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Hartford, CT criminal defense attorney for immigration casesImmigration still remains a hotly debated topic in American politics. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials have tried multiple ways to get state and local law enforcement agencies to help them detain undocumented immigrants. While some states and cities have complied with these requests, others have not. Connecticut has long been considered a “sanctuary state” due to its unwillingness to help ICE detain immigrants. The Trust Act that was passed in 2013 details Connecticut’s policy of a hands-off approach when it comes to ICE. However, even with these policies in place, the state has provided information about criminal cases involving immigrants to federal agencies for years.

What Is the Trust Act?

The most common way ICE asks for help with detaining immigrants is by issuing a civil detainer to law enforcement agencies. Historically, Connecticut has not willingly provided information to ICE about immigrants. The Trust Act actually prevented local law enforcement agencies in Connecticut from detaining immigrants on the basis of a civil detainer, unless the immigrant was on a federal terrorist watch list, had been convicted of a Class A or B felony, or had a judicial order issued against them.

Connecticut May Actually Be Helping ICE

Even though Connecticut has laws preventing law enforcement agencies from detaining an immigrant solely based on their status, the state has been helping ICE in other ways. When former Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy was in office four years ago, his administration entered into an agreement with ICE, granting it access to the information that is contained in Connecticut’s law enforcement database. Even more recently, the state entered into an agreement to provide information directly to ICE in 2018. The agreement allows ICE to access the Connecticut On-Line Law Enforcement Communications Teleprocessing system, also known as COLLECT.

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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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Hartford drunk driving accident lawyerIn all states, it is illegal to drive or operate a vehicle when you are intoxicated or your blood alcohol content (BAC) is more than 0.08. Unfortunately, that does not mean that everyone refrains from doing so. According to the Connecticut Judicial Branch, there were around 8,390 DUI cases that were recorded in the state in 2018. It is well known that driving while you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol is dangerous and puts both you and everyone else on the road at risk. Alcohol-related car accidents can result in serious injuries to others and damage to their property. If you have been injured in a drunk driving accident, you have options for obtaining compensation. These include:

Suing the Driver

The first thing you could do is to attempt to obtain compensation from the driver or the person who caused the accident. In Connecticut, you can demonstrate fault for an accident by showing that the driver was acting negligently when the collisions occurred. If a driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the accident, this is usually sufficient to prove negligence.

Suing the Establishment

Another option for receiving compensation is to pursue a claim under the Connecticut Dram Shop Act. This is a law that allows a victim of a drunk driver to hold the establishment from which the alcohol was sold responsible for the accident. To pursue a claim under the Dram Shop Act, you must be able to prove that the establishment sold alcohol to the driver when he or she was already intoxicated and that the intoxication of the driver was the proximate cause of the accident in which you were injured.

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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 federal crime defense attorney for money laundering chargesIn many cases, alleged criminal activity that occurs in the United States involves earning money through illegal means. When businesses need to deal with cash, they may take steps to ensure that they can use, move, and store money. In some cases, this can result in accusations of money laundering, which occurs when profits from alleged illegal activity are made to seem legal. A person who is accused of money laundering may face criminal charges under state laws, but also federal laws in some situations.

What Is Money Laundering?

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), money laundering is the process in which the true origins of profits earned through criminal acts are concealed, and a person makes it look as though money was earned through legitimate means. There are many ways that money can be laundered. One of the most common methods is to funnel cash through a legitimate business. Money laundering can also be done by “smurfing” or “structuring,” which occurs when a person breaks up large amounts of cash and deposits it into multiple accounts in smaller quantities. Whatever the method of money laundering, it is illegal, and it can result in serious consequences.

Consequences Under Connecticut Law

Connecticut law defines four degrees of money laundering:

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