Recent Blog Posts

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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Can Residents of Connecticut Purchase and Use Recreational Marijuana?

 Posted on June 29,2022 in Criminal Defense

hartford criminal defense lawyerIn 2021, the state of Connecticut passed a law legalizing the adult use of marijuana for recreational purposes. Under this law, people over the age of 21 may possess up to 1.5 ounces of cannabis, and they are allowed to store up to five ounces in their homes in a locked container. While this has reduced the situations where people may face drug charges related to the possession of marijuana, there are a number of complications that still need to be addressed, including determining when cannabis and cannabis products will be available for purchase in the state. Because the options for legally purchasing marijuana are currently limited, those who sell the drug to others without authorization could potentially face criminal charges for drug distribution.

Complications Affecting the Legal Sale of Marijuana

While medical marijuana is available to purchase from licensed dispensaries by Connecticut residents who have medical cannabis cards, there are not currently any dispensaries or other businesses that have been authorized to sell recreational marijuana. Before retail sales can begin, all businesses involved in the supply chain must obtain the necessary licenses, including growers, testing labs, distributors, and retail stores. Certain capacity levels must also be met to meet the needs of the retail market; the law requires a total of 250,000 square feet of space in the state dedicated to growing and manufacturing cannabis.

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Court Ruling Addresses Right to an Attorney in Police Interrogations

 Posted on June 22,2022 in Criminal Defense

hartford criminal defense laywerDefendants in criminal cases often struggle to protect their rights, especially when police officers or other law enforcement officials use threats, lies, and coercion to extract confessions. While most people are aware of their “Miranda rights,” which include the right to remain silent and refuse to answer questions or provide information requested by police officers, as well as the right to be represented by an attorney, many people are convinced to waive these rights during an investigation or interrogation. A recent case in New Jersey illustrates how this issue may be handled in certain situations and how those who are accused of committing crimes can protect their rights.

New Jersey Supreme Court Reverses Verdict Based on Defendant’s Right to an Attorney

In the case of State v. Gonzalez, a woman who had worked as a nanny was accused of assaulting a child that was in her care and causing broken bones and other injuries. Prior to being interrogated by police officers, she had signed a waiver of her Miranda rights. During the interrogation, an officer lied to her and claimed that there was video surveillance of her interactions with the child. This led her to confess to abusing the child, and the officer also convinced her to write an apology note to the child’s parents.

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Drug Overdoses Increase Due to Widespread Availability of Fentanyl

 Posted on June 13,2022 in Criminal Defense

hartford criminal defense lawyerIn recent years, many people have become aware of the opioid crisis that is affecting people throughout the United States. Due to the widespread availability of prescription opioid painkillers, many people have become addicted to these drugs, leading them to turn to illegal sources. To make matters worse, fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, has become more available, and this drug has led to many overdoses. In addition to risks that may affect a person’s health and well-being, those who use fentanyl or other substances may face drug charges that could lead to serious criminal consequences. 

Counterfeit Drugs Lead to Increased Risks of Overdoses 

Fentanyl is a drug that is synthesized in laboratories, and unlike drugs such as heroin, it can be created using chemicals rather than being harvested from natural sources. Because it is much easier to create and distribute, it is highly profitable for drug trafficking rings. Unfortunately, it is also much more dangerous, and it can be 50 times as potent as heroin. 

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Why Do Police Officers Lie During Criminal Cases?

 Posted on June 02,2022 in Criminal Law

hartford criminal defense lawyerDishonesty is an issue that affects nearly every part of people’s lives. People lie for many reasons, and these lies can affect others in a variety of ways. However, there are some people that are expected to behave honestly, including police officers and other officials who are tasked with upholding the law. Unfortunately, law enforcement officials are as prone to dishonesty as everyone, and when they lie or bend the truth, this can have serious consequences for those who are involved in criminal cases. By understanding why police officers lie and the rights that apply to those who are arrested or charged with crimes, a person can protect themselves as they defend against criminal charges.

Types of Lies Told by Police

Deception can take multiple forms. Some lies involve complete deception in which a story is entirely fabricated and contains no truth. However, many lies are incomplete, and they may involve half-truths, exaggerations of facts, or the omission of pertinent information. Police officers may engage in all of these types of lies during the investigation or prosecution of an alleged crime. In fact, officers generally have no requirement to be truthful when questioning or interrogating suspects, and they may engage in dishonesty such as:

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