- Associated Press - Friday, January 15, 2021

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - A 2015 Connecticut criminal justice reform law that reduced prison time for certain drug possession crimes does not apply retroactively, the state Supreme Court ruled Friday in a decision affecting some convicts seeking to have lengthy drug-related sentences cut short.

Justices said in a 6-0 decision in the appeal of Haji Jhmalah Bischoff, of Waterbury, that laws passed by the legislature and governor are only retroactive if they specifically say so, according to Connecticut legal precedent. The Second Chance Society law, which was proposed by then-Gov. Dannel Malloy, does not mention retroactivity.

Bischoff argued in his appeal that in passing the law, the legislature intended to reduce the excessive punishment of nonviolent drug possession crimes and the new law should not be restricted to crimes committed after it took effect.

Bischoff was arrested in a 2014 drug bust in Stratford, but his convictions for possessing heroin, crack cocaine and marijuana and five-year prison sentence occurred a year after the 2015 law took effect.

He argued in his appeal that he should have been sentenced under the new law, which reduced narcotics possession from a felony to a misdemeanor and reduced the maximum sentence from seven years to one year.

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