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Spinella and Associates
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Spinella and Associates
Paul Spinella

1 Lewis St
Hartford CT 06103
(860) 728-4900

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Alt. Phone: 860 728-4908 ext 103
Fax: (860) 728-4909


Spinella and Associates

Call : 860 728-4900


About Spinella & Associates Attorneys At Law

Hartford Connecticut Lawyers specializing in Civil Rights & Criminal Defense

Spinella & Associates is made up of determined Connecticut trial lawyers who represent the ordinary citizen against the abuse of power by institutions, a firm of energetic CT lawyers who bound up the courthouse steps anxious to do battle for individual rights.

Spinella & Associates Connecticut Attorneys at Law have been described by clients and opponents alike as possessing two distinctive traits: enormous thoroughness and unlimited persistence.

Opponents of Spinella & Associates know they face the certainty of a vigorously presented claim brought by experienced Hartford Connecticut Attorneys. They know they are up against competent and experienced CT plaintiff's counsel.

Areas of Practice

Spinella & Associates is a boutique civil rights and Connecticut criminal defense firm that now concentrates its practice in the civil area on a wide range of CT civil rights violations (including abuses of power by police, municipal, and government authorities) along with complex civil damage claims involving negligence, employment, and fiduciary violations.

Our Connecticut law firm also concentrates its practice in the area of criminal defense by presentation of the criminally accused during the pre-trial and trial stages of prosecution, as well as appeal of criminal convictions and post-conviction attacks of convictions by way of habeas corpus.

Spinella & Associates’ areas of practice include the following:

  • Civil Rights and Damage Claims Against Municipal, State and Federal Government Officials and Individuals, Including:
    • False arrest
    • False Imprisonment
    • Malicious Misconduct
    • Excessive Use of Force
    • Whistleblower Claims
    • Unjust Conviction
    • Defense of civil claims against criminal defendants
    • Prosecution and defense of commercial and personal injury lawsuits
    • Employment claims including discrimination and illegal termination
    • Native American Rights


  • Criminal Investigations and Trials:
    Pre-indictment, pretrial, and trial criminal defense representation in all state and federal courts, including:
    • General white collar crimes
    • Business fraud
    • Securities fraud
    • Homicides, and all other violent crimes
    • Narcotics
    • Internet crimes
    • Sex Offenses
    • DUI offenses, vehicular manslaughter, and related offenses


  • Criminal Appeals and Collateral Attacks: Direct Appeals of criminal convictions and Habeas Corpus claims in State and Federal Courts for:
    • Prosecutorial misconduct
    • Ineffective assistance of defense counsel
    • Newly discovered evidence
    • Violation of due process and constitutional procedural rights

Our goal at Spinella and Associates is to provide the highest quality legal services to you in a timely fashion. We welcome the opportunity to talk with you and to discuss how we may be of service. We have a dedicated team to defend DUI cases. We have experience in the criminal defense and we focus on DUI Defense. Over half of the firm's cases are referrals from other Connecticut lawyers. The reason is clear. Spinella & Associates, trial lawyers in Hartford, CT, have a track record and a reputation for getting results. We will not back down from a challenge and are are not afraid of the tough cases.


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About Us

Welcome to Spinella & Associates

Hartford CT Lawyers specializing in Civil Rights & Criminal Defense

The Law Offices of Spinella & Associates is a boutique civil rights and criminal defense law firm that concentrates on civil rights lawsuits including civil rights, class actions and appeals, involving abuses of power by police, municipal and government officials and general violation of due process by prosecutorial and official authority. Their representation extends to complex civil damage claims in the area of professional and other negligence claims; employment litigation; fiduciary violations in the Probate area.

Our Hartford Connecticut law firm also concentrates its practice in the area of criminal defense by representation of individuals accused of white collar and violent offenses during the pre-trial and trial stages of prosecutions, as well as appeals of criminal convictions and post-conviction attacks of convictions by way of habeas corpus claims.

In addition to a staff of experienced legal assistants, the firm has one associate CT attorney and a second young CT attorney with long associate and training with firm who is anticipated to begin a full time role, thereby bringing the firm to the minimal size which it chooses to maintain, despite the ability to grow larger and having been considerably larger in the past.

In addition to its permanent staff, our CT law firm is assisted by other talented Connecticut attorneys who act as Of Counsel to the firm in many of its more substantial cases.

Attorney David K. Jaffe, an experienced CT civil rights attorney and partner in a prominent Hartford law firm, along with Attorney Timothy Moynahan, the founding partner of the City of Waterbury’s most well-known law firm, provides enormous resources and talented assistance in many of the firm’s most substantial legal battles.

Our CT law firm’s attorneys are passionate about fighting for substantial civil rights claims (including high profile class action civil rights claims) and are known for bringing a fearless and imaginative approach to their representation of the criminally accused.

Street savvy, Historical perspective. Legal experience

Over half of the firm's cases are referrals from other Connecticut lawyers. The reason is clear. Spinella & Associates, trial lawyers in Hartford, CT, have a track record and a reputation for getting results. They will not back down from a challenge. They are not afraid of the tough cases.

They combine street savvy, historical perspective, extensive legal experience in civil and criminal litigation.

Criminal Defense

Connecticut Criminal Defense Attorneys

Hartford CT Lawyers specializing in Criminal Defense

Your Freedom
Criminal Defense Law
Areas of Experience

No defense is too fierce when your freedom is at stake.

Your most valuable assets can be lost if you have been charged with a crime...your freedom and your reputation…to say nothing of the forfeiture of all your assets.

Prosecutors have the vast resources of police departments and their own investigators working hard to make their case against people, often before they are even charged. These resources must be countered with an aggressive defense that includes state-of-the-art electronic research systems, expert witnesses who are available for the particular type of case involved, and criminal investigators who work with Spinella & Associates to develop the best possible criminal defense.

Obtaining skillful criminal representation is a battle for a person's future. He or she needs to be defended by a fearless trial attorney who has been tested under the fire of criminal litigation and trial.

Connecticut Criminal Defense Law

Spinella & Associates are experienced CT trial attorneys, licensed in the state of Connecticut, who practice in criminal defense law and are battle-tested. Depending upon the particular charge, the proper choice of a criminal defense lawyer may be the most important decision of someone's life.

Spinella & Associates form an experienced, skillful and knowledgeable Hartford criminal defense team, the kind that prosecutors fear and respect. They offer a panoply of criminal services, representing defendants accused of violent and nonviolent crimes as well as a wide range of white-collar crimes. In addition to their representation of defendants at trial, Spinella trial lawyers represent defendants convicted of crime in post-trial proceedings and in the appeal of convictions. Attorneys at Spinella & Associates have a long history of prosecuting appeals in criminal cases before Connecticut and federal courts. Their scholarship in this area makes them qualified to pursue criminal appellate matters of every kind.

Attorney Spinella, in addition to authoring Connecticut Criminal Procedure, the state's foremost textbook devoted to the history and law of criminal procedure in Connecticut, is also a member of the Connecticut Bar Association's Section on Criminal Justice, the Connecticut Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, and a lifetime member of National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. He is also actively involved in the American Trial Lawyers Associations.

CT Criminal Defense Practice Areas

Spinella & Associates is a boutique civil rights and Connecticut criminal defense firm with experience litigating on behalf of individuals in nearly every area of civil and criminal practice. Although some of these Connecticut criminal cases are described later in this website, the firm now concentrates its civil practice on a wide range of civil rights violations (including abuses of power by police, municipal, and government authorities), although it still handles complex civil damage claims involving negligence, employment, and fiduciary violations.

Our CT law firm also concentrates its practice in the area of criminal defense by representation of the criminally accused during the pre-trial and trial stages of prosecution, as well as appeal of criminal convictions and post-conviction attacks of convictions by way of habeas corpus.

Spinella & Associates’ areas of practice include the following:
CT Civil Rights and Damage Claims Against Municipal, State and Federal Government Officials and Individuals, Including:

  • False arrest
  • False Imprisonment
  • Malicious Misconduct
  • Excessive Use of Force
  • Whistle blower Claims
  • Unjust Conviction
  • Defense of civil claims against criminal defendants
  • Prosecution and defense of commercial and personal injury lawsuits
  • Employment claims including discrimination and illegal termination
  • Native American Rights

Connecticut Criminal Investigations and Trials:

  • General white collar crimes
  • Business fraud
  • Securities fraud
  • Homicides, and all other violent crimes
  • Narcotics
  • Internet crimes
  • Sex Offenses
  • DUI offenses, vehicular manslaughter, and related offenses

CT Criminal Appeals and Collateral Attacks:
Direct Appeals of criminal convictions and Habeas Corpus claims in State and Federal Courts for:

  • Prosecutorial misconduct
  • Ineffective assistance of defense counsel
  • Newly discovered evidence
  • Violation of due process and constitutional procedural right

Personal Injury

Connecticut Personal Injury Attorneys

Hartford CT Lawyers specializing in Complex Personal Injury & Wrongful Death Claims

Successful Verdicts
Personal Injury, Product & Municipal Liability

A track record of successful verdicts, not just settlements.

The fact is that most personal injury, medical malpractice, product liability and wrongful death cases are settled before they come to trial. So why is it important to retain a Connecticut personal injury attorney or a Connecticut medical malpractice lawyer who has a track record of successful verdicts?

Here are just a few reasons why you may need such a CT trial lawyer:

  • Your personal injury case may end up at trial.
  • An insurance company claims adjuster or defendant's attorney probably will offer a more generous settlement to an attorney who has a proven track record in obtaining successful settlements and verdicts.
  • The adjuster's function is to limit the financial exposure of his employer. Trials can be an expensive alternative to negotiated settlements if this is not accomplished.
  • Seasoned Connecticut trial attorneys have readily available investigative and expert witness resources to support your case.

CT Personal injury litigation, product liability, municipal liability

Spinella & Associates cannot promise that you will receive a similar result, for example, to the electrician for whom they won a $1,750,000 verdict against the City of New Britain, a summary of which is provided elsewhere on this web site (see Case Examples later in this website - reference to past case results do not, of course, guarantee future results as the descriptions provided are intended to be illustrative only of the hundreds plus cases handled by our firm).

However, they do promise that they will take the same kind of care to develop each CT personal injury litigation case to obtain the best result possible and that they will keep you informed of the progress of your case and put forth their best effort, while seeing to it that each case is fully investigated and thoroughly presented.

If you have suffered serious injuries and you believe they are due to the negligence or wrongdoing of a third party, then Spinella & Associates are available to help you ascertain whether you have a viable Connecticut personal injury case and, if you do, to vigorously represent your interests by pursuing your case and obtaining compensation for your injuries.

Firm Bios

Experienced Hartford CT Attorneys specializing in Civil Rights & Criminal Defense

A. Paul Spinella

Before starting his own office, A. Paul Spinella practiced law for over ten years with one of Hartford County's most prominent law firms where he was a partner in charge of litigation. During that time he represented many of Connecticut's largest insurance companies before developing his present plaintiffs-based practice.

A particular area of Attorney Spinella's practice is the area of criminal trial and appellate practice. He is the author of Connecticut Criminal Procedure, a 1,000-page textbook that examines the history, development, and existing state of the law of Connecticut criminal procedure. First published in 1985, this text was the result of four years of labor—it has recently been supplemented and is presently undergoing additional revisions.

The commitment and devotion demonstrated by his dedication to this project are directed to his clients; he represents citizens accused of crimes in all of Connecticut's trial courts, as well as before Connecticut's appellate courts, where he represents citizens convicted of crimes who are seeking post-conviction remedies in either the trial or the appellate courts.

In addition to his scholarly pursuits, Attorney Spinella is a litigator who has had enormous experience in the trenches—he has tried major cases to verdict in every type of prosecution in all of Connecticut's courts.

As a result of his zealous defense of the citizen accused, Attorney Spinella has developed a substantial practice prosecuting claims on behalf of citizens who have had their rights violated by police and prosecutors. He has pursued widely publicized police misconduct and civil rights claims against virtually every major municipality in Connecticut.

Attorney Spinella has lectured widely in the areas of plaintiff's rights, police misconduct and civil rights, and criminal defense issues. In addition, he has participated in numerous professional organizations devoted to these and related areas. For example, he is a longtime member of the Connecticut Bar Association, where he served as a member of the House of Delegates. He is presently a member of the Executive Committee of the Civil Rights Section and has previously served as Chairman; during his tenure as Chairman he organized and chaired a highly regarded seminar that greatly influenced the development of State Constitutional Jurisprudence. He has also served previously and presently on a number of other State Bar Committees such as the Executive Committee of the Criminal Justice Section and the Executive Committee of the Professional Responsibility Section. He is also a member of the Hartford Bar Association (where he presently serves on the Scholarship Fund) as well as a number of other state and national organizations devoted to civil and criminal trial practice such as the Connecticut Criminal Defense Lawyers Association (former chair of Lawyer's Assistance Task Force) and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (Lifetime member). He is also active in the Connecticut and American Trial Lawyers Association.

Throughout his career, Attorney Spinella has experience in a wide range of plaintiff's cases and in cases involving the criminally accused. (Samples of these cases are described in the Firm Cases section of this web site.) He feels strongly that there are two types of courtroom advocates—litigators and trial lawyers. A trial lawyer particularly a civil rights trial lawyer, cares about results and will go to the mat to vindicate his client's rights because he believes in what he does and sees himself as a member of a profession with a great history; for a civil rights lawyer, the “business of law” is a respectable financial enterprise, the pursuit of which is, however, conducted in order to advance the goals of a noble profession. Attorney Spinella is a trial lawyer.

He is a graduate of Trinity College and the University of Connecticut Law School where he served as an associate editor of the Law Review and as a member of the National Moot Court Team. Following law school he served an appointment as a law clerk to a Federal District Court judge.

Firm History

Clear focus on firm goals

Attorneys at Spinella & Associates have each been practicing individually for more than 15 years.

Attorney Spinella's book, Connecticut Criminal Procedure, is a standard reference tool in Connecticut for the defense bar and prosecutors alike.

In keeping with the ideal of providing CT legal clients with the most personal service and taking on only worthwhile cases that are carefully screened, the firm plans to expand, yet resists the urge to grow much larger.

Connecticut lawyers. Inspired by history. Guided by tradition.

Attorneys at Spinella & Associates come from a long line of Connecticut lawyers dating back to Roger Baldwin's representation of the freed slaves of the Amistad incident. The firm’s Hartford CT attorneys strive to preserve civil liberties by protecting individuals from overreaching societal institutions.

For persons whose rights are in jeopardy, Spinella & Associates are your instruments of protection. To accomplish your goals, they combine street savvy with historical perspective and legal experience, along with extensive experience in police misconduct and other Connecticut civil rights cases.

In addition to criminal matters and CT civil rights claims, Spinella & Associates represent plaintiffs in other areas: whistleblowers, employees, investors, and consumers.

Whistleblower cases are brought under the United States False Claim Act on behalf of individuals who report government fraud or are terminated for opposing fraudulent practices.

Some plaintiff cases in Connecticut are brought as class actions, a procedure that allows individuals to gather together to challenge powerful institutions or companies. Typically these CT legal cases involve claims by stockholders against publicly traded companies, employment discrimination claims, and consumer/product liability cases.

Spinella & Associates are closely associated and share office premises with a national law firm who work solely in the area of class actions and have brought many leading national cases over the last decade.

To learn more about the type of cases we handle, please go to Firm Cases.

Who We Are

Spinella & Associates is made up of determined Connecticut trial lawyers who represent the ordinary citizen against the abuse of power by institutions, a firm of energetic CT lawyers who bound up the courthouse steps anxious to do battle for individual rights.

Spinella & Associates Connecticut Attorneys at Law have been described by clients and opponents alike as possessing two distinctive traits: enormous thoroughness and unlimited persistence.

Opponents of Spinella & Associates know they face the certainty of a vigorously presented claim brought by experienced Hartford Connecticut Attorneys. They know they are up against competent and experienced CT plaintiff's counsel.

Areas of Practice

Spinella & Associates is a boutique civil rights and Connecticut criminal defense firm that now concentrates its practice in the civil area on a wide range of CT civil rights violations (including abuses of power by police, municipal, and government authorities) along with complex civil damage claims involving negligence, employment, and fiduciary violations.

Our Connecticut law firm also concentrates its practice in the area of criminal defense by presentation of the criminally accused during the pre-trial and trial stages of prosecution, as well as appeal of criminal convictions and post-conviction attacks of convictions by way of habeas corpus.

Spinella & Associates’ areas of practice include the following:

  • Civil Rights and Damage Claims Against Municipal, State and Federal Government Officials and Individuals, Including:
    • False arrest
    • False Imprisonment
    • Malicious Misconduct
    • Excessive Use of Force
    • Whistleblower Claims
    • Unjust Conviction
    • Defense of civil claims against criminal defendants
    • Prosecution and defense of commercial and personal injury lawsuits
    • Employment claims including discrimination and illegal termination
    • Native American Rights
  • Criminal Investigations and Trials:
    Pre-indictment, pretrial, and trial criminal defense representation in all state and federal courts, including:
    • General white collar crimes
    • Business fraud
    • Securities fraud
    • Homicides, and all other violent crimes
    • Narcotics
    • Internet crimes
    • Sex Offenses
    • DUI offenses, vehicular manslaughter, and related offenses
  • Criminal Appeals and Collateral Attacks: Direct Appeals of criminal convictions and Habeas Corpus claims in State and Federal Courts for:
    • Prosecutorial misconduct
    • Ineffective assistance of defense counsel
    • Newly discovered evidence
    • Violation of due process and constitutional procedural rights

HABEAS CORPUS

HABEAS CORPUS: CHALLENGING A WRONGFUL CRIMINAL CONVICTION

Connecticut Habeas Corpus Attorneys

Habeas Corpus: a unique area of legal practice

I am proud to say that from the first days of my career as a lawyer- beginning with my work as a law clerk for a Federal District Judge drafting Habeas opinions-I have dedicated my practice in some part to habeas matters.

Few competent lawyers practice in this intricate corner of the judicial world; yet there is no legal tool with a more noble history and tradition in realizing the civil rights of citizens imprisoned by the State.

Habeas Corpus: why it is important

We live in perilous times.
In times of war or national political paranoia any citizen brave enough to raise a contrary public view is at risk of government detention without trial, or conviction without just cause after trial by an unchecked prosecutorial authority with power to corrupt witnesses and process.

This is no paranoid fantasy: one need only consider the Japanese-American interment during World War II; the decades of post-civil war white supremacist southern juries and their routine convictions of black defendants innocent of any crime; the countless numbers of innocent citizens (and non-citizens) wrongly deemed “terrorist” and imprisoned for prolonged periods without benefit of trial, victimized by the government’s post “9-11" degradation of our system of criminal justice; and the seemingly daily news accounts of the release of wrongful convicted citizens who, with the advent of DNA technology, have been shown to be wrongfully imprisoned for shockingly long periods of time by juries presented with cases by overzealous unethical government prosecutors and incompetent defense counsel.

Let us be clear: we reside in a Post-New Deal, national security State run by an increasingly omnipotent federal government with the power to investigate, prosecute, and convict ordinary citizens who have not committed a clearly defined crime by coercion of witnesses and manipulation of juries. As set forth in Harvey Silvergate’s brilliant book Three Felonies A Day a wide variety of innocuous behaviors have been criminalized by an overzealous Justice Department; a compliant judiciary; and a system of amorphous federal statutes that fail to provide fair notice of conduct deemed criminal. The result is a citizenry at constant risk of imprisonment at the whim of government officials with complete discretion to interpret and prosecute the law as they see fit.

Any great system of criminal justice must provide one basic protection to its citizenry: protection against arbitrary and lawless seizures of individuals by the State; in other words, protection against jack-booted state agents snatching an otherwise law abiding citizen from his home or the street, casting him into a dark cell without resource to a fair trial conducted by ethical, unbiased prosecutors and juries.

In our system of Criminal Justice this protection is provided by a singular legal institution with a storied history: the writ of Habeas Corpus. In recent times even a conservative United States Supreme Court has acknowledge the central importance of the writ in a series of opinions according the right to a habeas hearing to foreign nationals held in Guantanamo Bay as alleged terrorists.

Commonly described as “The Great Writ”, the Petition for Habeas Corpus is a cornerstone of Anglo-Saxo, and more important, of American Democratic Jurisprudence.

It is no simplification to say that to describe the history of the “Great Writ” is to describe the long and complicated evolution of Anglo-Saxon-American jurisprudence, including the best and essential aspect of what makes our criminal process great and admirable; namely, it is the legal instrument that makes us free from the dead-weight of tyranny.

Habeas corpus- Latin for “you have the body”- is the most important legal instrument for protecting individual freedom from lawless government action. For centuries it has provided protection to foreign national and U.S. citizens by requiring the government to justify any form of detention whenever a Writ is filed, thereby forcing the government to justify the legality of a prisoner’s detention or bring about his immediate release.

With roots in English Common law, the “Great Writ” is guaranteed today by federal statute and the U.S. and State Constitutions.

Habeas Corpus: where and how it is used

Although the primary function of the Writ remains that of challenging custody based on wrongful convictions, such as those based on lack of jurisdiction of the presiding Court, it has been expanded to include constitutional defects in the process by which the defendant has been interned. Morever, the Writ may now be applied to non-criminal circumstances, such as confinement in a mental hospital; to obtain custody of minor children, as well as to request an order for support contingent to a decision on the custody issue; and to challenge pre-trial detention arising from extradition proceedings among many other forms of wrongful detention.

The United States and Connecticut Supreme Court has also gone so far as to suggest that an inmate released from jail (or one not subject to immediate release even if his petition is successful) may have grounds for habeas relief when there are collateral consequences flowing from the conviction which impose significant restraints on liberty (for example the inability to engage in certain activities as a result of the conviction).

In almost all cases, however, the principal use of the Writ is to challenge a criminal conviction. Aside from the few cases where a claim is made that the court had no authority to convict the defendant, almost all habeas cases are based on a single limited claim: that of ineffective assistance of counsel.

More simply put, a citizen held in jail following a criminal conviction will be successful in filing a habeas petition in almost all cases only if he can show that he had an incompetent lawyer.

To be successful in bringing an ineffective assistance claim the petitioner must show two things: a) that his attorney’s representation was not within the range of competence displayed by lawyers with ordinary skill and training in the criminal law; and b) that there is a reasonable probability that but for counsel’s unprofessional errors the ultimate result would have been different.

Fiduciary Violation

Connecticut Fiduciary Violation Cases

Hartford CT Legal Cases involving Fiduciary Violations

Restored Freedom

A bank and its law firm had kept an heir separated from his multi-million dollar family fortune. Even wealthy individuals can have problems with large established institutions.

Spinella & Associates' client, a graduate of a prestigious law school, had presided over a huge investment portfolio and become a highly regarded philanthropist despite an admitted alcohol problem. Even after he joined Alcoholics Anonymous and recovered from his problem, the local probate court still refused to remove the conservatorship that had previously been placed on him. Another probate judge called the action an "outrage."

Spinella & Associates produced psychiatric evaluations attesting to the client's competence. These evaluations showed he had a superior I.Q. and no evidence of cognitive or personality deterioration. He regained his freedom and control over his finances after a several-day trial.

Soon after, he ran as a candidate for probate judge in the district that unjustly declared him incapable.

Although he lost the political race, he made a respectable showing. Moreover, with the help of Spinella & Associates, he regained his dignity and independence and control of his estate. Shortly after this, they represented him in a case to recover damages for the alleged mismanagement of his monies by his conservator bank.

Attorney Spinella recalls this CT fiduciary violation case in terms of what it represents: "Just about every nightmare cliché of what can happen in a small town." And he speaks proudly of his client's recovery and accomplishments: "I respect [my client] an incredible amount. After going through this, he ran for political office because he genuinely wanted to help his community and protect others."


Hartford CT Criminal Defense Attorney

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