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Handcuffed Arrested Man Behind Prison Bars


Chris Nov. 28, 2021

In a study of the first 255 people to be cleared by DNA evidence, about 54 of the exonerees claimed that their wrongful conviction was due to ineffective representation. An incompetent defense lawyer can argue a case poorly, overlook some crucial facts, and cost the alleged defendant many years of freedom. This was the tragic situation of Fate Vincent Winslow, a man who was sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole for selling $20 worth of marijuana.

If you’re under investigation for a crime — or have already been arrested and charged — retaining a highly-skilled Connecticut criminal defense attorney is paramount to build your defense strategy and help you avoid the devastating consequences of a wrongful conviction.

At Dematteo Legal Solutions, I have devoted my career to offering knowledgeable legal guidance and reliable representation to individuals in their criminal cases. As your legal counsel, I can investigate all the facts of your case and outline a strong defense for your unique situation. I will fight aggressively to defend your rights and help you pursue the best possible outcome available. My firm is proud to serve clients across West Haven, Milford, Derby, Bridgeport, Middletown, and New Haven, Connecticut.


Ineffective representation by a legal counsel involves a situation whereby a criminal defense lawyer fails to represent his or her client diligently. A prime example of ineffective representation was the 2008 trial of Fate Vincent Winslow.

In 2008, Fate Winslow was arrested by officers from the Shreveport, Louisiana police department, arraigned, and convicted of selling $20 worth of marijuana. His lawyer represented him ineffectively, gave an opening statement less than 30 seconds, called no witnesses, hardly mentioned his client’s name, and didn’t present any evidence.

Winslow, a homeless Black man with previous addiction issues, was only acting as a middleman for a white dealer in a desperate attempt to raise some money as he was hungry. The dealer, who wasn’t taken in, sold the weed and gave Winslow $5. Unfortunately for Winslow, he had three prior non-violent convictions: a burglary at 17, another burglary at 27, and cocaine possession at 37. As a result, he was considered a habitual offender.

Due to the state’s four-strike law, his sentence was bumped up to mandatory life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. Winslow was later released after serving 12 long years, thanks to the efforts of the Innocence Project New Orleans (IPNO), a public interest legal group. He was tragically murdered only four short months after being released. This heartbreaking story of ineffective representation speaks for itself. 


When facing criminal charges, you may be wondering whether to hire an attorney from a large law firm or a "boutique" law firm like DeMatteo Legal Solutions. Here are some things to consider when making your decision:

Client-Attorney Relationship

At a larger law firm, it's likely that your case will be assigned to a team of attorneys and staff. A close client-attorney relationship may not be able to grow in such an environment, especially if your case is one of many in a long queue. More people working on your case could also increase the chances of misunderstandings, miscommunications, pricier costs, and duplication of efforts. Conversely, I can give your case the dedicated and personalized attention it needs while fostering a deeper understanding of your needs and goals.

Cost & Efficiency

Smaller law firms like mine tend to be more efficient in working on your case at a fair price. It is my goal to find solutions to your legal issues in a timely manner without running up a hefty bill. At a larger law firm, your case will likely make rounds through their hierarchy, which means many people billing you for many hours needlessly. There is little incentive at large law firms to work quickly and efficiently. Why pay them more per hour for significantly more hours with no guarantee of better results?


One of my main priorities is to be accessible to my clients when they need to discuss their questions and concerns. Even when I am in court, I respond to all calls, voicemails, text messages, and emails as soon as I can. At a larger law firm, you might talk to a different individual every time you reach out — if someone is able to take your call at all.

Working with a law firm like DeMatteo Legal Solutions can make a huge difference in your case. It's essential that you choose a reliable defense attorney with the right qualities to avoid costly, ineffective representation.


Here are some important qualities you should seek in an effective defense attorney:

Extensive Experience and Legal Knowledge – A well-experienced defense attorney can help you avoid costly errors and ensure effective representation.

Objectivity – Your legal counsel can give a unique perspective on your available legal options and help you make informed decisions.

Integrity – Your attorney should be able to protect your rights and make decisions based on your best interests.

Investigation Skills – Your attorney should be able to review every aspect of your case and conduct in-depth research.

Excellent Communication Skills – An attorney that communicates and listens well can help determine the right strategies to defend your case.

Interpersonal Relationship – A good criminal defense attorney will establish a cordial relationship with you and consider you a partner when fighting your allegations.

Aggressiveness – A defense attorney who knows when and where to be aggressive can give you the needed advantage when fighting your charges.

Connections to the Local Legal Community – When facing criminal charges in West Haven, it is important that a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney who has connections with the local legal community is advocating for your rights.

Choosing the wrong representation could mean devastating repercussions such as longer or unwarranted prison sentences and massive fines. Looking out for the qualities mentioned above can help you make intelligent decisions when choosing legal counsel to help fight your criminal charges.


Facing criminal charges can be scary. This is why you should always work with an effective defense attorney. At Dematteo Legal Solutions, I have the experience and resources to give your case the dedicated and personalized attention it deserves.

As your legal counsel, I will review and investigate all of the facts of your case and help you understand your rights and possible legal options. Using my extensive legal understanding, I will fight aggressively to defend your freedom, strive to achieve the best available outcome, and help keep your record as clean as possible.

Contact my firm – Dematteo Legal Solutions – today to schedule a one-on-one case evaluation with a skilled criminal defense attorney. I’m proud to serve clients across West Haven, Milford, Derby, Bridgeport, Middletown, and New Haven, Connecticut. Call me today to get the knowledgeable guidance and strong representation you need.