Legal Writes

National Bullying Prevention Month is Underway

by Sally E. Bahner | Oct 20, 2016 10:00 am

October is National Bulling Prevention Month. It’s part of a nationwide campaign found by PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center to educate communities and raise awareness. Bullying prevention month encourages participants to wear orange as an expression of solidarity.

The website also offers tips on creating awareness through social media.

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Dr. Wang Dozes Off As Forced Medication Debated

by marcia chambers | Oct 11, 2016 10:23 am

File Photo At an evidentiary hearing in New Haven Superior Court last week, Public Defender Tom Ullmann pressed state psychiatrist Dr. Mark S. Cotterell on the specific steps he will follow in the event that Dr. Lishan Wang is forcibly medicated and subsequently has an adverse reaction. 

Whether Dr. Wang will in fact be forcibly medicated, as a recent Connecticut Supreme Court decision found he can be, will be up to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The public defender’s appeals bureau has decided to seek a writ of certiorari before the nation’s highest court and has requested a stay of the state Supreme Court’s order that Dr. Wang be forcibly medicated. Senior Assistant State’s Attorney Eugene Calistro Jr. said at the hearing Thursday that the state’s appeals bureau has not yet responded to the public defender’s motion for a stay. 

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Klau: Lawyers Should Take Rare Stand Vs. Trump

by marcia chambers | Sep 22, 2016 3:45 pm | Comments (12)

File Photo When a bar association wants to take a stand against proposed legislation it opposes, it files a friend-of-the court brief. In so doing it takes a position on an issue.

It hasn’t done that in presidential campaigns. A prominent First Amendment lawyer is arguing that for the first time, the state’s bar needs to do so— because of an extraordinary threat to democracy.

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IWC Seeks Legal Opinion on Outside Consultants

by Diana Stricker | Sep 14, 2016 8:14 am | Comments (2)

Diana Stricker Photo The Inland Wetlands Commission (IWC) wants to clarify its use of third-party consultants when reviewing complex project applications. This is in response to the confusion that resulted last spring during the Costco public hearings.

“We had an interesting spring, with issues around the use of third-party consultants,” said IWC chairman Peter Bassermann. “And before we have an application in front of us where we may need to bring in a third-party consultant, I thought it would be worthwhile having a discussion.”

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Joker, the Police Dog, Escapes from Car; Bites Teen

by marcia chambers | Sep 13, 2016 7:44 am | Comments (6)

Mary Johnson Photo Branford police recently conducted an internal investigation into the actions of Joker, Branford’s police K-9, after he apparently managed to get out of a locked but air-conditioned Branford police car last month and bite a teenage boy outside a house where teens were holding a beer party.

Police Chief Kevin Halloran outlined the dog’s actions at a police commission meeting held at police headquarters last night. Joker, a German Shepherd-Belgium Malinois, has been on the job for more than 15 months. During that time he has faced numerous dangerous situations, including escaping from a choke-hold that nearly killed him. He was graduated from the state police K-9 training academy in late May, 2015.

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Wang Case Heads to U.S. Supreme Court on Forced Meds Decision

by marcia chambers | Sep 11, 2016 10:54 am | Comments (1)

File Photo Dr. Lishan Wang’s public defenders plan to appeal to the United States Supreme Court a unanimous decision by the Connecticut Supreme Court that Dr. Wang be forcibly medicated against his will. The forced medication, the state says, is necessary to restore Dr. Wang to mental competency so that he might finally stand trial for murder.

At a 20-minute court session in state Superior Court in New Haven Friday, Thomas Ullmann, the chief public defender and Dr. Wang’s attorney, told prosecutor Eugene R. Calistro, Jr. and the trial judge that he had spoken with Mark Rademacher, the office’s appellate attorney in the Wang case. Rademacher, he reported, has decided to file a petition for a writ of certiorari before the nation’s highest court.

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Rising Seas, Tidal Wetlands and Affordable Housing?

by Diana Stricker | Sep 8, 2016 6:59 am

Diana Stricker Photo The Planning and Zoning (P&Z) Commission has two months to discuss a request to build affordable housing on what has been termed an “unbuildable” lot on Branford’s shoreline. The half-acre property is located in a flood plain, and contains tidal wetlands and an easement to an adjacent 20 acres of state-owned open-space property.

“We have time,” said Chairman Charles Andres following the close of the public hearing last week.  Andres said the commission needs to discuss and review all the documents and testimony before making a decision.  “This is something that I think we should take very carefully … and discuss it thoroughly,” he said.

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CT High Court: Forced Medication for Wang Approved

by marcia chambers | Sep 7, 2016 7:00 am

With Permission The state Supreme Court ruled yesterday that Dr. Lishan Wang, who was charged more than six years ago with the Branford murder of Dr. Vanjinder Toor, may be forcibly medicated in an effort to restore him to competency so that he might stand trial.

The state’s highest court handed up a unanimous decision in which it found that Superior Court Judge Thomas V. O’Keefe, Jr., the trial judge, “applied the proper standards and that his findings were supported by clear and convincing evidence.”

The groundbreaking Wang 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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