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Stamford Criminal Defense Law Blog

Connecticut woman faces DUI charge

A woman has been charged after being stopped while going the wrong way on Interstate 91, according to police. The 34-year-old Connecticut woman is facing a DUI charge after police stopped her early on the morning of March 29. She has since been released on bond and is expected to appear in court on May 22, where she will be represented by a criminal defense attorney. 

According to the report, at around 2:45 a.m., officers received a call about a wrong-way driver on I-91, traveling southbound near Exit 35 in Windsor. Police immediately moved to stop the driver, and the 34-year-old was taken into custody. She was transported by police to Troop H in Hartford. It is unclear from the report whether or not a breath or blood test was taken, or if any roadside sobriety tests were employed. 

Man faces DUI charge in Connecticut

A man is facing a serious charge following a head-on crash in the town of Shelton. Connecticut police arrested the 29-year-old man, who is now facing a DUI charge as well as several other charges related to the incident. He was scheduled to appear in court on March 18 for the beginning of his trial. It is unknown whether he retained criminal defense counsel before that date. 

According to the limited information available, it appears the man was traveling southbound on River Road in Shelton around 7 p.m. on the evening of March 4 when the accident occurred. Apparently, his vehicle went over the center line, and he struck a northbound car head-on. Two people in the struck vehicle needed to be extricated by emergency personnel. Both individuals suffered serious but not life-threatening injuries. 

Connecticut: state trooper faces DUI charge

A state trooper has been arrested under suspicion of drunk driving, according to local authorities. Police in Waterbury arrested a Connecticut State Police trooper early in the morning of March 15. He now faces a DUI charge and was taken into custody. He has since been released on a $500 nonsurety bond, and will be appearing in court in April. 

Information about the incident is limited at this time, but it appears that around 12:50 a.m. officers responded to a 911 call about a parked police cruiser. The vehicle was found on the right-hand shoulder of I-84 in Waterbury, with its hazard lights on. The driver, a Middletown officer, appeared to be asleep or otherwise unresponsive at the wheel. 

Melee breaks out during arraignment hearing

A scuffle broke out in a Connecticut courtroom on March 9 when members of a 21-year-old murder victim's family clashed with people who supporting the man accused of committing the crime. The disturbance escalated into a brawl when bailiffs ordered the two factions to leave the arraignment hearing. According to media reports, one bailiff used pepper spray to break up a fight and others called the Connecticut State Police for assistance. After the disturbance had been subdued and three people had been taken into custody, the judge set the 21-year-old suspect's bond at $1 million and returned him to custody.

Prosecutors say the man has confessed to shooting and killing the victim when an argument about a car loan became heated. He allegedly admitted that he took a semiautomatic handgun to the meeting and told police where he concealed the weapon. The victim was shot in Hartford outside his residence and died after suffering multiple gunshot wounds to his torso and face.

Connecticut pilot pleads guilty to drug trafficking

A Connecticut pilot was sentenced to 30 months in prison for taking part in a marijuana-trafficking conspiracy. After he has served his time in prison, he will be released with two years of supervision. The 62-year-old man is believed to have transported two tons of marijuana during a several-year period.

The Federal Aviation Administration began investigating the man in 2016 after noticing that he made regular flights between Connecticut and northern California. In 2017, agents searched his plane after it landed at the Sikorsky airport. During the search and seizure, agents found more than 400 pounds of marijuana. It was later determined that the marijuana was intended to be distributed to several men in Connecticut.

Man charged with DUI, fleeing scene after crash

A 66-year-old man from Connecticut has multiple charges against him after allegedly hitting an SUV outside of a school. The man fled the scene after the accident, which occurred in the early afternoon on Jan. 10 as the owner of the SUV was picking up her children from school.

The vehicle had the passenger door open to allow the children to enter the vehicle. The man was driving a 1978 Ford Bronco. According to media sources, he approached the SUV, brushed against the woman and smashed the passenger door. No one was injured in the incident. The man stopped briefly before leaving the scene. Police used school surveillance and talked to local businesses to identify the male driver. The woman also remembered part of the license plate of the vehicle.

Talking about race in court can reduce juror and court bias

In Connecticut and around the country, racial bias can have an impact in criminal cases. Most people hold implicit biases, and defense attorneys need to talk about race to help jurors to consider cases without being impacted by the ones that they might have.

According to the American Bar Association, criminal defense lawyers who are representing minorities can take several steps to reduce implicit bias among the jurors and the judge both before and during trials. In cases in which police officers stop minorities because of racial bias, the attorneys can file pretrial motions to challenge the reasons for the stops as pretextual. They can also file pretrial motions to request the use of experts to testify about the impact that race can have on charging decisions.

Reformers call for changes to cash bail system

In Connecticut and across the country, inequities around cash bail have sparked widespread calls for change. Cash bail systems mean that people living in poverty who are jailed for misdemeanor charges or minor drug cases are unable to post bail, remaining in jail before trial, while wealthy people facing much more serious charges like rape or murder are able to pay for their freedom. Research has indicated that pretrial detention can have a serious impact on the outcome of a criminal trial. People detained before their trials are often more likely to be convicted or face higher sentences regardless of the seriousness of the underlying charges.

There are several proposals to change Connecticut's cash bail system in line with reforms being implemented elsewhere in the country. Some are proposing that pretrial detention be based solely on the charges involved and whether a person is considered dangerous or a flight risk rather than involving cash and asset-based guarantees. One state senator said that the cash bail system as it currently exists is essentially a further punishment for poverty. Pre-trial detention can make many people's situations much worse, even if they are eventually exonerated. They may lose their jobs or their housing while detained and face additional pressure to plead guilty in order to resolve their case more quickly.

Connecticut judge denies defense motions in murder case

The legal team representing a Connecticut man who is accused of killing his wife were dealt a number of setbacks on Jan. 27. A Superior Court judge denied defense motions to exclude evidence recovered from an electronic fairness monitoring device, prevent testimony about police dog searches, change the trial's venue, and exclude residents from the man's home town from sitting on the jury. The man claims an unidentified armed home intruder murdered his wife and then assaulted him.

The most heated arguments centered on the reliability of Fitbit activity tracking devices. An expert witness called by prosecutors told the judge that Fitbits are generally viewed as reliable and the device worn by the victim is known for its accuracy. Under questioning from defense attorneys, the expert conceded that the electronic monitors have an error rate of about 10%. Prosecutors successfully argued that the electronic evidence should be introduced and it was up to the jury to decide how much weight to give it.

Tip leads police to alleged drug deal

A tip about a possible drug transaction led to three individuals being taken into custody in Connecticut on the evening of Jan. 23. Officers from the Stamford Police Department's Narcotics and Organized Crime Unit went into action after learning that a black sedan would be arriving at a parking lot on Perry Street to sell illegal drugs. Initial reports do not reveal if the information was provided anonymously or received from an informant.

Officers were waiting when the car appeared at about 7:30 p.m. They approached the black car after blocking it in with their police vehicle according to media reports. When they began to ask questions, officers say that a 26-year-old man sitting in the back of the car pulled 10 bundles out of waistband and placed them by his feet. Each of the bundles allegedly contained 10 folds of heroin. Police say that each of the folds would have been sold for $20 on the street. Marijuana worth approximately $100 in addition to $231 in U.S. currency were also allegedly discovered in the car.

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