Recent Blog Posts

Can a Person Facing Drug Charges Be Required to Receive Treatment?

 Posted on May 27,2022 in Drug Possession

hartford drug crime defense lawyerDrug addiction can be a difficult burden to bear, and it can affect both an addict and their loved ones. Unfortunately, many addicts become caught up in the criminal justice system, and they may face drug charges for possession of controlled substances, possession with intent to distribute, or drug trafficking. In addition to or instead of facing criminal charges, some addicts may be forced to undergo treatment meant to help them overcome their addictions. However, some advocates have questioned the effectiveness of these forms of treatment and raised concerns about how “involuntary commitment” laws may violate people’s rights.

Civil Commitment for Drug Addicts

Multiple states have laws that allow a person to be forced to complete rehabilitation or other forms of addiction treatment. This is sometimes seen as a compassionate solution that will ensure that those who may be a threat to themselves or others can take steps to address issues related to addiction and get their lives back on track. Many family members support these programs, and they may believe that they are the only option for a person who has refused to accept help.

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Can Criminal Records for Juvenile Offenders Be Kept Confidential?

 Posted on May 19,2022 in Criminal Defense

b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_2087573356_20220519-170428_1.jpgMinors who are charged with crimes and involved in juvenile delinquency proceedings or criminal cases in adult courts may face multiple types of consequences. In addition to criminal penalties, such as being placed in juvenile detention, paying fines or restitution, performing community service, and serving a sentence of probation, a person may face a number of other consequences. A criminal record can limit a person’s future job prospects, their ability to pursue an education or find housing, and multiple other areas of their life. Unfortunately, the mistakes made by a young person could follow them for the rest of their life.

Criminal justice advocates believe that juvenile offenders deserve the chance to put criminal offenses behind them as they move forward into adulthood. Multiple scientific studies have shown that when people are in their teens and early twenties, their brains are still developing, and they may not fully be able to understand the consequences of their actions or have the ability to control impulses. Because of this, minors who are charged or convicted of crimes will be likely to outgrow this behavior and avoid criminal activity in the future. However, a criminal record can make it difficult to do so. To address this issue, advocates are calling for changes to laws to ensure that juvenile criminal records can be expunged or kept confidential.

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How Faulty Forensic Science Can Lead to Wrongful Convictions

 Posted on May 16,2022 in Criminal Law

b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_2018157440.jpgWhen a person is accused of a crime, the evidence against them should be properly evaluated during an investigation by law enforcement officials. When this evidence is presented during a criminal trial, jurors should be informed about the potential for errors and the possibility that investigators came to the wrong conclusions. Unfortunately, forensic evidence is often seen as infallible, and prosecutors may claim that certain types of evidence provide incontrovertible proof of a person’s guilt. In reality, many of these forms of evidence are based on “junk science,” and the misuse or misapplication of forensic evidence can lead to wrongful convictions.

Problems With Forensic Science

There are some forms of evidence that can be scientifically evaluated to indicate whether a person did or did not commit a crime. For example, DNA evidence can often be used to identify a person, and prosecutors may argue that the presence of a person’s DNA at a crime scene demonstrates that they are guilty. However, there are multiple other types of forensic evidence that have been called into question, including:

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Criminal Violations of Probation and Parole May Result in Penalties

 Posted on May 10,2022 in Criminal Law

hartford criminal defense lawyerThose who are involved in criminal cases will often struggle to protect their rights, including when they are placed under supervised release. There are many cases where those who are convicted of crimes may receive an early release through parole, or they may be sentenced to special parole in addition to serving a prison sentence. In other cases, a person may be sentenced to probation or other forms of conditional release. Those who are on parole or probation are subject to multiple types of restrictions, and they can face additional prison sentences or penalties for a probation or parole violation. This is a serious concern for many people, and a recent study has found that criminal violations of parole or probation account for around two thirds of all prison time sentenced by state and federal courts.

Sentences for Criminal Violations of Probation or Parole May Result in Double Punishment

Many criminal justice advocates focus on the penalties that people often face for “technical violations” of probation or parole. These may include issues such as failure to meet curfew requirements or to show up on time for meetings with a parole officer. While this is a significant issue that often results in the revocation of probation or parole, a study by a law professor at Penn State has found that criminal violations are another issue that may affect the rights of people in these cases.

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Does the Use of Facial Recognition by Police Violate People’s Rights?

 Posted on April 29,2022 in Criminal Law

connecticut criminal defense lawyerPeople in the 21st century usually expect that images of their faces will be captured on a regular basis, such as by security cameras at stores they visit. However, they may not be aware that these images could potentially be used against them in cases where police officers investigate alleged crimes, identify possible suspects, and decide to perform arrests and pursue criminal charges. As the use of facial recognition technology by law enforcement continues to increase, many criminal defense lawyers, privacy advocates, and others who are concerned about criminal justice have raised concerns about how defendants may be affected by these practices.

Concerns About the Accuracy of Facial Recognition

According to a study performed by the Georgetown Center on Privacy and Technology in 2016, around half of all adults in the United States are included in facial recognition databases, and police in most states have access to this information. These databases include driver’s license photos and mug shots of people who have been arrested, and some facial recognition services have also compiled information from publicly available photos people have shared online, such as on Facebook or Instagram. 

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Supreme Court Ruling Addresses Malicious Prosecution in Criminal Cases

 Posted on April 20,2022 in Criminal Law

hartford criminal defense lawyerPeople who are charged with crimes can face a number of difficulties as they navigate the criminal justice system, and unfortunately, many defendants are treated unfairly by law enforcement officials and prosecutors. There are multiple ways that these officials can abuse the system, including by filing criminal charges against a person in retaliation for asserting their rights or to justify illegal actions by police officers. This is known as “malicious prosecution,” and it can often place people in a difficult position as they fight against what can seem like a rigged system. Fortunately, a recent decision by the U.S. Supreme Court may help limit these types of actions and ensure that defendants can protect their rights.

Fourth Amendment Protections Against Malicious Prosecution

For years, courts have been divided on the issue of whether the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects people against criminal consequences, such as arrest or imprisonment, that are based on false statements or omitted facts by police officers or prosecutors. In a recent ruling, the Supreme Court determined that people who have been subject to malicious prosecution can pursue civil lawsuits against those who were responsible in cases where charges are dropped or when they are acquitted.

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U.S. Spends Billions Each Year to Jail Child Sex Offenders

 Posted on April 13,2022 in Criminal Law

connecticut criminal defense lawyerNearly everyone agrees that sex crimes are a serious issue that should be addressed by the criminal justice system. Sexual offenses committed against children can be especially horrific, and around one out of every four girls and one out of every 13 boys experience some form of sexual abuse while they are under the age of 18. However, people may disagree about the best ways to address these issues and protect children against harm. A recent study indicates that the resources the United States puts toward addressing child sexual offenses are more focused on punishing offenders than actually preventing these types of crimes from occurring.

Money Spent on Incarceration Vastly Outweighs Child Sex Crime Prevention Efforts

The criminal justice system spends a significant amount of money to address child sex offenses, but nearly all of these funds go toward “reactive” efforts that take place after crimes have already been committed. There are currently more than 144,000 people incarcerated in state or federal prisons who have been convicted of sex crimes against children. Most of these offenders are required to serve sentences of at least eight years, and they are also subject to restrictions after being released, such as the requirement to register as sex offenders. 

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How Can DNA Information in Genetic Databases Lead to Criminal Arrests?

 Posted on April 05,2022 in Criminal Law

hartford criminal defense lawyerDNA contains a wealth of information about a person, and due to modern technology, this information can be used for a variety of beneficial purposes. Genetic information can provide information about a person’s health and ensure that they receive the proper medical treatments, and it can be used to establish family connections and provide details about a person’s roots. DNA is also playing an increasingly important role in criminal investigations. Unfortunately, many people do not realize how information stored in genetic databases may be used against them or others, and criminal justice advocates are questioning how storing and sharing this data may affect people’s rights.

DNA Databases Used in Criminal Investigations

Genetic information is being used in more and more criminal cases. Evidence gathered at a crime scene may be compared to DNA information in a variety of genetic databases to identify potential suspects. While this practice has led to some high-profile arrests, such as the identification of the “Golden State Killer,” it has also led privacy advocates to raise concerns. 

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Should Juvenile Offenders Receive Protection Against Life Sentences?

 Posted on March 28,2022 in Criminal Law

b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_2087573356.jpgMinors who are charged with criminal offenses will often struggle to protect their rights during the legal process. In many cases, prosecutors will seek harsh sentences, and if a person is convicted, they may be required to spend significant time in prison, and they may also experience multiple types of collateral consequences after being released. Advocates for criminal justice reform are working to address the practices followed by prosecutors, and one issue that has been highlighted recently involves life sentences for minors who are tried as adults for violent crimes.

Prosecutors Recommend Limits on Life Sentences for Juveniles

Recently, a coalition of prosecutors who work at the federal, state, and local levels suggested that the United States should limit the use of life sentences without parole for juvenile offenders. The group urged Attorney General Merrick Garland to review cases where prosecutors seek these types of sentences and only allow these harsh penalties in cases where a juvenile offender is incapable of rehabilitation. It also suggested that for all other juvenile offenders, sentences should be limited to no more than 30 years.

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How Have Increases in Violent Crime Affected Criminal Justice Reform?

 Posted on March 21,2022 in Hartford Criminal Defense Attorney

b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_84312832.jpgOver the past decade, advocates for criminal justice reform have worked to highlight problems in the justice system, and some government officials have begun to implement progressive policies meant to address these issues. Unfortunately, the rates of violent crime have increased over the past couple of years, and this may affect efforts to reform the justice system. As more people become concerned about violence, they have begun to elect prosecutors and other officials who promote “tough on crime” policies. This may make it more difficult for those who are facing criminal charges to receive fair treatment and avoid serious penalties.

Concerns About Crime and Lenient Policies

In recent years, people throughout the United States have been made aware of inequities in the justice system. The Black Lives Matter movement has highlighted the abuses that police officers often commit against minorities and people of color. Organizations such as the ACLU have worked to educate people about the uphill battle that many people face when they are charged with crimes, the lengthy sentences that apply even for low-level offenses, and the collateral consequences that can affect people’s lives when they are convicted. As a result, several states have begun to make reforms, such as by reducing or eliminating cash bail or limiting the types of cases where minors may be charged as adults. Some prosecutors have also made efforts to address these issues, such as by pursuing shorter sentences or limiting prosecutions for non-violent offenses.

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