For a free consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney, please call the offices of Maya Murphy, P.C. today at (203) 221-3100 or Joseph C. Maya, Esq. at JMaya@Mayalaw.com. The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects the public in general from unreasonable searches and seizures. One of the most steadfast principles of criminal law is… Read More
If you have a question or concern about special education law, school administration, federal standards, or the overall rights of a student, please feel free to call the expert education law attorneys at Maya Murphy, P.C. in Westport today at (203) 221-3100. Parents of high school students in Georgia have filed a federal class action… Read More
Contact the experienced employment law attorneys at Maya Murphy, P.C. today at (203) 221-3100 or JMaya@Mayalaw.com WASHINGTON (AP) — Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg says the Supreme Court shut down tactics used by opponents of abortion and affirmative action in higher education in two major cases the justices decided at the end of their just-concluded term. Ginsburg said in… Read More
Should you have any questions regarding Title IX, discrimination in public schools, or other education law matters, please do not hesitate to contact Attorney Joseph C. Maya, Esq. at Maya Murphy, P.C.’s Westport office located in Fairfield County at (203) 221-3100 or at JMaya@mayalaw.com. Last year, students at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg,… Read More
Contact the experienced employment law attorneys at Maya Murphy, P.C. today at (203) 221-3100 or JMaya@Mayalaw.com. Case Summary In October 2010, plaintiff was hired by a Manhattan-based company. plaintiff operated trucks that provided deliveries of the company’s merchandise. Plaintiff, a Hispanic man, claimed that he was immediately subjected to offensive, discriminatory acts. He claimed that his supervisor… Read More
If you have a question or concern about education law, school administration, federal standards, or the overall rights of a student, please feel free to call the expert education law attorneys at Maya Murphy, P.C. in Westport today at (203) 221-3100 or email Joseph C. Maya, Esq. at JMaya@mayalaw.com Anonymous social media apps now remove… Read More
One of the great misconceptions in American society is that we hold an unalienable right to speech free from any consequence. Free speech is, however, a much more complicated topic. The First Amendment only guarantees that the government won’t infringe on your right to express yourself. It doesn’t mean that private citizens can’t discriminate against… Read More
School officials have wide discretion in regulating their students, but schools may only regulate students as may be reasonably necessary to enable teachers to perform their duties. Students are subject to a greater degree of control than adults because public schools have a custodial and tutorial authority over and responsibility to the students. This includes a responsibility for the discipline, health, and safety of the students. There are no state or federal statutes that cover drug testing of students in school.
Student testing is subject to the limitations of the Fourth Amendment prohibiting the state from conducting unreasonable searches and seizures (New Jersey v. T.L.O., 469 U.S. 325 (1985)). But students can be required to take random drug tests in certain situations. Most recently, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that public schools may subject students to random drug testing as a condition of participation in school sports and other extracurricular activities (Board of Education of Independent School District No. 92 of Pottawatomie County v. Earls, 536 U.S. 522 (2002)). Such tests are considered a “reasonable means” of preventing and deterring student drug use in a manner that does not violate the Fourth Amendment. A school does not need a “reasonable suspicion” or evidence of a drug abuse problem in order to conduct a drug testing program for extracurricular participation.
In a previous cases, the Court had ruled that a search that is unsupported by probable cause and conducted without a warrant can be constitutional “when special needs, beyond the normal need for law enforcement, make the warrant and probable cause requirement impracticable” (Griffin v. Wisconsin, 483 U.S. 868, 873 (1987); Vernonia School District 47J v. Acton, 115 S. Ct. 2386 (1995)).
In Vernonia, the Court ruled that such “special needs” exist in the public school context. The six-judge Court majority based its ruling on three basic points. First, unemancipated minors do not have all the same rights as adults. Schools are allowed to exercise a degree of supervision and control over their students that could not be exercised over free adults. Second, students, and especially student athletes, have a lesser expectation of privacy than members of the general population. (The Board of Education of Independent School District No. 92 case discussed above extended the Veronia ruling to all extracurricular activities.) Third, the school district’s need to discourage drug use among children is compelling enough to justify testing students.
If you have any questions or would like to speak to an education law attorney about a pressing matter, please don’t hesitate to call our office at (203) 221-3100. We offer free consultations to all new clients.
 “Drug Testing in the Workplace and in Public Schools,” posted by the Connecticut Judicial Branch.
State Sen. John Kissel, D-Enfield, predicted that lawmakers this year will pass changes that would allow parole hearings for juveniles who were given lengthy sentences for crimes they committed when they were younger than 18 years of age.
The law is intended to bring Connecticut into compliance with two U.S. Supreme Court rulings and a recent state Supreme Court finding that applies new studies on the brain development of adolescents to sentences ordered by the courts.
In the Graham v. Florida case, the court said the Constitution does not allow a sentence of life without parole for teens under age 18 for a non-homicide offense. Miller v. Alabama applied this to homicide cases and said sentencing has to consider how different adult brains are from children’s brains.
Considering levels of “maturity and rehabilitation,” the high court found that young offenders should be given a second look at their sentence and a “meaningful opportunity” to be released before their maximum sentence has run.
Lawmakers and advocates testified before the Judiciary Committee on two similar bills being considered this year, one in the House and one in the Senate.
The ability to seek parole would apply to youthful offenders sentenced to 10 years or more.
If the sentence, according to the testimony of Andrew Clark, a member of the Connecticut Sentencing Commission, is 50 years or less, the inmate would be eligible to seek parole after 60 percent of his or her sentence was served, or 12 years, whatever is greater.
If the sentence was for more than 50 years, parole would be a possibility after 30 years.
There are almost 200 offenders serving more than 10 years for crimes they committed when they were younger than 18 and some 50 inmates are serving sentences of 50 years or more, Clark testified.
Bills passed the House in 2013 and 2014, but died both years in the Senate.
Last year, it was pulled for consideration in the Senate when Republicans were prepared to offer a number of amendments near the close of the session that would have held up votes on other legislation. Republicans said the Democrats were unwilling to negotiate, but that has changed.
This year, both sides compromised and that version of the bill is expected to be adopted, after some language on notification to victims at both the plea bargaining and sentencing phases has been worked out.
Changes to the Democratic Senate bill requested by state Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano, R-North Haven, are expected to be in the final bill.
• The sentence for any youth transferred from the juvenile docket to the adult docket would have to consider brain science and apply it to 14- to 17-year-olds convicted of a class A or B felony, but not a C felony.
• The 10-year sentence would have to be the total effective sentence, not a concurrent sentence.
The science and sociological studies found that youths under age 18 have an “underdeveloped sense of responsibility … that often leads to impetuous and ill-considered actions and decisions,” the sentencing commission wrote.
Youths also are more susceptible to peer pressure and have less control over their behavior, but also have an ability to change.
“(B)ecause the character of a juvenile … is not as well formed as that of an adult and because juveniles are more capable of change than adults, even the commission of a serious crime by a juvenile cannot ordinarily be considered as evidence that he or she is of a permanent bad character and incapable of reform,” Clark explained in his written testimony.
Looney, in written testimony, said the “second look” in the form of a parole hearing would have “extremely stringent requirements and burdens of proof” for the young offenders.
“It creates an opportunity — but far from a guarantee or even likelihood — of a second chance for an offender who was under the age of 18 when his or her crime was committed,” he wrote.
Both bills had the blessing of Chief State’s Attorney Kevin Kane. He said judges likely will put more on the record on what they considered when imposing a sentence.
Quinnipiac law professor Sarah French Russell testified that adopting the law would bring more certainty to sentencing and a fairer, more predictable outcome.
She said the approach under consideration in Connecticut was “a fairly middle of the road response” to changes adopted in other states.
Russell said previously that New Haven has the highest number of young inmates serving more than 12 years in prison and more than 50 years.
According to Quinnipiac’s Legal Clinic, 93 percent of juvenile offenders serving more than 12 years are black or Hispanic, compared to 76 percent of the general prison population.
Kissell said the law will free up public defenders and will be a “cost-effective measure” for the state.
This year, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is promoting a “second chance society” initiative that will look at ending mandatory miminum sentences for nonviolent drug possession; make it easier to get pardons; and speed up parole hearings for low-risk inmates.
If you have questions about juvenile law and sentencing, please contact the experienced attorneys at Maya Murphy, P.C. at (203) 221-3100 or Joseph C. Maya, Esq. at JMaya@Mayalaw.com.
Credit: New Haven Register
Competency in juvenile court, like all other regular criminal proceedings, is an integral part of due process guaranteed by the Constitution. The idea is that people should not be held responsible for their actions if they do not understand what they did or do not understand why they are being punished. Competency, therefore, is one’s ability to participate in and understand legal proceedings and “aid in one’s own defense.”
Connecticut law provides that a child that is the subject to a delinquency petition shall not be adjudicated for the alleged act if they are not competent. However, it is important to note that there is a presumption in place that each child is competent. That presumption can only be overcome by a showing of a preponderance of evidence that the child is not competent. That burden is on the party raising the issue of competence.
A party seeking to question competency may raise the issue at any time during the delinquency proceedings. There is elaborate procedure set in place for a Connecticut juvenile court to inquire into the competency of a child facing a delinquency petition.
If you have questions about juvenile law or competency, please contact the experienced attorneys at Maya Murphy, P.C. at (203) 221-3100 or Joseph C. Maya, Esq. at JMaya@Mayalaw.com.