When a violent crime is believed to have been committed against a person because of that person's race, religion, ethnicity, disability or other characteristic, it may be prosecuted as a hate crime. These crimes can carry much tougher sentences than violent crimes committed for other reasons. Sometimes they are considered federal crimes.
Newly-minted Attorney General Jeff Sessions has vowed that under his helm, the Department of Justice will start cracking down on violent crime throughout the country. Sessions, a former prosecutor, has also advocated for longer mandatory minimum prison sentences.
It's well known that the U.S. has a large prison population. It's been estimated that while we have 5 percent of the world's total population, we have a quarter of the known prison population. Many have not committed violent offenses. However, too often, being in a prison environment over time can cause a person to become violent -- sometimes just to survive.
Felonies are serious business. Like most states, Connecticut has different classifications and penalties for felonies based on the severity of the crime. Classifications range from the severest, which is considered a capital felony and then from Class A through Class D, with Class D being the least severe. Penalties for a guilty conviction for felonies is as follows:
A longtime Connecticut Republican Party official has resigned amid felony charges over his alleged conduct involving a 5-year-old relative. The boy's parents went to authorities after the man allegedly made comments about his activities with the boy at a family New Year's Eve gathering.
With all the news of terrorism all over the media in a 24-hour cycle, it's a good time to review how the state of Connecticut views some felony charges related to threats.
Connecticut state Senator Tony Hwang has promised to re-introduce legislation to toughen legal penalties for those convicted of making threats of violence against schools by adding language to the state's current threat laws. Hwang first introduced The Zero-Tolerance Safe School Environment Act in the last session. While it passed unanimously in the senate, the house never voted on it. The new legislative session is scheduled to begin on Feb. 3.
Stalking laws are a relatively recent addition to the Connecticut statutes. The first one dates back only to 1992. Our stalking laws have been updated since then to take into account activity via cellphones and the Internet in addition to physical stalking. Make no mistake -- law enforcement officers and prosecutors take stalking allegations seriously.
Obviously, being convicted of a crime can have serious ramifications for anyone's life. However, if you are a foreign national living in this country on a green card or visa, you may end up being deported and forbidden from returning if you are convicted of a crime or other action that falls into the category of "aggravated felonies. Even if you avoid deportation, you may have your residency status downgraded or lose your ability to become a legal permanent resident.
Many of our readers have some familiarity with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. It was passed by Congress back in 2002 to prevent people in companies under investigation from destroying incriminating documents. This federal law was prompted in large part by the Enron scandal.