Posts tagged with "Constitutional Law"

Criminal Law Update: Drug Analysis Must Be Supported By Live Testimony

This week, the United States Supreme Court ruled that criminal laboratory reports may not be used at trial unless the laboratory analyst actually responsible for preparing the report physically appears to give testimony in court and to be subjected to cross-examination.

In a 5-4 decision, the Court ruled that the Sixth Amendment confrontation clause gives criminal defendants the right to challenge the validity of chemical analyses proffered by prosecutors by examining a live witness who would be compelled to appear at trial.

Prosecutors argue that the landmark decision adds a significant burden to the government’s ability to prosecute crimes in which lab reports are routinely submitted with little or no supporting testimony.

By contrast, the majority decision notes that convenience is not the measure of constitutionality, pointing out that “the confrontation clause may make the prosecution of criminals more burdensome, but that is equally true of the right to trial by jury and the privilege against self-incrimination.”

The full decision can be found at: http://www.supremecourtus.gov/opinions/08pdf/07-591.pdf

If you have questions about drug analysis or a criminal matter, contact us at (203) 221-3100 or jmaya@mayalaw.com for a free consultation. 

GPS Evidence Stricken: A Victory for the Fourth Amendment

GPS units are not only handy devices which are, for many, becoming indispensable on the roads, but the technology is increasingly being utilized by law enforcement officials to track suspects, to gather evidence, and to ultimately build cases against criminal defendants. Advocates of individual civil liberties and opponents of excessive governmental intrusion argue that the surreptitious placement of a GPS device by the police under a private citizen’s automobile runs afoul of the Constitutional protections against unlawful searches and seizures. Prosecutors, on the other hand, contend that police have the right and option to view individuals operating their vehicles on private roads without a warrant, and the GPS device is merely an extension of such ability. A defendant’s constitutional challenge to the practice was recently upheld in the Court of Appeals in New York (resulting in a reversal of a conviction, and ultimately a dismissal of criminal charges). The issue is ripe to be challenged in Connecticut and other jurisdictions across the nation.

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Our firm in Westport serves clients with divorce, matrimonial, and family law issues from all over the state including the towns of: Bethel, Bridgeport, Brookfield, Danbury, Darien, Easton, Fairfield, Greenwich, Monroe, New Canaan, New Fairfield, Newton, Norwalk, Redding, Ridgefield, Shelton, Sherman, Stamford, Stratford, Trumbull, Weston, Westport, and Wilton.

If you have any questions or would like to speak to an attorney about a divorce or familial matter, please don’t hesitate to call our office at (203) 221-3100 for a free consultation. Divorce is difficult, education is power. Call today.

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The legal future of this type of “surveillance” – whether utilized by a police department (with or without a warrant), or by a suspicious spouse or private investigator in anticipation of a divorce proceeding – is still unclear, but surely provokes thought and discussion.

H. Daniel Murphy, Esq.

hdmurphy@mayalaw.com

Police GPS Surveillance Raises Legal Questions, D. Freedman, Connecticut Post, June 7, 2009: http://www.connpost.com/breakingnews/ci_12537316

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Breaking News: Connecticut Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Same-Sex Marriage

In a narrowly split decision, the Connecticut Supreme Court held that same-sex couples have the right to marry, protected by the Connecticut State Constitution. Justice Palmer authored the decision, joined by Justices Harper, Katz and Norcott. The full text of the 85-page decision can be found on the judicial branch website: http://www.jud.ct.gov/.

Our firm in Westport serves clients with divorce, matrimonial, and family law issues from all over the state including the towns of: Bethel, Bridgeport, Brookfield, Danbury, Darien, Easton, Fairfield, Greenwich, Monroe, New Canaan, New Fairfield, Newton, Norwalk, Redding, Ridgefield, Shelton, Sherman, Stamford, Stratford, Trumbull, Weston, Westport, and Wilton.

If you have any questions or would like to speak to an attorney about a divorce or familial matter, please don’t hesitate to call our office at (203) 221-3100 for a free consultation. Divorce is difficult, education is power. Call today.

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