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​Articles about State ​Criminal Defense - from the news

​Bridgeport man charged after attempting to evade the police

Sometimes being arrested can be a confusing experience. The suspect may be frightened and may not know why they are being pursued, so they may opt to flee or evade arrest. In Connecticut and elsewhere, instead of helping their situation, evading arrest adds to an already complicated and frightening situation and can lead to even more negative consequences.

Law enforcement officials entered the third-floor residence of a 21-year-old Bridgeport man on a warrant, but he only made matters worse by trying to evade authorities. Witnesses saw him throw items from his window into a neighboring yard and then he tried to jump from his balcony only to be pulled onto a second-story landing by police.

One of the items he threw from the window turned out to be a stolen .40 caliber semi-automatic pistol. Additionally, authorities found crack cocaine, another loaded firearm, and cash in the residence. The man now faces several charges, including possession of narcotics with the intent to sell and possession with intent to see within 1500 feet of a school. In addition, because he tried to flee, the man has also been charged with destruction of property during a warranted search, interfering with police, and tampering with evidence. He also faces charges for firearms possession and theft.

If you have been charged with drug crimes, you are innocent until proven guilty and are entitled to a criminal defense attorney. Before you enter a plea or accept any deals, you should speak with an experience criminal defense attorney who can explain your rights and help you build a good defense.

Source: CBS Connecticut, “Bridgeport Man Arrested On Gun Charges, Drug Possession,” July 18, 2013

City of New York settles with man who was wrongfully imprisoned

Even in the worst case where someone has been convicted of ​criminal charges in Fairfield County, it is important for them to realize there is still hope. Because there is always the opportunity to appeal, no matter how serious the crime was, everyone should continue to fight for their innocence and acquittal.

A New York man who was wrongfully convicted for a murder more than 20 years ago is now free and has agreed to a settlement against the city for his wrongful conviction. According to reports, the 59-year-old man was wrongfully convicted in 1990 for the murder of a popular Brooklyn rabbi despite the fact there was no physical evidence connecting him to the crime.

A 2011 follow-on investigation revealed that there was evidence of questionable behavior by the lead detective in the case, including witness coaching. The man who was convicted sued the city for $150 million after he was released. The settlement covers both the time he spent in prison and his wrongful conviction and entitles him to $6.4 million from the city. The man and his attorney are now also seeking a wrongful conviction lawsuit against the state.

As this case shows, not all hope is lost even when someone has wrongfully spent more than 20 years in prison. Because of due diligence, even after his conviction, he achieved justice and was acquitted. If you have been charged or convicted of a serious crime, you can still be found innocent when all the facts come to light. Your best course of action is to secure the services of an experienced and dedicated criminal defense attorney who will fight for you.

Source: New York Daily News, “Wrongfully imprisoned man David Ranta gets $6.4M in settlement with city following 23 years behind bars,” Oren Yaniv and Larry McShane, Feb. 21, 2014

Connecticut man arrested after allegedly assaulting store clerk

Every day in Fairfield County, people are charged with crimes, but being charged does not mean you are guilty, even when the evidence points to a particular person. Everyone is innocent until proven guilty, and no one should give up on being found innocent no matter how bad the evidence may look.

A New London man was arrested and charged by authorities with a hate crime recently after he allegedly assaulted a store clerk at Sam’s Food Store. Reports state that police responded to a call about a fight in the store and arrested the man after arriving at the scene. According to the report, the man got upset with the clerk, threw money at him, then proceeded to assault him behind the counter.

According to investigators, the man allegedly threatened and punched the clerk while referencing his nationality. Because of these actions, he was charged with intimidation based on bigotry and bias, assault in the third degree, and breach of peace. Reports state the clerk’s injuries were not believed to be serious, and there were no reports as to what provoked the man allegedly to assault him.

A conviction from this case could result in prison time. While it may seem that the evidence points to him being at fault, the fact is that there are still several questions that remain to be answered such as what provoked him and whether the store clerk threatened him in any way. This is a good example of a case where securing an expert criminal defense attorney can mean the difference between being found guilty and being acquitted.

Source: NBC Connecticut “Man charged with hate crime after attacking clerk,” Dec. 6, 2013.

Connecticut officers' conviction for harassment is telling

In Fairfield County and elsewhere, there are circumstances where people accused of crimes are genuinely innocent. Further, there are circumstances where law enforcement officials themselves do not adhere to the law. Because of these kinds of situations, people facing criminal charges should continue to hope they will be proven innocent.

A recent report illustrates an instance of this fact. Four East Haven police officers have been convicted of harassing Hispanics to deny them their civil rights, leaving a black mark, as it is said, on all East Haven government officials. Further, two of the convicted officers were previously involved in the false arrest of a Catholic priest who videotaped their alleged misconduct. The video proved the priest was innocent, but the department never formally censured the officers for that situation.

Making matters worse, a recent Connecticut state government commission found that the state faces more police corruption than ever before, bringing into question whether any public inquiry into criminal justice is legitimate. A critical factor in this question revolves around the reality that the public is not allowed to access information regarding criminal justice, creating the potential for detrimental consequences. By having a policy that restricts access to information, it can make it easier for law enforcement officials, prosecutors, and judges to commit acts of misconduct or negligence.

While it is unfortunate that anyone in a position expected to uphold the law would commit crimes themselves, these incidents commonly occur, and that is why it is essential for anyone in the Stamford area who has been arrested or charged with a crime themselves to see out the counsel of an experienced criminal defense attorney.

Source: Journal Inquirer, “East Haven police corruption still taints all Connecticut,” Chris Powell, Oct. 26, 2013.

Crime labs ridden with shoddy work, poor regulation

The work done at a crime lab is of the utmost importance. Even the most insignificant evidence evaluated by a lab can provide the information necessary to hand someone a life-long prison sentence or completely exonerate them. Everyone involved in a criminal trial depends on the accuracy of crime lab results to help determine the facts in a case, yet evidence shows that dependence might be unwarranted, as a new report states.

A New York City medical examiner’s office similar to ones in Connecticut has begun to review more than 800 sex crimes cases after it discovered than a technician may have displayed incompetence in mishandling an array of evidence sent to the lab for evaluation. The review has already found 26 cases where based on evidence mishandled by the technician.

A significant concern based on the news of this incompetent handling is the potential for cross-contamination wherein DNA from one person is mistakenly attached to a case involving an innocent suspect. In a case similar to the one in New York, a Boston forensic chemist was found to have mishandled thousands of samples, resulting in the overturning of 1,000 criminal convictions.

These cases provide a significant challenge to criminal investigation, prosecution, and sentencing, especially given that there is no national standard or accreditation system for American crime labs.

If justice is going to be secured in a criminal case involving drug crimes, violent crime, sex crimes, or even white-collar crime, everyone involved must be able to trust the evidence presented as being factual. For this reason, it is of the utmost importance that a suspect secure the services of an expert criminal defense attorney to help build a solid defense and hold investigators responsible for the accuracy of their work. Working with the right attorney can help ensure the proper legal outcome.

Source: Slate, "The Unsettling, Underregulated World of Crime Labs," Justin Peters, Jan. 14, 2013

Defendants in all cases have a right to a fair and well-conducted investigation and trial. For more information, contact our Fairfield County criminal defense ​lawyers.

False identifications can lead to criminal charges

Connecticut law enforcement officials follow a strict protocol regarding the investigation process when a crime has been committed. This protocol governs every aspect of collecting evidence, interviewing witnesses, and identifying suspects. The hardest part of the process is obtaining accurate and reliable statements from witnesses as has been evidences by other evidence, such as DNA, contradicting witness statements.

Over the past 25 years, more than 170 suspects have been cleared of charges as the result of DNA evidence. In fact, almost 75 percent of suspects wrongly convicted on criminal charges were the victims of mistaken identity resulting from unreliable or manipulated memories of victims and witnesses.

Often, the witnesses are not being intentionally dishonest; rather, factors like stress and attention-grabbing elements like seeing a knife can affect how a witness sees and interprets a situation, blocking out important details and affecting what the witness remembers. Further, a witness’s memory can be further affected after the incident by investigators offering them suggestive cues in their attempt to help the witness correctly identify a suspect. For example, having a witness pick out a suspect from a line-up when the actual suspect is not there can cause the witness to pick another person who appears similar.

Because no one’s memory is perfect, especially when someone is faced with danger or stress, it is crucial that witness statements should not be used as primary evidence against someone suspected of a crime.

Source: ctpost.com, "Speaker says crime witnesses not always right," Deanna Darr, March 19, 2013

Home invasion lands three in jail without bail

​The holiday season is filled with emotion and excitement for many people, and for some people, this leads to making snap decisions as the result of quickened tempers that can permanently alter the return to normalcy and routine that most people experience. Decisions made on impulse can lead to situations that result in criminal charges and the potential for serious sentencing.

Three New England men succumbed to this impulse by deciding to forcibly enter a home earlier in the holiday season are may now face permanent repercussions because of their actions. An 80-officer sweep involving police from Connecticut and Massachusetts as well as the South County Crime and Drug Task Force apprehended the men and charged them with numerous crimes.

The men, ranging from 26 to 61 in age, are being held without bail in Massachusetts after appearing last week in the Dudley District Court. They were apprehended on New Year’s Day after being suspected of forcibly entering a first-floor Dudley apartment on December 13 and causing severe injuries to two people by assault.

Officials pressed numerous charges against the trio, including mayhem, armed assault in a dwelling, home invasion, felony for hire, possessing a firearm with a felony conviction, and conspiracy.

These sorts of crimes involve very strict sentencing possibilities including jail time, crippling fines, and long-term parole that will follow those charged for the rest of their lives. Charges like these can never be ignored, and anyone facing them should seek out the advice of a criminal defense attorney to build the best defense and map out the options for the potential of lessened or dismissed charges.

Source: Worcester Telegram & Gazette, "Three held without bail in Dudley home invasion," Jan. 2, 2013

​Our firm can help those staring down charges similar to the ones the above men are up against. For more information, contact our Stamford criminal defense law page.

Judge grants lawyer's acquittal request in murder trial

As the result of a conviction, people in the Bridgeport area may come to feel that the life they believed they had is over. There is always hope, however, even after a conviction in that a retrial or a successful appeal is still possible. No one wants to be charged with or convicted of a crime, but if they have, they should not abandon hope for a reversal of their fortunes.

One such case is the recent successful request for an acquittal for a man charged with killing a high school basketball star. A judge ruled in favor of the man’s attorney’s request just three days after the prosecution’s most important witness reportedly declined to testify despite the fact the witness had previously told investigators the defendant bragged about killing the victim.

The judge told the prosecution it had not proved its case beyond a reasonable doubt and ordered the defendant released. Reports stated that, during the portion of the trial where the jury was not allowed in the courtroom, those in the courtroom heard a tape of the witness’s testimony wherein he reportedly told investigators that the defendant shot the teen by accident during a failed robbery attempt. The defendant’s attorney argued that, even with the witness testimony in person, the outcome would have likely been the same.

Anyone facing criminal charges should act fast in finding an expert criminal defense attorney to build the best defense case possible. Doing so may result in a far better outcome than might be otherwise achieved.

Source: New Haven Register, “Acquittal motion granted in New Haven trial in slaying of Timothy Mathis,” Randall Beach, Dec. 16, 2013

Man facing several charges after altercation with co-worker

People in the Bridgeport area sometimes make poor decisions that result in a criminal charge. They should take such a situation seriously, as the consequences of a conviction can follow a person for a lifetime. Being arrested for a crime, however, does not mean that a person is guilty or should face the maximum penalty if convicted.

Investigators are still trying to piece together evidence as the result of a recent altercation between co-workers at a Fairfield restaurant. Reports indicate the investigators tried to obtain evidence from the restaurant’s video surveillance system, but the camera was not working correctly. Further, their attempts to gather more information from the restaurant owner and manager did not provide any new evidence.

One man has been charged with the incident, in which reports say he made slurs about his co-worker’s sexual orientation. Reports indicate that the man, 48 and from Stratford, has been charged with a bias crime, second-degree assault, breach of the peace, and second-degree intimidation based on bigotry or bias. Reports state the victim also claims he suffered a cut to his chest as a result of the suspect throwing a knife at him.

If the suspect is convicted, he could face significant penalties, including a long prison sentence; however, as with any charges, he is innocent until he is proven guilty, meaning that now is his best time to contact an expert criminal defense attorney to help him build the best defense case possible. If you face criminal charges, don’t wait to retain the best lawyer possible.

Source: Connecticut Post, “Restaurant employee charged with assault, bias crime against co-worker,” Mar. 24, 2014

Man finally freed after 25 years for murder he didn’t commit

Not everyone in Fairfield County charged with a crime is guilty. Sometimes, the person accused was not even in the state at the time the alleged crime occurred. Sometimes, however, despite having proof of your innocence, people are still wrongfully convicted.

Recent reports indicate a man who was found guilty of shooting his friend back in 1989 has been set free by a Brooklyn, New York judge. He was reportedly convicted of murder despite the tangible proof he was in Florida and had a Florida hotel receipt showing he had just paid for a room hours before the crime was committed.

Also, the man had airline ticket stubs, postcards, and a video from his trip. Somehow none of this was enough to prevent his conviction. Prosecutors claim that he could have been in New York at the time, and an eyewitness, who later admitted she was lying and recanted her testimony, claimed she saw the man pull the trigger.

Anyone charged with a crime should seek the help of an expert criminal defense lawyer, but especially anyone wrongfully convicted. Because not all attorneys have the same level of experience and capabilities, it is crucial to make sure you choose from the best to help you fight your conviction.

Source: USA Today, “Man cleared of NYC murder after 25 years in prison,” USA Today, Apr. 8, 2014.

Young mother charged after one son bites the other

People are charged with crimes every day in the Stamford area, but not everyone charged with a crime is guilty. Many circumstances can lead to charges, but everyone charged should remember that they are innocent until proven guilty.

A young Torrington mother has been charged with risk of injury to a minor after she allegedly failed to protect her 19-month-old son from his two-year-old brother. Law enforcement officials arrested the woman after her son was treated for severe bite wounds to his body. Reports state that the 27-year-old woman was aware her younger son was being bitten by her younger son, and doctors and investigators both said she should have found a way to prevent the attacks.

The mother claimed her sons would fight over toys which would result in her older son biting her younger son. When doctors treated the younger son, they found 11 fresh bite marks and had evidence of previous wounds that were healing. They claim the attacks went on for at least a month and that the mother allegedly never did anything to stop them.

While the evidence in this case against the woman appears to be damaging as is true in most criminal cases, just like all defendants, she is innocent until proven guilty. Her best course of action may be to seek out the counsel of an expert criminal defense attorney, as should anyone facing similar charges in the Fairfield County area.

Source: NBC Connecticut, “Mom charged after son suffered deep bite wounds,” Ilana Gold, Jan. 10, 2014

Contact a ​Connecticut Criminal Defense Attorney in Fairfield County

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