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Hartford domestic violence defense attorneySince late March, the state of Connecticut, much like the rest of the country, has been in lockdown. The state’s stay-at-home order has prevented certain non-essential businesses from conducting in-person operations, and people may only leave their homes to perform essential tasks. For some families, this order has kept them safe. However, for families where domestic violence is a concern, this order may not have had the same effect. Connecticut domestic violence activists are concerned that victims are unable to receive the services they need, and those who are seeking protection or who need to defend against accusations of domestic violence may face difficulties in having their cases heard in court.

Has the Pandemic Increased Domestic Violence Calls?

According to the president and CEO of the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence (CCADV), calls to police regarding domestic violence increased by around 52 percent in early April of this year when compared to a similar period of time in early March. However, some law enforcement reports show that family violence calls decreased in the first two weeks of April 2020 compared to the same time period in 2019. Municipal and state police reported that there were 495 family violence calls placed in the first half of April, compared to 519 calls placed during the same period in 2019.

The pandemic has also affected the services available for victims. The state of Connecticut only has 227 licensed emergency beds for domestic violence victims, and these are now almost completely full. Thanks to a $15,000 grant from an anonymous donor, hotel rooms have been provided for an additional 29 victims.

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Connecticut sexual harassment defense lawyerIn 1972, the federal government of the United States passed what is known as the Educational Amendments Act, and one of the key provisions of this act is Title IX. This Act was quintessential in changing the landscape surrounding sexual misconduct in higher education in America. Title IX is a law that protects students from being discriminated against based on their sex when they are involved in educational programs that receive federal funding. Recently, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announced a few new rules that will be included in Title IX, and these could potentially affect cases involving allegations of sexual misconduct at colleges and universities.

What Is Title IX?

Title IX is known for prohibiting discrimination based on sex. Specifically, Title IX states that no student is permitted to, “be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination…” solely based on their sex. Title IX applies to more than 16,500 local school districts and 7,000 colleges nationwide, in addition to various charter schools, libraries, and museums. Title IX is also known for prohibiting and punishing sexual harassment, which is considered a form of sex discrimination.

Changes to Title IX

Recently, some major changes to Title IX have been announced, and these will go into effect in August 2020. One of those changes includes moving away from the single-investigator model. Rather than having one person investigate an accusation of misconduct, decide what evidence to use, and produce a report recommending an outcome, the final decision-maker for a case must be a different person than the investigator.

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Hartford criminal defense lawyer illegal video recordingSince the beginning of March, many states across the United States have enacted closures for non-essential businesses and stay-at-home orders for residents. The number of people who are now working from home and students who are attending school through online classes has skyrocketed. Many of these people have been using online video conferencing services such as Zoom, Skype, or Microsoft Teams. The use of these programs has been beneficial for people, but the legalities surrounding these services has been brought into question. Specifically, when is it legal to record someone in Connecticut, and could a person face criminal charges for making an illegal recording?

Who Must Be Aware of the Recording?

There are two stances that are common across the country when it comes to the legality of recording conversations. Some states are “two-party” consent states, which means that all parties involved in the conversation being recorded must be aware of the fact that the recording is taking place and must consent to it. The majority of states, however, are “one-party” consent states, meaning it is legal to record a conversation as long as one party consents to the recording.

In Connecticut, the legality of a recording depends on the circumstances of the situation. When recording an in-person conversation in which the parties are physically present in the same location, only one person needs to be aware of and consent to the recording. If none of the parties are aware of the recording, the person making the recording could be charged with eavesdropping, which is a Class D felony. Connecticut Class D felonies can result in up to five years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines.

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Connecticut quarantine violation lawyer coronavirus COVID-19The number of COVID-19 cases in the United States is increasing by the day, and some states have started to take more serious measures to prevent the spread of the infection. A majority of the states in the country have some sort of quarantine or stay-at-home order that prohibits people from leaving their homes except for work or travel that is deemed “essential.” In an unprecedented development, some states have even begun to implement coronavirus checkpoints to screen travelers as they come in and out of the state. Those who are planning to travel should be sure to understand their rights and be aware of the potential criminal consequences they could face for a violation.

Checkpoints Intend to Stop Spread of Coronavirus

Some states are stopping all vehicles that have out-of-state license plates and requiring them and their passengers to sign a form promising that they will self-quarantine for 14 days. Rhode Island, Florida, and Texas are also requiring travelers to provide an address where they will quarantine and a warning that they could be subject to an unannounced follow-up visit from public health officials at any time. Those who violate the quarantine requirements could face fines or even criminal charges.

States are still allowing travelers to enter and have not denied anyone entrance, though some smaller communities have. The Florida Keys and the Outer Banks in North Carolina have begun to deny non-residents entry into their communities. Everyone who tries to get into these communities is asked for their ID. Unless they have a local address or other proof of residency, they are denied entry.

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Hartford criminal defense lawyer coronavirus COVID-19The United States has quickly become the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the number of cases surpassing even China, the country where the virus originated. As of April 15, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that there were more than 600,000 cases in the U.S., with more than 24,000 related deaths. Because of the ability of the virus to spread so rapidly, states have been doing what they can to curb the spread. Recently, more individuals have become concerned with the prison population and how states are taking measures to protect inmates.

Problems With Prisons and COVID-19

The CDC has issued certain guidelines for people to follow to decrease their risk of contracting COVID-19, also known as coronavirus. These guidelines include social distancing, meaning keeping a distance of at least six feet between yourself and others, wearing cloth masks to reduce the likelihood of the virus spreading, and frequent and thorough hand washing with warm water and soap. In prison, many of these guidelines are impossible to adhere to. Because of this, the number of inmates and correctional workers who have tested positive for the virus is increasing. In Connecticut, there are currently 166 inmates and 104 staff members who have tested positive for the virus.

Connecticut Still Has No Official Plans for Inmate Release

In light of this, the state of Connecticut has still not released an official plan for inmate release. However, some inmates have been released from custody, according to information from Rollin Cook, the Department of Corrections commissioner. Cook stated that the inmate population in Connecticut has dipped below 12,000, the first time it has done so in 25 years. He also stated that the releases have not been mass releases, but releases have been limited to inmates who are elderly or have medical conditions that cause them to be considered high risk.

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