Fitbit Data Plays Role in Murder Investigation

A Fitbit device is playing a groundbreaking role in a murder investigation. Connie Dabate of Ellington, Connecticut was killed shortly before Christmas, 2015. Connie Dabate’s husband, Richard, was found by police at the residence partially zip-tied to a chair. The arrest report for the case states that a canine was brought to the house in an effort to track the scent of the intruder. After a failed first attempt to follow the intruder’s scent, the canine then focused on Richard who was in the process of receiving medical treatment in an ambulance. A Fitbit found on Connie has further helped to show inaccuracies in the story told by Richard.

The Husband’s Version of the Murder

Richard alleges that on December 23, 2015, his children were placed on the morning bus to school. Richard then went to work and Richard’s wife was headed to the local YMCA. After realizing that he had forgotten his laptop at home, Richard returned to the residence between 8:45 and 9:00 am. At the residence, Richard heard a noise and spotted an intruder which caused Richard to order Connie to run. After a brief… Continue Reading this Post

Massachusetts Criminal Case Argued in United States Supreme Court

Weaver v. Massachusetts:

Whether Prejudice Is Required if Trial Counsel Makes an Unreasonable Error

The Supreme Court recently heard oral argument on whether a convicted criminal defendant is required to show "prejudice" when the trial attorney's error is held to have been "structural." Up to this point, states and federal court are split on whether this prejudice requirement is necessary. This case is important for all structural errors that occur in courts because the result has the potential to significantly affect the likelihood of reversal on appeal for many criminal convictions.

The Applicable Law in this Case

A constitutional right of public access to criminal proceedings is granted to individuals under the First and Sixth Amendments. Courts have decided that violations of this public access requirement constitute a “structural error”, which is a category including errors that often do not require prejudice to be shown. Claims for the unconstitutional ineffective… Continue Reading this Post