Legal Writes

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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Wishnie: We May Get A Justice In 2016

by marcia chambers | Feb 16, 2016 5:50 pm | Comments (1)

Paul Bass PhotoMike Wishnie, who directs Yale Law School’s legal services programs, says he is optimistic, perhaps foolishly so, that that there will be a nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court before President Obama leaves office. He says time and the reelection efforts of Republican senators may turn the tide away from nay-sayers. 

Wishnie made those comments today during an appearance on WNHH radio’s “Legal Eagle” program. He discussed a variety of issues, including immigration, the Yale Law clinic’s newly filed Ebola quarantine case and the plight of veterans.

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TK2 On Parks’ Future, Uncut

by Paul Bass | Jan 19, 2016 4:07 pm

How about Donald Trump Hammonassett Beach State Park?

State Sen. Ted Kennedy’s not advancing that idea for rescuing and shoring up the long-term budgets of Connecticut’s state parks.

But pretty much everything else is on the table.

Kennedy talked about that in the studios of WNHH radio, after an appearance on the “Legal Eagle” program, when he was paid a surprise visit by Fox 61’s Matt Scott.

Click here to read the full article.

Bridgeport Man Arrested in “Hot Spot” Area

by marcia chambers | Jan 6, 2016 9:30 am

Branford Police Department A 26-year-old Bridgeport man, arrested for possession of cocaine and a loaded gun, was found parked in the early hours of the morning last week in an area known as a hot spot for motor vehicle and criminal activity.

James Nelson was arrested near 3 Business Park Drive, not far from the Branford Motel and the TA Truck Stop, locations the Branford police have long investigated and patrolled. It is not unusual for police to arrest people from other areas of the state who have heard about places to buy illegal drugs.

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Wang’s Court Odyssey May Change Rules for Murder Cases

by marcia chambers | Dec 24, 2015 9:38 am

Aliyya Swaby Photo A groundbreaking murder case has been ticking and ticking and ticking at the state courthouse on Church Street for more than five years now. It has yet to come to trial—but it’s already headed to the state Supreme Court for a second time, with the potential to set new rules for how Connecticut prosecutes murders and to test the limits on when seemingly delusional people may serve as their own lawyer.

Click here to read the full story.