Crime

As the chief legal officers of the states, commonwealths and territories of the United States, attorneys general serve as counselors to state government agencies and legislatures, and as representatives of the public interest. A large group of new state attorneys general were sworn in at the beginning of 2011, following the November 2010 elections. This year will bring a continued effort to fight financial fraud but attorneys general now have expanded enforcement authority under a new federal law. The National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) is also making a priority of providing the highest quality legal training for those in state government service.

Secretaries of state are warning about the increasing risk of business identity theft as the problem spreads across the states. Criminals have been altering online business records housed by their offices and using them to open up phony lines of credit to illegally obtain valuable goods and services. Secretaries of state are working to establish new safeguards against such fraud, as they alert state legislators and other key stakeholders about the magnitude of the issue.

Yesterday, Connecticut lawmakers gave final approval to a bill (SB 1014) that will make the possession by an adult of up to one-half ounce of marijuana or marijuana paraphernalia a civil infraction, punishable by a $150 fine. Violators will no longer be subject to jail time and will not receive a criminal record. Currently, it is a criminal misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail and a $1000 fine. 

The FBI’s annual Uniform Crime Report for 2010, in its preliminary findings, reports a 5.5% decrease in violent crime and a 2.8% decrease in property crime nationally (when compared with 2009 figures). And in 2009, these categories were down 5.5% and 4.9%, respectively.
 

This Act defines cyberbullying and establishes prison sentences and fines for people who commit cyberbullying. 

This Act generally defines cyberbullying as bullying by using an electronic communication device. It incorporates cyberbullying into a general definition of bullying, and it directs local school boards to adopt plans to prohibit and address bullying on school grounds and in school vehicles. 

 

The Act defines a computer "zombie" as a ―computer that, without the knowledge and consent of the computer's owner or operator, has been compromised to give access or control to a program or person other than the computer's owner or operator. " It defines a "botnet" as a "collection of two or more zombies." The Act prohibits people from creating or using zombies and botnets to perform actions such as damaging other computers or collecting personal information about computer users.

This Act authorizes intercepting electronic communications of suspected computer trespassers under certain conditions. It defines "computer trespasser" as "a person who accesses a computer or any other device with Internet capability without authorization and thus has no reasonable expectation of privacy in any communication transmitted to, through, or from the computer or other device."

This Act defines a "cold case" as a homicide or a felony sexual offense that remains unsolved for one year or more after being reported to a law enforcement agency and one that has no viable and unexplored investigatory leads. The Act requires law enforcement agencies create registries of the names of cold case victims, their family members, and their legal representatives. It directs law enforcement agencies to notify such people when the agencies set up the registries.

Law enforcement officers throughout the country regularly respond to calls for service that involve people with mental illnesses—often without needed supports, resources or specialized training. These encounters can have significant consequences for the officers, people with mental illnesses and their loved ones, the community and the criminal justice system. Although constituting a relatively small number of an agency’s total calls for service, these encounters are among the most complex and time-consuming calls officers must address.

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