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.
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.
Connecticut residents likely became familiar with the Miranda warning after hearing police officers in films and television shows tell suspects that they had the right to remain silent and consult with an attorney. The rights referred to in the Miranda warning are provided by the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, but police officers were not required to inform suspects about them until 1966.
Prison populations in Connecticut and around the country swelled in the 1990s because of harsh sentencing laws passed to combat a crime wave linked to crack cocaine. The latest drug menace is the deadly opioid fentanyl, and Congress is once again being urged to take a hard line to protect the public. An emergency order made fentanyl a Schedule 1 controlled substance in February 2018. The Stopping Overdoses of Fentanyl Analogues Act would make the classification permanent.
Connecticut residents might be aware that the results of polygraph tests cannot be used in criminal trials because they are considered too unreliable. They may be surprised to learn that law enforcement still uses lie detectors as well as an equally dubious investigative technique known as Scientific Content Analysis. SCAN involves handing a suspect a pen and asking them to write down answers to a series of questions. Analysts then look at what suspects have written to determine whether they are being truthful.
The racial divide in state prison populations in Connecticut and around the country has narrowed considerably in recent years according to a recent report, but African Americans are still incarcerated at disproportionately high rates. The Council on Criminal Justice released its findings on Dec. 3. The nonpartisan group found that there are currently six African Americans behind state prison bars for every white inmate. That ratio was 9-1 about two decades ago.
Community service is an option that some Connecticut residents may have if they are not able to pay court fines and do not want to serve time in jail. At times, individuals are ordered by the court to perform community service. While it has proven beneficial for some individuals, it seems that there are some downsides to court-ordered community service.
As someone facing a criminal charge in Connecticut, you may have concerns about any potential eyewitnesses who plan to testify against you and how their testimony might impact your case. Historically, few types of evidence have proven as convincing to judges or juries as eyewitness testimony, which may lead you to believe that eyewitness statements are often valid and accurate. It turns out, however, that this is not always the case.
You know the feeling. You crest a hill on a Connecticut road and start your descent. Unfortunately, you fail to notice the law enforcement officer at the bottom aiming his or her radar gun directly at you. The result? You get a speeding ticket. What now? Should you just pay the darn thing or challenge your alleged traffic offense?
If you face criminal charges in Connecticut, chances are that the prosecutor will offer your attorney a plea bargain. But should you accept it? Obviously that depends on the exact nature of the plea bargain and the things you must agree to do.