Posted inCT Viewpoints

Donald Trump and arguments from ignorance

Most people, even very young children, have an intuitive sense that proof of the existence of something is required before that “something” is acknowledged as true. Kids say “prove it.” Adults understand that the burden of proof is almost always on the party asserting the truth of something. For example, in our justice system the burden of proof is on the state (in a criminal action) and the plaintiff (in a civil action). A defendant does not have to prove his innocence; the state must prove his guilt–beyond a reasonable doubt. For some reason, however, this very simple concept seems to get lost in the political realm.

Posted inCT Viewpoints

Connecticut whittles away at its watchdog agencies

In her op-ed in The Connecticut Mirror, State Rep. Mary Mushinsky (D-Wallingford) writes about an unanticipated, end-of-the-legislative-session, 50 percent cut to the personnel budget of the General Assembly’s Office of Program Review and Investigations. She reasonably asks, “How does silencing the state’s efficiency experts help the state adjust to less revenues and a leaner government? And why is this cut far more extensive than other line-item reductions?”

Posted inCT Viewpoints

The what and why of ‘due process’

Since Gov. Dannel Malloy announced his intention to issue an executive order barring people who appear on the federal government’s “no-fly” list from buying guns, a debate has ensued about whether such an order would violate a person’s right to “due process.” The purpose of this post is not to join that debate, but instead to help non-lawyer readers understand what the “due process” debate is really about.

Posted inCT Viewpoints

A death penalty hypothetical for the Connecticut Supreme Court

Appellate judges are famous for asking hypothetical questions. They are a very important part of the oral argument process, as they help the judges understand how their decisions in particular cases may apply to future cases. Advocates rarely get to ask judges hypothetical questions, but I’m going to ask one anyway. It is directed to the esteemed justices of the Connecticut Supreme Court who [recently], in a 4-3 decision, abolished the death penalty. (I don’t expect an answer of course. This is just a thought experiment.)

Posted inNews

Newtown families: Misled about crime scene photos and the FOI Act

Only days before the end of the 2013 legislative session last June, someone (apparently a Fox News reporter) started a false rumor that documentary filmmaker Michael Moore was going to make a Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) request for graphic crime scene photographs of the Sandy Hook massacre and then splash those photographs all over the Internet or movie screens. Michael Moore never made any such request, and he never had any intention of making such a request.