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Connecticut sex crime attorney character witnessesSince the beginnings of the “Me Too” movement, a great deal of emphasis has been placed on the issues surrounding sexual violence. Several high-profile cases have taken place in the past couple of years, including the Brock Turner case, in which a college student was convicted of three counts of sexual assault and sentenced to only six months in jail. Another more recent case is that of Harvey Weinstein, the media mogul who was convicted of two counts of sex crimes after years of allegations and trials. Weinstein’s case was of interest to the criminal justice community in particular for the choice of witnesses permitted to testify during the trial.

Sexual Assault Cases Often Involve “Prior Bad Acts” Witnesses

It is not uncommon for trials involving allegations of sexual misconduct to allow character witnesses to testify about the defendant’s past behavior. These “prior bad acts” witnesses may allege that the defendant committed previous acts of sexual misconduct, even if there were never any charges or convictions pursued for the supposed acts. In two recent high-profile cases, prior bad acts witnesses were involved. In the Weinstein case, three additional witnesses were permitted to testify against Weinstein, even though charges were never pursued for the misconduct the witnesses alleged. In another case involving actor Bill Cosby, five women testified against him, and none of these witnesses’ allegations resulted in criminal charges. It has been speculated that these witnesses played a significant role in the defendants’ convictions.

Implications of Allowing These Types of Witnesses

The fact that most courts allow prior bad acts witnesses is something of concern in the criminal justice community. This practice allows prosecutors to solicit testimony from alleged victims in cases where a defendant was never charged with a crime or found guilty, including in cases where prosecutors deemed that the defendant’s alleged actions were not substantial enough to warrant criminal prosecution. In some cases, witnesses may even testify about alleged incidents that were never reported to police or doctors. Because of this, many criminal defense attorneys have called the legitimacy of prior bad acts witnesses into question and argued against the use of this type of evidence.

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Connecticut criminal defense attorney for sex crimesIn 1994, the U.S. Congress passed the Jacob Wetterling Crimes Against Children and Sexually Violent Offender Registration Act, which required all states to establish and implement some sort of sex offender registration program. Since then, many amendments and additions have been made to laws pertaining to sex offender registration, including the creation of a national online sex-offender registry that is accessible to the general public. While this has been touted as a way to increase public safety, sex offender registries can have severe consequences on the lives of those who are required to register.

When Is a Person Required to Register as a Sex Offender in Connecticut?

Each state is allowed to use its own discretion when it comes to the sex offender registry, and states can choose which offenses require offenders to register if they are found guilty. The state of Connecticut has certain requirements for those who must be included on the sex offender registry and how long they must register. In Connecticut, you are required to register as a sex offender in the following cases:

  • You have been convicted of a sexual act or crime against a minor. Registration lasts for at least 10 years, though subsequent convictions require registration for life.
  • You were convicted of a non-violent sexual offense. In these cases, registration also lasts for 10 years and typically requires lifetime registration for subsequent offenses.
  • You were convicted of a sexually-violent crime. Lifetime registration as a sex offender is non-negotiable in these cases.
  • A court finds that a felony was committed for a sexual purpose. In these cases, a person will be required to register as a sex offender for 10 years.
  • You were convicted of risk of injury to a minor involving contact with the intimate parts of a child under the age of 16. In these cases, the court will have discretion as to whether to require sex offender registration.

Effects of Sex Offender Registration

Being convicted of a sex crime and required to register as a sex offender can mean your life will be forever changed. When you register as a sex offender, your personal information, including your name, age, address, and the nature of your conviction(s), are all available to be viewed by the general public. This means that your friends and family can see this information, as well as your neighbors, employers, or anyone else who goes looking. Registration as a sex offender can also result in the following consequences:

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Hartford criminal defense lawyer for teen sex offensesAdvances in technology are constantly happening. Every day, it seems as if there is a new device, app, or way of digitally communicating with one another. While technological advancement and evolving behaviors can be beneficial for society, they often pose legal problems. A relatively new act called “sexting” is one of the latest challenges that has been posed to lawmakers across the country, and both parents and children should be aware of the potential sex crime charges that could result from this type of activity.

What Is “Sexting?”

Sexting is a type of sexual behavior that occurs when two people consensually share explicit photos, videos, or messages through an electronic device. According to a study published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics, around 27 percent of teenagers say that they have received such a text message, while 15 percent of teens admitted that they have sent such a message.

Sending, receiving, or possessing sexually explicit depictions of minors is illegal. But how are cases handled when those depictions are sent, received, or possessed by minors themselves? Often, cases like these are treated in a similar manner as other child pornography cases, and the person who was found in possession of the material is charged with a sex crime and required to register as a sex offender.

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Hartford sex crimes defense attorney sex offender registrySex crimes are some of the most serious crimes you can be charged with in the United States. If you are convicted of certain sexual offenses, you could be required to register as a sex offender in the state where you reside. Sex offender registries are available for the public to access, meaning anyone can see your information on the registry website, including your address and the offense you were convicted of. This can make it hard for those who have been convicted of a sex crime to find a job or a place to live, which is why the state of Connecticut is currently considering changes to the state sex offender registry.

Major Changes to Registry

There are a couple of major changes to the Connecticut sex offender registry that have been proposed in SB 1113. If the bill becomes law, a new sex offender registry board would be created. The board would determine the length of time a person will remain in the registry by examining each person’s risk of re-offending based on information provided by probation and parole officials. The goal would be to make decisions based on the person’s risk, rather than the actual offense they allegedly committed.

The bill would also create two different sex offender registries -- one that is much like the current one and available to the public, and one that is only available to law enforcement. The public registry would contain information about high-risk offenders, while low-risk offenders would be placed in the private registry.

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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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