We have a national excessive use of force problem in our law enforcement community. The onslaught of examples in the last nine months has moved this issue to the forefront.
We have a national excessive use of force problem in our law enforcement community. The onslaught of examples in the last nine months has moved this issue to the forefront.
At nearly 170 pages in length and consisting of a majority opinion, one concurrence and two dissents, the Connecticut Supreme Court's recent and momentous 6-2 decision in Lapointe v. Commissioner of Correction will be praised by many for correcting a gross miscarriage of justice that had resulted in the imprisonment of a mentally impaired person for 26 years for a crime he likely did not commit.
For as long as there has been more than one law school, students probably have been transferring from the law school where they spent their first year to a school they perceived as more suitable to their needs.
Webster's Dictionary defines sarcasm as "a cutting, hostile or contemptuous remark; the use of caustic or ironic language." It was probably no surprise to most, therefore, when a recent study by a University of California law professor identified Justice Antonin Scalia as the most sarcastic justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.
In the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo attacks, Rupert Murdoch posted the following message on Twitter: "Maybe most Moslems peaceful, but until they recognize and destroy their growing jihadist cancer they must be held responsible."
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights has been interpreted to ensure a right to counsel in appropriate civil cases in which basic human rights are at stake.
What kind of a message does this send to parolees, let alone law-abiding citizens? That government corruption is alive and well in the state of Corrupticut!
As an entirely unsolicited and hopefully not entirely ignored offering, we ask the Connecticut General Assembly to take the following suggestions to heart.
For more than a half century he reigned as one of the greatest trial lawyers at the bar. From his improbable (only one year out of law school)—but ultimately successful—representation of Dr. Sam Sheppard, charged with murdering his wife, to the brilliant and blistering cross-examination of rogue police detective Mark Fuhrman in the O.J. Simpson trial, F. Lee Bailey did what most trial attorneys can only dream of doing.
This space has recently lauded the efforts of entities helping those released from prison re-enter society in a productive way. So Gov. Dannel Malloy's recent announcement of a number of initiatives under the rubric of a second-chance society is most welcome.
In April 2012, Connecticut became the 17th state to repeal the death penalty. However, the law was written to apply only to crimes committed prospectively. At the time, Connecticut had 11 inmates on death row.
Recently, the Law Tribune published a guest commentary entitled "Elected Attorneys General Prone to Politicized Behavior." In that piece, Paul Nolette, a political science professor, argued that state attorneys general should be appointed to office, rather than elected, on the theory that appointed attorneys general are "considerably less likely to engage in politically activist behavior than their elected colleagues."
Every adult who has tried to keep a toddler from playing in traffic must have been relieved when the Connecticut Supreme Court in January ruled against 17-year-old Cassandra C.'s bid to avoid cancer treatments.
The Connecticut General Assembly must get out ahead of the problems inherent in the uncontrolled use of drones.
An excellent study of Connecticut's costly prison system released last year by the Malta-Justice Initative shows the staggering costs, waste and futility of mass incarceration of non-violent offenders.
Law firms, accounting firms and most other personal service businesses typically use the simple cash method of accounting for tax purposes, pursuant to which income is not recognized until payment for the services rendered is actually received.
The Hartford-to-New Britain 9.4-mile CT fastrak busway is about to commence operation and it is already heading off in the wrong direction.
Last summer, the Connecticut Law Tribune published an editorial titled "Is the Art Trove of the City of Detroit Subject to Liquidation to Satisfy the City's Creditors?"
The Connecticut Supreme Court ended 2014 by laying an ostrich-sized egg when it decided to put Officer Justin Loschiavo back to work in the Stratford Police Department.
The Connecticut Sex Offender Registry has some 5,600 registrants. This boggles the mind. Is there any way to determine which of the people on the registry really is dangerous, or a real threat to the community? The answer is no!
Recently, LegalZoom, the online popular purveyor of legal services, emboldened by its success in thus far avoiding conviction for practicing law without a license, announced it would begin offering its products through Sam's Club, Wal-Mart's big box discount store.
Twelve people were killed last week in Paris for expressing ideas with which others disagreed. Those who disagreed had guns.
The law regarding child support, now codified in General Statutes §46b-84, has been around a long time. That statute, like many other legislative enactments in the area of family law, assumes that our courts will exercise discretion when making child support determinations.
For many of us in the legal community, the demands and responsibilities of clients, court appearances and the endless pressure of the bottom line create stress that can be difficult to surmount.
It may be time for Hartford, and other municipalities, to consider a more organic definition of 'family", and there may be such a definition that will work.
Most of us love a quotable decision that is straight and to the point. Judge Richard Posner of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit gave us just that in his opinion for a unanimous three-judge panel in Baskin vs Bogan upholding a district court ruling striking down same-sex marriage bans in Indiana and Wisconsin.
Judge Richard Posner has urged the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse his own original decision in the landmark case of Crawford v. Marion County Election Board.
It is not yet clear whether the Connecticut Supreme Court will examine the extraordinary prior restraint case that arose in Superior Court Judge Stephen Frazzini's New Britain courtroom Nov. 24.
In an effort to end segregation in housing, 46 years ago Congress passed Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, also known as the Fair Housing Act (FHA). The statute declares: "It is the policy of the United States to provide, within constitutional limitations, for fair housing throughout the United States."
Like the rest of us, courts and judges have found themselves in the Digital Age. The convenience of email is a miracle, and it's no wonder everyone (or so it seems) takes advantage of it. Sometimes it gets us in trouble. Ask former Chief Judge Richard Cebull of the U.S. District Court for Montana.
State court prosecutors in Connecticut should carefully exercise their charging function, and should not let the police determine charges in warrantless arrests.
Every year in the fall, First Amendment advocates join librarians, teachers, and journalists to celebrate Banned Books Week.
According to Wikipedia, the term "political correctness" refers to enforced language, ideas or policies that address perceived discrimination against political, social or economic groups.
What should happen when a person in possession of a firearm tells a family member or a counselor that he intends to shoot himself or someone else?
We mourn the passing of one of Connecticut's greatest citizens and a giant of the bench and bar. Judge John T. Downey died Nov. 17 at the age of 84
A decision released this past summer by the Connecticut Appellate Court, CitiMortgage v. Rey, No. AC 35539 (June 3, 2014), makes for a fairly dry read, but it's important and may materially alter the playing field between mortgage lenders and borrowers.
When it comes to trial management, there are aspects of divorce trials that deserve special attention and consideration.
For individuals who have been arrested, the Internet can be a devastating place. Regardless of how their cases were resolved, an online arrest record can permanently haunt a person.
The U.S. has long resisted a comprehensive policy on data privacy or on individual privacy in general.
There is a new phenomenon called "forgotten baby syndrome"—at least that's the medical explanation for how a parent can walk away from a car without realizing his child remains behind.
The recent unrest in Ferguson, Mo., should be a wake-up call for Connecticut's prosecutors to engage their constituents now. When the citizenry becomes disconnected from its institutions, a lack of trust is sure to follow.
Nearly every law school in America is facing declining applications. Nationally, the level of applications has declined back to the level of 1976.
The Connecticut Bar Examining Committee has taken an admirable but long overdue step to amend its questions regarding mental health.
Analysis of the Hobby Lobby decision has swirled across news and social media since its June 30 release.
For well over a decade leaders in the organized bar have focused on the quality of civility and professionalism among lawyers.
Recently, counsel for a Connecticut independent school prepared a memorandum on the role of trustees. This checklist exemplifies many sound board practices and may be useful guidance to other boards of nonprofit entities.
The practice of law is a people business, centered largely around relationships. Having connections helps get clients, jobs, referrals, interviews, leadership positions and even award nominations.
When the state is undertaking the construction of a building, like any other owner would in the private sector, there is simply no reason to allow its representatives to escape the consequences of inexcusable delay in exercising the state's rights.
We encourage attorneys to embrace panel voir dire jury selection in Connecticut state civil trial courts.
It was recently announced that a Connecticut attorney has been suspended from practice for four months and prohibited from representing women for the rest of his legal career.
Is paying a law student for the services he or she renders in an externship so fundamentally inconsistent with the educational objectives of such a program that academic credit should not be awarded to the student?
In any community in America, police incident reports are at the center of the media's hard news coverage, providing an ongoing record of where criminal events are flaring up, and who's involved.
The American Civil Trial Bar Roundtable recently issued a thoughtful, comprehensive and insightful white paper on increasing the professionalism of American lawyers.
Tens of thousands of desperate, poor, vulnerable children need and deserve our protection and to be treated with respect.
While part-time schedules for lawyers may be different from those in other professions, we think they are still feasible.
I had to double check to make sure I wasn't reading an article in The Onion a few weeks ago when Chief State's Attorney Kevin Kane argued in the New Haven Register that the way to ensure "conviction integrity" was to give his prosecutors broader, unchecked power to conduct investigations and arrest citizens of Connecticut.
On July 21st, HBO will begin airing "The Newburgh Sting," a documentary that focuses on four U.S. citizens prosecuted as "home-grown terrorists." The movie premiered at this year's TriBeCa's Film Festival.
At its best, a great work of art is an object which consoles the spirit in difficult times, and inspires one's life in better times. Unfortunately, to a great extent it has now become a "commodity," bought, sold, and donated primarily because of its inherent value.
In what will hopefully be the death knell of an ill-conceived and poorly executed policy, the Office for Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division recently have warned local and state departments of education that the application of zero tolerance in student discipline policies is a potential basis for a finding of discrimination on the basis of race, color or national origin.
Over the last decade, employers have more and more often incorporated jury waiver or mandatory arbitration clauses into their employment arrangements to avoid the perceived horror of facing jury review of the way they treat their employees. These clauses are often presented in circumstances that many argue are deceptive, if not downright coercive.
In a pathetic display of political posturing on both sides of the aisle, the Connecticut Senate, for the second year in a row, failed to raise the juvenile-sentenced-as-an-adult "second-look" bill. Oftentimes when one wants to look at systemic inertia and the barriers to enacting sound criminal justice policy, one can usually lay the blame on political gamesmanship.
In a recent formal ethics opinion, the American Bar Association found that attorneys can research prospective jurors on the internet, including social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter, and use that information in the jury selection process.
For nearly half a century, the federal government has backstopped the National Flood Insurance Program. The program helped real estate owners and assisted development in flood hazard areas by insuring homes and businesses. Protection comes at a cost, however, and a series of large storms beginning with Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and culminating in Hurricane Sandy left the flood insurance program $24 billion in debt and the federal government on the hook for the shortfall.
Last October, a Connecticut Law Tribune editorial asked "When Will Health Care Be Free From Discrimination?" The Law Tribune editorial asked Connecticut employers to step up and meet the legal and social challenge presented by health-care discrimination and eliminate the blanket exclusions in health insurance policies for gender identity-related medical treatments.
The Charla Nash case brought national attention to Connecticut's bizarre process for suing the state. Nash was the victim of a brutal attack by a friend's chimpanzee. She suffered horrific injuries and underwent a face transplant along with multiple surgeries that cost millions of dollars.
The current scandal in the Department of Veterans Affairs is a failure of the VA's leadership to run the agency in the veterans' best interest and a failure of Congress to provide needed resources.
The case of Army Sgt. Bowe R. Bergdahl deserves the attention it's getting, but it's important that some basics be kept in mind as the national discussion crests. First, regardless of what you think he may have done, Bergdahl is entitled to be presumed innocent.
By now, everyone is fully aware of the ongoing debate over guardians ad litem, attorneys for minor children, and the various criticisms of judges and virtually all of the legal professionals involved in contested divorce and family matters involving children. In the legislature, bills have been passed. In the Superior Court Rules Committee, changes to the Practice Book are being drafted.
On May 12, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services proposed a rule to amend current regulations so that certain spouses of temporary H-1B specialty occupation workers may work in the U.S. USCIS does not now extend work authorization to H-4 spouses of H-1B workers.
Former Superior Court Judge Beverly Hodgson in her opinion piece, "State Agency Needs To Change Rules For Hearings" (Connecticut Law Tribune, May 30) had it exactly right in urging enactment of P.A. 14-209, "An Act Concerning Administrative Hearings Conducted by the Department of Social Services." The legislation is awaiting action by the governor, but there are rumors that some people are encouraging him to veto it. What a mistake that would be.
U.S. District Judge Robert Chatigny spoke at the recent memorial service for Jacob Zeldes, a Bridgeport lawyer many considered the dean of Connecticut criminal law. The judge ended on a personal note.
One of the many things that people were concerned about as the detentions and military commissions at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, started to unfold was that they might spawn some really bad caselaw.
Connecticut is racially, ethnically, and economically segregated. This segregation hurts us all because it keeps people of color, who on average earn about half of whites, from equal access to critical resources like good schools.
There has existed for some time a tension between two provisions commonly found in consumer contracts of adhesion; i.e., the requirement that all claims be resolved by arbitration and the prohibition against any claims being pursued in a class action.
The explosion of social media outlets forces trial lawyers to ask themselves: How far can we go in conducting online research about jurors, their families and friends? Before the advent of the electronic neighborhood, Connecticut lawyers would shy away from intrusive research into the personal lives of jurors.
Did you catch the news that Eric Holder and the geniuses at Justice persuaded a grand jury to indict five members of the Chinese military? The super hackers are charged with computer crimes: they've been snooping in the electronic entrails of American corporations, by golly. That's a federal crime, the administration claims.
In late November 2013, state Sen. Adriano Espaillat of New York's 31st District, said to his colleagues that while the George Washington Bridge "Bridgegate" incident appeared to have been initiated by New Jersey appointees attempting to influence their home states political process, "the Port Authority remains a bi-state agency. We are linked ...by economic resources, integrated planning and shared oversight responsibilities."
The Connecticut legislature in the recently completed session passed House Bill 5029 "An Act Concerning Sexual Assaults, Stalking and Intimate Partner Violence." This bill was adopted partly in response to complaints by several University of Connecticut students that their sexual assault complaints were not properly handled by the university.
The Editorial Board has previously addressed the question of civil litigation reform and the need to preserve access to the court for all litigants. To have truly open courts, all litigants must have their cases heard on the merits, regardless of the size of their case or their financial ability to afford a protracted legal battle.
Looking at excessive litigation costs and time delays as techniques in themselves by which a party can force settlement is a distortion of what the civil justice system is intended to be.
The Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently issued the most welcome news that it will be implementing a voluntary plan known as Guidance 213, instructing the agricultural industry to phase out the use of certain antibiotics added to animal feed to help them livestock gain weight faster on less food.
The New York legislature recently proposed the "Safe Weapon Storage Act," otherwise known as Nicholas' Law, having found that "the presence of unsecured, easily accessible, weapons in homes and other places increases the likelihood of death or injury from accidents and impulsive acts.
In September 2013, the highest court in the Dominican Republic issued an immigration ruling that sparked outrage throughout the international community. The court ruled that any person who was born in the Dominican Republic to parents who were illegal immigrants would not be considered a legal resident of the Dominican Republic.
Changes in the legal marketplace are causing legal educators to rethink the nature, purpose and substance of legal education. As reported in these pages, Timothy Fisher and Jennifer Gerarda Brown, the recently appointed deans of the University of Connecticut School of Law and Quinnipiac School of Law, are enthusiastically and energetically embracing the opportunity to review old assumptions about what it means to be an attorney.
The snow of a fierce Connecticut winter has finally melted, releasing its icy grip on the land. The time is now upon us to repair stone walls. We can also fix a poetic injustice in Connecticut's legal literature.
We in the common law world pride ourselves on our adversary system, where lawyers make the best arguments for opposing sides and judges decide which is the stronger argument. There is of course another world out there, the civil law world, where lawyers play a more modest role because the judges do much of the advocating, supposedly for the truth rather than for any particular party.
By now, every collegiate sports fan is aware that the National Labor Relations Board's Chicago regional office has declared Northwestern University college football athletic scholarship recipients eligible for union representation.
As anyone who has driven on Interstate 84, I-91, and especially I-95 knows, our interstate highway system is rapidly deteriorating. And that's true not just of interstates in Connecticut, but nationwide. Potholes, crumbling pavement, and weakening bridge supports need to be repaired sooner rather than later.
The Public Utility Regulatory Authority (PURA) has one last opportunity to put the brakes on a radical utility line-clearing proposal that would remove any tall tree growing within eight feet to the right and to the left of utility distribution lines, from ground to sky, regardless of the health of the tree.
If the profession is to be successful in diversifying the bar, then the volunteer bar associations must take the lead. It is unreasonable for bar associations to sit back and publicly lament the lack of diversity among law firm partnerships or in the judiciary, all the while failing to elect a lawyer of color to lead their organizations.
Much has been written about the simultaneous shortage of employment opportunities for lawyers and affordable legal services for persons of moderate means. Less has been said about the opportunities that this market situation might provide for addressing both of those problems.
In October 1902, in the midst of a months-long strike by the United Mine Workers Union, the coal operators' representative, George Baer, flatly refused to meet with the UMW's president, John Mitchell. Baer said that Mitchell was "only a common coal-miner, who worked with his hands for 15 years, and was now a labor agitator."
We have heard quite a lot of late about the rule of law in Connecticut and elsewhere. The Connecticut Bar Association even sponsored two seminars in recent years on that precise subject. One of the speakers, a top business leader in Connecticut, raised many eyebrows when he said one of the reasons he would prefer to do business in China rather than in Russia is that China, in spite of all the differences from our legal system, takes the rule of law more seriously than Russia does.
All of us in Connecticut should be proud of the rising prestige of our University of Connecticut, originally founded as an agricultural college in Storrs in 1881. The 2014 edition of "Best Colleges," published by U.S. News & World Report, ranks UConn as the 57th best national university in the country, obviously behind such eminences such as Princeton, Harvard and Yale, but ahead of Syracuse, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, University of Massachusetts-Amherst, Rutgers, etc.
On Feb. 26, 2014, Noah Kai Newkirk said a few words at the Supreme Court of the United States. The problem was that he was not supposed to be speaking; he was there as a spectator.
Part of the role of Connecticut's Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services is to de-stigmatize the image of mental illness, to promote understanding and to encourage treatment.
Once upon a time — say, last October — someone stole a significant amount of jewelry from a home in which he was working as a contractor. He drove directly from that home to a store that widely advertises that it purchases gold, jewelry, coins, and the like, and sold the jewelry.
In May 2012, only five years after the international, white shoe law firms of Dewey Ballantine and LeBoeuf, Lamb, Greene & MacRae had merged, the resulting mega-firm, Dewey & LeBoeuf, filed for bankruptcy.
Many of us remember that, around 1997, Douglas Perlitz obtained funding to found Project Pierre Toussaint (PPT), a school for boys in Cap-Haitien, Haiti. Initially, PPT began as an intake center referred to as the 13th Street Intake Program and provided services to children of all ages, most of whom were street children.