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Sound Bites: A busy weekend for law and order

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Good morning. Partly cloudy Monday. Expect scattered thunderstorms Tuesday with the chance of heavy rainfall. Highs this week are in the low 90s.

It was a busy weekend catching up on a handful of judgements and investigations from around the region. Here’s a bite-sized look at what we’re hearing:

Police are looking to connect unsolved crimes outside of New York to the Gilgo Beach murders. Long Island serial killer suspect Rex Heuermann also owns property in South Carolina and Las Vegas. Police are also reviewing Heuermann’s potential ties to Atlantic City. Heuermann was arrested earlier this month for the alleged murder of three women. He denies any wrongdoing.

Hate crime charges were dropped against a Connecticut woman who spat on Black Lives Matter protestor in 2021. A judge dismissed the charges after the woman completed a 100-hour anti-racism program within two years, part of a statewide accelerated rehabilitation program. Still, Black Lives Matter members protested the decision at Hartford Superior Court, calling the woman a racist.

Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim can't have his law license back. A three-judge panel ruled Friday that Ganim’s “recent good moral conduct and rehabilitation was still insufficient” for him to have the “fitness to practice law.” Ganim was first rejected in April by the Standing Committee on Recommendation for Admission to the Connecticut Bar. He lost his law license when he was sentenced in 2003 to nine years in federal prison for corruption. Ganim was reelected as mayor in 2019.

A federal judge has rejected Andrew Cuomo’s request to turn over details of the sexual harassment investigation against him. As part of his defense, Cuomo sought to compel the state attorney general and the state Assembly Judiciary Committee to hand over their records, including unredacted transcripts of witness statements. A state police officer sued the former governor for misconduct while she was working for his security detail. The judge said the records are shielded by “legislative privilege.”

University of New Haven forensic scientist Henry Lee was found liable for fabricating evidence in a murder case that sent two Connecticut men to prison, one for more than three decades, for a crime they did not commit. The men filed a federal wrongful conviction lawsuit naming Lee, law enforcement and the town of New Milford after a judge vacated their felony murder convictions in 2020. The ruling Friday sends the case against the police and the town to trial. A jury will determine damages Lee will have to pay.

Also noteworthy

  • U.S. Rep. Andrew Garbarino wants to prioritize housing for volunteer firefighters. Garbarino (R-NY) introduced a bipartisan bill to expand eligibility for qualified volunteer emergency responders to participate in certain federal housing assistance programs, including the Good Neighbor Next Door Sales Program. Long Island is home to more volunteer firefighters than the national average. Garbarino said the programs would help recruitment efforts, which are at odds with the high cost of living.
  • The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded Connecticut with $6.5 million to make climate resiliency upgrades in response to the increased intensity of weather events. It’s part of the Grid Resilience State and Tribal Formula Grant Program that started in May.
  • More than 130 Connecticut libraries have removed overdue fees. Researchshows eliminating fines can increase library usage and return of lost items that people were afraid to return. Find a fine-free library near you
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A native Long Islander, J.D. is WSHU's managing editor. He also hosts the climate podcast Higher Ground. J.D. reports for public radio stations across the Northeast, is a journalism educator and proud SPJ member.