Why Pieszak Miller & Brodeur, llc?
More than a Century and a half of combined experience.
Our firm concentrates in criminal defense and we represent criminal defendants and petitioners at all stages of proceedings, including bond/bail/arraignments, plea negotiations, pre-trial diversionary programs, trials, sentencing, and post-conviction matters.
We utilize a team approach to client-centered representation that is backed by more than a century and a half of combined post-conviction and criminal law experience. We love what we do and our clients reap the benefits.
Please see our GENERAL PRACTICE page for more information on our non-criminal practice time areas.
Our firm is perhaps the largest criminal defense firm based in Southeastern Connecticut. All attorneys at the firm practice criminal law and we have more than 100 years of combined experience. We defend against everything from DUI/DWI, motor vehicle, and misdemeanors, to class A felonies such as murder with special circumstances, carrying the potential for life imprisonment.
We are cognizant of and sensitive to the potential impact that a criminal case can have on our clients. As a result, we utilize every opportunity to obtain the most beneficial resolution possible for each client. And, because we have extensive post-conviction experience we anticipate the potential impact of the events in the trial court on future proceedings.
For a non-exhaustive list of crimes we defend against, see OFFENSES.
Challenging the decision of a lower court is a complex process. It begins with an examination of the record, which is followed by issue identification, research, brief writing and, ultimately, oral argument before the Court. We have familiarity with the specialized procedures involved with the appellate process. Our attorneys have more than 75 years of combined experience handling appeals in both civil (habeas) and criminal (direct) cases.
WRITS OF HABEAS CORPUS
The ancient writ of habeas corpus is an important post-conviction remedy. The writ is a unique hybrid between criminal law and civil law. The writ arises from criminal facts but is asserted through civil processes. The petitioner is the moving party and bears the burden of proof. Most habeas claims proceed to trial where the petitioner has the chance to present evidence to prove his claims to the court, making the writ of habeas corpus one of the few viable methods in the State of Connecticut to create an adequate record to challenge factual issues post-conviction. Claims asserted often include ineffective assistance of counsel, due process violations, restoration of appellate rights, and actual innocence.
When our firm presents a habeas case we undertake the trial process often almost from scratch, sometimes in cases that are decades old. We obtain any related files, review all materials, develop an investigative plan, develop and research claims, prepare motions, and ultimately present the petitioner’s claims in an Amended Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus. If a case cannot be resolved short of trial, we present the claims through witnesses and evidence at a trial before a judge. Our attorneys have more than 75 years of combined experience handling habeas corpus cases and represent petitioners in both state and federal habeas actions.
Motions to Correct Illegal Sentence
If an illegal sentence is imposed, or if a sentence is imposed in an illegal manner, a defendant may seek to correct that sentence. The process is much like that of preparing an appeal. We obtain the applicable files and transcripts of the trial court proceedings. A review of these materials is conducted and arguments are identified. Those arguments are then researched and crafted into a motion and supporting memorandum, and an argument is made before the sentencing court.
After sentencing, defendants have the right to seek sentence review. Sentence review is limited to a review of the information available to the sentencing court during sentencing, namely through the sentencing transcript. We review the file, paying particular attention to the defendant’s criminal history, the sentencing proceedings, the information before the court at sentencing, and the punishments received by any co-defendants. We utilize the permissible information and present an argument before a three judge panel. The panel decides whether to decrease the sentence, keep the sentence the same, or even increase the sentence.
If a sentence is longer than three years, a defendant may seek permission from the state’s attorney for a sentence modification to be heard before the trial judge. The ability to be heard is at the discretion of the state’s attorney. We handle the negotiations seeking permission for a sentence modification to be heard. We review the file, collect supporting documentation, and present an argument seeking modification of the sentence.
Case Review & Evaluation
When a potential client seeks our expertise in determining what remedies are available, what claims might be pursued, and the viability of those claims we offer a case evaluation service. This includes obtaining any related files, reviewing all materials, deciding which facts require investigation, determining which remedies may be available, and developing potential claims. The case evaluation service is available to those who cannot afford to retain our firm to privately litigate a post-conviction action start to finish, and to those and to those who are uncertain what avenues for relief are available. Our evaluation may then be used to assist other attorneys or pro se litigants, or simply to provide peace of mind.
DNA evidence is used with increasing regularity in criminal cases. In many cases DNA evidence is incorrectly viewed as conclusive and infallible. It is also exceedingly complex. Mounting a vigorous defense requires analyzing, understanding and challenging any DNA evidence. An attorney that understands the scientific complexities is best able to articulate issues to the court, prosecutor and jury, and to identify and explain issues such as contamination, flaws in the chain of custody, laboratory errors, mixtures, and incomplete and partial matches. DNA evidence may also be a powerful tool in seeking to establish actual innocence. Attorney Brian Carlow has been analyzing and litigating DNA issues for more than 20 years. He handled the DNA portion of Connecticut’s first DNA exoneration. He has since continued to hone his skills and provide assistance to countless other attorneys challenging DNA evidence. He is available as a consultant on cases in which DNA plays a role.
The right expert witness can make all the difference. Once qualified, an expert witness is allowed to testify about his or her opinion to assist the court and/or jury in understanding and evaluating the case. In many cases, having a seasoned and articulate legal expert is essential to establishing that legal relief is required. Our firm has uniquely skilled and experienced attorneys that have served as legal experts in matters involving criminal defense and post-conviction matters.
For more information on our general practice, please click here.
POST- CONVICTION REMEDIES
All Post-Conviction remedies and proceedings,
including but not limited to:
State and Federal Habeas Corpus
Direct Criminal Appeals
Motions to Correct Illegal Sentence
Less common motions and writs