Recent Blog Posts

Are Juvenile Offenders Subject to Cruel and Unusual Punishment?

 Posted on September 16, 2022 in Criminal Defense

juvenile criminal defense laywerThe criminal justice system in the United States often comes under fire for the way people are treated when they are arrested, charged with crimes, placed in detention, or imprisoned. While many criminal justice reform advocates have raised concerns about the treatment of adult prisoners, issues related to juvenile offenders are often even more troubling. Some recent reports have shown that minors in juvenile detention facilities throughout the United States are often subject to harsh treatment and placed in unsafe conditions. To ensure that their rights are protected, minors who are involved in the juvenile justice system and their family members can work with a criminal defense attorney who can help them determine the best ways to resolve their cases.

Problems With Juvenile Detention

When minors are accused of committing criminal offenses, juvenile courts will usually handle cases differently than when adults are prosecuted for crimes. The juvenile justice system is supposed to focus on rehabilitation rather than punishment. Minors should be provided with support to help address the causes of juvenile delinquency and help them avoid committing offenses in the future. While detention in juvenile facilities may be appropriate in some situations, other solutions may be used, such as placing a minor on probation, requiring them to attend educational classes or receive psychological treatment, or imposing sentences of community service and restitution.

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Does the Federal Bureau of Prisons Earn Profits From Prisoners’ Money?

 Posted on September 07, 2022 in Criminal Defense

hartford criminal defense lawyerThe prison industry has come under fire in recent years due to its focus on earning profits while failing to protect the rights of prisoners. While this has been an issue addressed by criminal justice activists in relation to private prisons, many have also raised concerns about the practices followed by government agencies. A recent report found that the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) has focused on using funds in accounts owned by prisoners to earn profits for the agency rather than paying restitution to victims or ensuring that prisoners meet other financial obligations, such as child support.

Prisoner Funds Managed by the BOP

The Federal Bureau of Prisons manages two separate pools of money owned by prisoners. The first is known as the deposit fund, and it may consist of any funds kept in accounts for prisoners, who may not have access to traditional bank accounts. The other pool consists of prisoner commissary accounts, and it is known as the Trust Fund. These accounts are used by prisoners to make purchases of food or other items while behind bars, as well as services such as phone calls or internet access. 

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Can Law Enforcement Access DNA Used to Screen Infants for Diseases?

 Posted on August 31, 2022 in Criminal Defense

Hartford criminal defense lawyerDNA evidence is being used more and more often in criminal cases. Since everyone's DNA is unique, samples of blood or other bodily substances left behind at a crime scene can often be used to identify suspects. However, because family members share genetic information, police officers may gather DNA from other people to attempt to determine whether their relatives may have committed crimes. This has raised a number of concerns about privacy and whether these types of searches are Constitutional. 

Lawsuit in New Jersey Challenges Collection of Baby DNA in Criminal Cases

The New Jersey Office of the Public Defender (OPD) recently took legal action to address a subpoena used in a case in which the New Jersey State Police were seeking to identify a suspect in a sexual assault that took place in 1996. The police had narrowed down the potential suspects to one of three brothers. While they did not have a search warrant allowing them to take DNA samples from any of the suspects, they did request a blood sample that was kept on file with the state's Newborn Screening Laboratory. This sample had been taken in 2012, and by comparing the child's DNA with the DNA from the original crime scene, investigators were able to determine that the baby was the child of the person suspected of committing the crime. This gave them enough information to request a search warrant for a DNA sample from the child's father and prosecute that person for the 1996 offense.

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Will the Federal Government Legalize Marijuana?

 Posted on August 23, 2022 in Criminal Defense

East Hartford drug crimes defense lawyerThe laws in the United States related to marijuana have undergone many changes in recent years, and this has led to some confusion about which laws apply in which locations. Multiple states, including Connecticut, have made marijuana legal for both recreational and medical use. Other states only allow marijuana to be used for medical purposes, and some still consider it to be an illegal drug. At the federal level, marijuana is still considered to be a controlled substance, which means that people could potentially face federal charges even if they purchase marijuana legally in one state but transport it to another state. Lawmakers have taken steps to address these issues, and recently, a bill was introduced in the U.S. Senate that would decriminalize marijuana at the federal level.

The Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act

In July of 2022, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York, Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey, and Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon formally introduced the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act (CAOA) in the U.S. Senate. When doing so, they noted that the overwhelming majority of people in the United States support the legalization of marijuana, and the majority of Americans also live in states where cannabis is legal in some form. They also stated that the so-called “war on drugs” and the prosecution of crimes related to marijuana has negatively affected many people, especially people of color, and decriminalization of marijuana will promote both justice and public safety.

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When Can False Memories Affect Criminal Cases?

 Posted on August 11, 2022 in Criminal Defense

East Hartford criminal defense lawyerMemories can be surprisingly unreliable. This can be a difficult idea to swallow, since people often have strong emotions associated with the memories of their life experiences. However, even when a person believes that they have a strong memory that allows them to recall facts, people, or experiences, they often get the details wrong. People may misremember the order of events, inadvertently combine multiple memories, or even believe that someone else’s memories are their own. Unfortunately, even when memories are unreliable, people may strongly believe that they are correct. When a person’s memories are a key factor in a criminal case, this may lead to wrongful convictions. 

Far too often, criminal charges are based on eyewitness testimony, without any other supporting evidence. A testimony given by a victim or witness to a crime can be powerful, and a witness's identification of a suspect in a criminal trial can seem like incontrovertible truth, especially when strong emotions are involved. However, the unreliability of memory can easily cause a victim or witness to identify the wrong person. 

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Are U.S. Citizens Protected Against Civil Rights Violations by Federal Officers?

 Posted on August 06, 2022 in Criminal Defense

Hartford criminal defense lawyerPeople in the United States have a number of protections against unfair or illegal actions by law enforcement officials. These Constitutional rights include Fourth Amendment protections against unlawful search and seizure. Under the Fourth Amendment, police officers or other officials generally cannot enter and search a person’s property without first receiving permission or obtaining a warrant. The First Amendment also protects the right to free speech and ensures that a person will not face retaliation for legal actions such as making a complaint. 

When these rights are violated in criminal cases or other situations, people may be able to take legal action to address the issue. Lawsuits may be filed seeking monetary compensation for civil rights violations, asking the government to take action against an official who committed a violation, and putting procedures in place to prevent similar violations from occurring in the future. However, due to a recent Supreme Court decision, the ability to pursue lawsuits in cases involving civil rights violations by federal agents may be limited.

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Can Police Obtain Video Footage from Doorbell Cameras Without a Warrant?

 Posted on July 28, 2022 in Criminal Defense

b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_1725082078-min.jpgDue to the availability of modern technology, people are under near-constant surveillance. Security cameras, traffic cameras, or other devices may capture footage of people in commercial buildings or other public places, and this footage may be turned over to law enforcement in cases where crimes allegedly occurred. However, more and more people are using cameras around their homes that may capture footage of others, including doorbell cameras produced by Ring (a subsidiary of Amazon) and other manufacturers. Recently, privacy advocates and those who are concerned about the overreach of law enforcement have raised concerns about when police may access footage from these cameras and how this footage may be used as evidence in criminal cases.

Amazon May Release Ring Doorbell Footage to Police Without Owners’ Consent

Doorbell cameras capture footage in a variety of situations, including when people activate a doorbell or when they are walking near a home. Law enforcement officials may believe that this footage may be helpful to identify people accused of committing crimes, and footage may also be used as evidence in a criminal case. However, police usually need to obtain a warrant before they can access footage, although they may also secure evidence with the permission of a doorbell camera’s owner.

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How False Claims of Child Abuse Can Lead to Wrongful Convictions

 Posted on July 25, 2022 in Criminal Defense

hartford criminal defense lawyerChildren deserve to grow up in a safe and healthy environment. Parents are not only required to provide for children’s needs, but they must also take the proper steps to protect them from harm. If parents fail to protect children from being injured, or if they are accused of intentionally harming children, they may face criminal charges for child abuse or neglect. However, there are many cases where parents may be falsely accused of child abuse, and they may be charged with crimes in situations where children suffered accidental injuries. 

How Shaken Baby Syndrome Can Lead to Child Abuse Accusations

Connecticut law states that a child may be considered to be abused if they suffer injuries that occurred through non-accidental means. A parent may also be accused of abuse if the explanations given for children’s injuries are inconsistent with medical findings regarding the probable causes of an injury. The law also requires “mandated reporters” such as doctors who provide treatment to children to report suspected child abuse to law enforcement.

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Supreme Court Ruling May Lead to Increased Gun Violence in the U.S.

 Posted on July 18, 2022 in Criminal Defense

connecticut-weapons-crimes-defense-attorney.jpgPeople in the United States rely on multiple types of laws that are meant to protect their safety. These laws address dangerous behavior, criminal actions, and products that can cause people harm. Unfortunately, many feel that a recent decision by the U.S. Supreme Court has weakened some of these laws, which may put more people at risk of being injured or killed by guns. This ruling seemed to come at the worst possible time, as the nation is still reeling from multiple cases involving mass shootings of innocent people, including children, by people who had obtained guns legally. 

Court Strikes Down New York Concealed Carry Law

In June of 2022, the Supreme Court ruled on the case of New York State Rifle & Pistol Assoc. v. Bruen, which addressed a state-level law in New York that limited the situations in which people could obtain licenses allowing them to carry concealed firearms. Unlike most other states, New York’s law had required people who applied for concealed carry licenses to demonstrate “proper cause” for why they should be allowed to possess and use concealed firearms in public. The Supreme Court struck down this law, and the majority opinion written by Justice Clarence Thomas stated that the law violated both the Second Amendment and the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. 

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How Does Federal Gun Safety Legislation Affect Weapons Charges?

 Posted on July 05, 2022 in Weapons Offenses

connecticut-weapons-charges-attorney.jpgIn recent years, the increase in the number of school shootings and other mass shootings has led many to call for new gun control laws to be put in place to help prevent these tragedies. Congress recently passed the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which was meant to improve gun safety and reduce potential threats to children and other members of communities throughout the United States. While this law has included several measures that may help address mental health and prevent gun violence from occurring, it may also increase the likelihood that people may face federal criminal charges related to the use, ownership, and sale of firearms. 

Potential Criminal Charges Under the BSCA

The gun safety law has increased the penalties for certain types of federal weapons offenses, and it has also created some new crimes at the federal level that may apply to those who purchase or sell firearms. The changes made by the law include:

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