Editorial: Conn. Desperately Needs Drone Legislation

We previously have highlighted the importance of drone regulation in Connecticut and urged the General Assembly to act.

Editorial: States Shouldn't Criminalize Whistleblowing and Undercover Investigations

Legislators tend to lash out at whistleblowers, activists and investigators when favored businesses — or entire industries — are caught doing something bad. A recent decision from the U.S. District Court in Idaho should be instructive to Connecticut legislators when the temptation to penalize, or criminalize, protected speech may arise.

Editorial: Good Lawyering Killed the Death Penalty in Conn.

By Editorial Board |

For almost 40 years, ever since the U.S. Supreme Court gave its constitutional blessing for the states to promulgate death penalty legislation that would not in theory and practice be arbitrary and capricious, the criminal defense bar in Connecticut, consisting of a public defender/private criminal defense partnership, has doggedly and unflinchingly attacked the death penalty machinery.

Editorial: In Urban America, All Lives Matter

By Editorial Board |

After the shooting in Ferguson and the death of Freddie Gray in Baltimore, there has been an understandable call for more police accountability. However, it is important to keep in mind that there is a dispute as to whether there is an "epidemic" of unjustified police shootings or just an increase in reporting.

Editorial: The Next Big Step in LGBT Legal Protection

In July, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission reversed years of contrary decisions in a case where the complainant alleged he was not promoted because he was gay.

Editorial: Courts Should Not Issue 'Unpublished' Decisions

The issue of "unpublished" decisions received national attention earlier this year when the U.S. Supreme Court denied a petition for a writ of certiorari taken from an unpublished opinion.

Editorial: Conn. Supreme Court Overreaches With Use of Supervisory Authority

How often has the Connecticut Supreme Court stated that "supervisory authority is an extraordinary remedy that should be used sparingly. … Although appellate courts possess an inherent supervisory authority over the administration of justice … [that] authority … is not a form of free-floating justice, untethered to legal principle. … Our supervisory powers are not a last bastion of hope for every untenable appeal. [Rather] they are an extraordinary remedy. … Constitutional, statutory and procedural limitations are generally adequate to protect the rights of the defendant and the integrity of the judicial system. … Thus, we are more likely to invoke our supervisory powers when there is a pervasive and significant problem … or when the conduct or violation at issue is offensive to the sound administration of justice." Well, look again.

Editorial: Law Schools Should Not Profit Financially From Legal Clinic Efforts

It was once generally agreed on that a college scholarship was sufficient compensation for college athletes who received the benefit of a college education in exchange for their hard work and dedication in representing their colleges and universities on the athletic fields.

Editorial: Judges Get Guidance on Overturning Arbitration Awards in Termination Cases

The Connecticut Supreme Court recently provided sound guidance and continued support to the arbitration process of dispute resolution.

Editorial: Courts Continue to Reject Nonlawyer Ownership of Law Firms

We have addressed in these pages the issue of nonlawyer ownership of law firms, and have made known our opposition to that ill-conceived concept, which has taken root in Australia, England, Wales and even in the District of Columbia in this country.

Editorial: In Death Penalty Decision, Voice of Justice Berdon Heard

Congratulations to Justice Robert Berdon, who patiently served on the Supreme Court for years waiting for the "majority" of the court to catch up to him. It was first in 1996 when all seven justices on the court considered an appeal challenging the constitutionality of the death penalty under the state constitution.

Editorial: Despite Sentence Reductions, Heroin Use Still A Serious Problem

Gov. Dannel Malloy recently signed a bill that reduces the penalty for possession of a small amount of drugs from a felony to a misdemeanor. The rationale for this change is to avoid giving young offenders a felony record that could have negative collateral effects on the offender (like difficulty getting employment).

Editorial: Felons Should Not Be Banned From Holding Public Office

The re-incarceration of a former governor, a former state senator convicted of election finance fraud and a former mayor who spent several years in prison for violating the public trust running for office in our largest city have once again raised questions about how Connecticut governs itself.

Editorial: Balancing Law Enforcement, Technology and Privacy Concerns

Moore's Law predicted a biennial increase in computer processor speed (more accurately in integrated circuitry capacity) whereby processor speed would double every two years.

William Dow

Commentary: A More Relaxed Voir Dire Works Better for All Parties

By William F. Dow III |

As a defense lawyer, I've always believed that voir dire in a criminal case is, in many ways, the most important part of a trial. It's an opportunity to make a good first impression; to find out who is likely to accept the theory of the case; to disclose biases and prejudices and, importantly, to determine who can set them aside. I think it is interesting to explore peoples' backgrounds and attitudes, to try and identify people with whom I can communicate and ultimately to get them on the jury. But to do that I need candid information. The usual criminal voir dire process often doesn't produce that.

Editorial: Confederate Flag Debate Brings Out Overbearing Thought Police

The political thought police have had a field day trying to purge the country's public and private life of the Civil War's Confederate battle flag. It is hard to argue that whatever the banner's original cultural meaning might have been, it has been usurped by the white supremacist racist movement.

Editorial: A Historic Day for LGBT Civil Rights

On June 26, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced the 5-4 majority decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, recognizing marriage as a fundamental right for same-sex couples.

Editorial: Lawmakers Were Right to Require Release of Police Records

The Connecticut legislature is to be commended for unanimously passing a bill that will help the public understand more than just the "who, what and when" of police arrests.

Editorial: Tax Law Marks New Extreme in Legislative Dysfunction

We are used to the usual chaos at the end of every session of the Connecticut Legislature. This year is no exception. But what is exceptional is the last-minute creation of a unitary tax for national and international corporations.

Editorial: State Should Eliminate Waiting Period for All Divorces

For many years, Connecticut law has imposed a 90-day waiting period upon any party who wishes to be divorced in this state. It was apparently a matter of public policy that imposing such a delay was deemed important to allow a "cooling-off" period during which parties might reconcile. For a variety of reasons, that policy should be reconsidered and the 90-day waiting period should be eliminated.

Editorial: Trial Lawyers Should Be Students of Juror Biases

Renowned Connecticut plaintiffs trial lawyer Ted Koskoff once wrote that the trial of a lawsuit is a lesson in applied psychology.

Editorial: Employment Discrimination Law Should Allow for Punitive Damages

On May 19, the Connecticut Appellate Court ruled in Tomick v. United Parcel Service, 157 Conn. App. 312 (2015), that the Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act (CFEPA) does not permit a judge or jury to award punitive damages against an employer who has discriminated against an employee.

Editorial: Forensic Examiner Scandal Should Prompt Conn. Action

In a shocking admission of scandalous proportions, the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation recently acknowledged that over a two-decade period spanning from the 1980s through the 1990s, an elite group of federal forensic examiners overstated the evidentiary value of microscopic hair analysis.

Editorial: Law School Grads Should Remember to Be Civil, Reasonable and Thorough

As 3Ls graduate and prepare to engage in the practice of law, we want to leave them with a few practice tips. While some of these may appear to be common sense, our experience with attorneys who have done all of the below indicate that it may prove helpful to spell these out.

Editorial: CBA's Diversity Efforts Warrant Cautious Optimism

Just over a year ago, we expressed our serious concerns about the Connecticut Bar Association's struggles with diversity. The CBA has made progress in addressing these concerns.

Editorial: Medical Marijuana Producers Shouldn't Have to Fear Feds

Since 1970, marijuana has been listed as a Schedule I drug under the federal Controlled Substances Act, together with such highly addictive and potentially fatal drugs as heroin and ecstasy.

Editorial: Connecticut Needs a Law on Tips

Federal law allows a restaurant to force its servers to relinquish their tips, including to management itself. The restaurant just has to pay its servers the full minimum wage, rather than the lower service wage.

Editorial: Religious Freedom Acts Have Legitimate Goals

There has been much recent uproar over state efforts to enact state Religious Freedom Restoration acts (RFRA).

Editorial: Police Excessive Force Complaints a National Crisis

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.

Editorial: Conn. Justices Should Be Ashamed of Vitriolic Attacks

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.

Editorial: Playing Fast and Loose With Law School Transfers

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.

Editorial: U.S. Supreme Court Is No Place for Sarcasm

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.

Editorial: Lawyers Especially Should Not Stereotype Muslims

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."

Editorial: Conn. Should Ensure Right to Counsel in Civil Cases

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.

Editorial: Rowland Name Should Be Removed From Government Building

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!

Editorial: Some Advice for the Legislature

As an entirely unsolicited and hopefully not entirely ignored offering, we ask the Connecticut General Assembly to take the following suggestions to heart.

Editorial: Questionable Appellate Decision Fells a Legal Giant

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.

Editorial: Second-Chance Society Should Have Its Limits

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.

Editorial: State Supreme Court Taking Too Long to Decide Death Penalty Case

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.

Editorial: Restrictions Should Be Place on Fundraising By Attorneys General

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."

Editorial: Attorneys Should Have Turned Down Cancer-Stricken Teen’s Case

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.

Editorial: Conn. Lawmakers Must Address Drone Proliferation

The Connecticut General Assembly must get out ahead of the problems inherent in the uncontrolled use of drones.

Editorial: Conn. Pays Too Much to Incarcerate Drug Offenders

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.

Editorial: Firms Should Continue to Fight Proposed Tax Law Change

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.

Editorial: Land-Use Policies Jeopardize Busway Success

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.

Editorial: Court Approves 'Grand Bargain,' Saves Art Collection

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?"

Editorial: Courts Shouldn't Tolerate Lies by Police Officers

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.

Editorial: State's Sex Offender Registry Needs Revisions

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!

Editorial: Legal Services at Box Stores Make Mockery of Profession

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.

Editorial: Argue, Persuade, Contradict, but Don't Kill Over Ideas

Twelve people were killed last week in Paris for expressing ideas with which others disagreed. Those who disagreed had guns.

Editorial: Courts Should Strive for Consistency in Child Support Decisions

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.

Editorial: Lawyers in Crisis Should Seek Light in the Darkness

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.

Editorial: Emerging Definitions of 'Family' Affect Zoning Law

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.

Editorial: Judge Offers Powerful Rebuke to Same-Sex Marriage Bans

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.

Editorial: Judge Rightly Acknowledges Error in Voter ID Case

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.

Editorial: Supreme Court Should Take Up Prior Restraint Case

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.

Editorial: Stakes Are High in Fair Housing Case

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."

Editorial: Lessons Learned from Judge's Offensive Email

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.

Editorial: Prosecutor's Charging Function: More Discretion Needed?

State court prosecutors in Connecticut should carefully exercise their charging function, and should not let the police determine charges in warrantless arrests.

Editorial: Banning Books Harms Education and Critical Thinking

Every year in the fall, First Amendment advocates join librarians, teachers, and journalists to celebrate Banned Books Week.

Guest Commentary: Political Correctness Runs Amok

By James B. Lyon |

According to Wikipedia, the term "political correctness" refers to enforced language, ideas or policies that address perceived discrimination against political, social or economic groups.

A Gun Control Law That's Right on Target

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?

The Passing of A Giant

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

Editorial: A Welcome Decision Regarding Foreclosures

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.

Editorial: Courts Should Improve Management of Divorce Trials

When it comes to trial management, there are aspects of divorce trials that deserve special attention and consideration.

Editorial: Mug Shot Industry Is Bad Business

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.

Editorial: Should U.S. Adopt the Right to Be Forgotten? Electronic Data Collection Raises Privacy Issues

The U.S. has long resisted a comprehensive policy on data privacy or on individual privacy in general.

Editorial: Addressing the Epidemic of Forgotten Baby Syndrome

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.

Editorial: It's Time for Prosecutors to Join the Community

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.

Editorial: Where Are All the Law School Applicants?

Nearly every law school in America is facing declining applications. Nationally, the level of applications has declined back to the level of 1976.

Editorial: Bar Examiners Asking Wrong Questions About Mental Fitness

The Connecticut Bar Examining Committee has taken an admirable but long overdue step to amend its questions regarding mental health.

Editorial: Religious Expression Becomes Religious Dominance

Analysis of the Hobby Lobby decision has swirled across news and social media since its June 30 release.

Editorial: Confronting Bullying Within the Legal Profession

For well over a decade leaders in the organized bar have focused on the quality of civility and professionalism among lawyers.

Editorial: Proper Role of Trustees for Nonprofit Entities

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.

Editorial: As Lawyers, We Should Expand Our Inner Circles

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.

Editorial: It's Time That Time Ran Against the King

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.

Jury box..Photo by Jason Doiy.2-9-11.054-2011

Editorial: Embrace Voluntary Panel Voir Dire

We encourage attorneys to embrace panel voir dire jury selection in Connecticut state civil trial courts.

Editorial: State Makes Bad Decision with Gender-Based Attorney Sanction

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.

Let Law Students Earn While They Learn

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?

Editorial: State Should Restore Media Access to Police Records

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.

Editorial: Efforts to Boost Professionalism Must Include Due Process

The American Civil Trial Bar Roundtable recently issued a thoughtful, comprehensive and insightful white paper on increasing the professionalism of American lawyers.

Editorial: U.S. Should Show Compassion for Refugee Children

Tens of thousands of desperate, poor, vulnerable children need and deserve our protection and to be treated with respect.

Editorial: Flexible Law Firms Should Consider Part-Time Positions

While part-time schedules for lawyers may be different from those in other professions, we think they are still feasible.

Gideon's Trumpet: Prosecutors Can Do More to Ensure 'Conviction Integrity'

By Gideon |

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.

Editorial: Is U.S. Government Creating Home-Grown Terrorists?

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.

Editorial: Proper Valuation of Art Work May be Controversial

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.

Editorial: No Tolerance for School Zero Tolerance Policies

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.

Editorial: The Problem of Workplace Arbitration Clauses

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.

Editorial: Senate Inaction Thwarts Juvenile Reform Again

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.

Editorial: A Troublesome Opinion Regarding Juror Internet Research

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.

Editorial: Flood Insurance Premiums Challenge Buyers And Sellers

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.

Editorial: State Must Continue To Protect Gender Identity Rights

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.

Editorial: Conn. Needs A Better Process For Suing The State

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.

Editorial: Fixing The Department Of Veterans Affairs

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.

Editorial: Sergeant Bergdahl's Case: A Teachable Moment

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.

Editorial: In GAL Debate, Best Interest Of The Child Must Remain Top Priority

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.

Employment Law: Immigration Waiting Games


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.

Editorial: Governor: Do The Right Thing And Ensure Fair Hearings

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.