Legal Writes

A Witness to the Dangers of Police Work

by Diana Stricker | Jul 16, 2016 11:00 am

Diana Stricker Photo A Branford police officer, who was injured when his cruiser was hit by a DUI driver, was able to steer his damaged cruiser onto the berm to avoid chain-reaction collisions at the busy North Main Street intersection.

I know that because I was there. The force of the impact caused the westbound cruiser to head toward my car, which was stopped in the far left turn-lane of North Main Street, waiting to turn onto Cedar Street. There were cars in the two lanes to my right, and vehicles behind us. But thankfully, no other cars were hit.

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Former Chair Seeks State Takeover Of IWC

by marcia chambers | Jul 15, 2016 1:10 pm | Comments (2)

The former chair of the Branford Inland Wetlands Commission has asked the state’s energy and environmental protection commissioner to take over the function of the agency.

He proposed that the commissioner also place a moratorium on commercial development until an investigation is undertaken into the replacement of former members of the wetlands commission.

In a three-page letter to Rob Klee, commissioner of Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), Danny Shapiro, who served as Inland Wetlands Commission chair for 22 years, asked Klee to intervene on behalf of an IWC “that has been battered. Specifically I am hoping that you will see fit to have the State take on the Commission’s function and place a moratorium on commercial development until this matter in our Town can be investigated.” 

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Medical Examiner ID’s Body as Jason Czech

by marcia chambers | Jul 10, 2016 7:22 am

Branford P.D. A body found in a car in a residential neighborhood in Meriden on Friday has been identified as Jason Czech, 39, who lived in Branford and worked for Bristol-Myers Squibb in Wallingford. He was reported missing to Branford police on July 4.

The chief medical examiner’s office told the Czech family yesterday that the cause of death was pending further study and would not be available for six to eight weeks, the Meriden Record-Journal reports.

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Malloy Signs Opioid Abuse Bill into Law

by Sally E. Bahner | May 28, 2016 12:04 pm

With Permission It wasn’t unexpected, but Gov. Dannel P. Malloy signed the bill increasing access to opioid-reversal drugs on Friday. The bill includes several other measures to combat the epidemic of opioid use in Connecticut, including prohibiting a prescription for opioid use for more than seven days and prohibiting pre-approval from health care providers for the use of naloxone (Narcan), a life-saving medication to treat overdoses; it also requires first responders to be trained in the administration of Narcan.

In Branford, first responders already have administered Narcan on various calls.

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High Court Weighs Forced Medication for Wang

by marcia chambers | May 6, 2016 7:00 am

File Photo Hartford–The murder case of Dr. Lishan Wang, who has yet to go to trial on charges that he killed a Yale University physician six years ago, was back at the Connecticut Supreme Court yesterday. The court is expected to decide in the next several months whether to affirm or reject a trial judge’s order to forcibly medicate Dr. Wang in order to try to make him competent to stand trial.

This is the second time that the state’s highest court has heard arguments in the Wang case, a case that nearly two years ago set new law regarding pro-se representation. (The state’s public defender’s office now pays for experts even if it doesn’t represent an indigent defendant.) The high court now decides whether to uphold an order by Superior Court Judge Thomas V. O’Keefe, Jr., the trial judge, to medicate Dr. Wang against his will.

The groundbreaking case, now six years old, has rattled the criminal justice system, testing the rules for how Connecticut prosecutes murders and when seemingly delusional people may serve as their own attorney. The case has also raised the question of how the state’s psychiatric hospitals are evaluating defendants who must be deemed competent to stand trial to begin with. 

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Opioid Use Front and Center in Branford

by Sally E. Bahner | Apr 14, 2016 7:01 am

Sally E. Bahner PhotoBranford resident Michelle Sember described the struggles of her oldest son, 22-year-old RJ, who went from a high school football player with good grades to a full-blown heroin addict after experimenting with pot, alcohol, and pills.  Her advice: “Be a parent and not a friend.”

The epidemic of opioid use in Connecticut has burst into the public’s consciousness over the past few months. It started with reports of overdoses in the New London area and now extends throughout the state and the country.

Branford is not immune, as Sember explained at a recent panel on the topic held in Branford. The panel, organized by State Rep. Sean Scanlon, took place at fire headquarters. 

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Did Malinka Get Away With Murder?

by marcia chambers | Apr 8, 2016 5:19 pm

With Permission When the case began, it was described as a rare “no body and no crime scene” murder in Branford.

When it ended, in state Superior Court today in New Haven, there was a body, of sorts, and a crime scene, of sorts.

However, the accused assailant, Thomas Malinka, did not plead to a murder count, which had been dropped in exchange for a plea agreement that produced body parts. 

It was, as Superior Court Judge Patrick J. Clifford told the court Friday morning before imposing sentence, “an extremely unique agreement to say the least.” The judge observed that the state had painted a sadistic scenario, adding that “one could infer” that Malinka caused the victim’s death.

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Police: Man Attacked Girlfriend, Cops, K-9

by marcia chambers | Apr 5, 2016 7:00 am | Comments (2)

Mary Johnson Photo A Branford man with a long court history of domestic violence was arrested Saturday night after a series of alleged attacks, including a violent dispute with his girlfriend; an attempt to choke Joker, the Branford police dog; and attacks on two police officers who sustained minor injuries.

The attacks took place on Saturday night at the Branford Motel, 470 East Main St., an address the Branford police know by heart. The motel has been the scene of numerous arrests over the years, a hot spot, police officials say for various kinds of criminal activity, activity that requires service from police, fire or emergency service. Primarily the calls are for police aid.

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Clothing Manufacturer Pays $80K For Sexual Harassment

by Staff | Mar 22, 2016 8:30 am

Branford-based clothing manufacturer FYC International will pay $80,000 to settle a sexual harassment civil lawsuit against three workers.

The three women filed a lawsuit against FYC International Inc. through the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in 2014, alleging that the warehouse manager regularly made inappropriate sexual comments and advances on them. The company is no longer in operation but must provide safeguards to prevent future discrimination if it re-emerges, in addition to the financial settlement, the EEOC announced Friday.

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Neighbor Appeals P&Z Atlantic Wharf Decision

by Diana Stricker | Feb 20, 2016 10:46 am

Diana Stricker Photo A neighbor who lives near the Atlantic Wharf residential and commercial project on Meadow Street has filed an appeal in New Haven Superior Court to reverse the Planning and Zoning Commission’s decision approving the project. 

Attorney, Michael P. D’Amico, who practices in New Haven, represents property owner Rosemary Costanzo, who lives on Wilford Avenue. He claims the P&Z decision is illegal for one or more of three allegations. He alleges that P&Z commissioner Marci Palluzzi had a conflict of interest and should not have voted; that the legal notices for the public hearing were faulty, and that the traffic study was flawed.

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