that victims will no longer need to fear being arrested when they call the police for help.

The Problem

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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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homicide, Hartford criminal defense attorneyAs it currently stands, drug laws throughout the United States are very strict—loosening regulations on marijuana notwithstanding. In most states, including Connecticut, a single drug conviction can lead to serious criminal consequences and penalties that could follow an individual around for the rest of his or her life.

Unfortunately, however, many throughout the country believe that the so-called “War on Drugs” has ultimately failed. Instead of getting illegal substances off our streets and away from our children, drug problems persist and our prisons are as crowded as ever. Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy has been a leader in a new approach toward drug crimes in the state, shifting the focus, in most cases, from punishment to education and reform. Such efforts have been primarily intended for non-violent offenders and those charged with relatively minor offenses. But now, two other Connecticut lawmakers have proposed legislation that would create a new drug crime in the state: homicide by sale of an opioid.

Overdose Deaths Rising

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new law, second chance, Hartford Drug Crimes Defense AttorneyOne of Governor Dannel Malloy’s pet projects stalled without a vote in the Connecticut House earlier this month after passing with bipartisan support in the state Senate. The Democratic governor has spent much of the last few months advocating for the passage of his “Second Chance Society” initiative aimed at helping non-violent offenders overcome their mistakes and avoid becoming trapped in a cycle of crime and punishment.

The measure was on the verge of being approved, according to several news outlets, when a filibuster by the Black and Puerto Rican Caucuses and other procedural issues led to the legislative session ending before a vote was taken. The House, however, did approve a resolution calling for a special session to address the bill, along with several others awaiting consideration.

Second Chance Society

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East Hartford, CT 06108
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