Getting into the game early matters. What does this mean in the context of a DCF case? For relatives and grandparents getting into the game early means being aware and involved in the early stages of a DCF investigation. The early stages of a DCF investigation are a critical time. Safety agreements could be signed, mis-information could be put forth, and worse a minor relative could be put in non-relative placement. To avoid these pitfalls, relatives should get involved as soon as the parents will allow and put as much pressure on DCF to identify all family resources who could take a minor relative into their care.
It is hard to overstate the importance of the control of information in a DCF case. The attorney needs to control and set the narrative for the case from the start if the attorney wants a positive outcome. What does this mean for the client or the potential client? It means that a client should always speak with an attorney prior to speaking with DCF. In a large number of DCF investigations, it is actually the clients who supply all the necessary information to support the ongoing investigation or worse provide enough evidence for a finding of neglect.
In this case, the Connecticut Supreme Court held that “the dictates set forth in Miller may be violated even when the sentencing authority has discretion to impose a lesser sentence than life without parole it it fails to give due weight to evidence that Miller deemed constitutionally significant before determining that such a severe punishment is appropriate...the record must reflect that the trial court has considered and given due mitigating weight to these factors in determining a proportionate punishment...”
If the Department of Children and Families determines that a parent is "responsible for an act or acts of child abuse or neglect", that parent can be placed on the Central Registry. The Central Registry can be accessed during a background check if the parent is "seeking employment, licensing or certification". Placement on the Central Registry can be challenged at the time that the placement occurs.
Common issue that came to my attention from a colleague. In the State of Connecticut possession of less than a 1/2 ounce of marijuana is now a civil infraction (decriminalized). However, if you are under the age of 21, and you simply pay the fine associated with this ticket, the Department of Motor Vehicles will suspend your driver's license. This suspension will occur no matter if you were driving or not when you received your ticket.
The vast majority of criminal cases are handled through the plea bargain process. However, if a case cannot be handled by plea bargain a trial must occur. If convicted via a trial a defendant risks having a "trial tax" imposed. This is where the State seeks to have the defendant sentenced to substantially more time than was offered in the plea bargain process.
During an interrogation, a police officer is legally allowed to lie and deceive a suspect to gain an admission. However, a suspect cannot legally lie or deceive the police. Always invoke your right to silence and never speak to police without an attorney.