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The answer is - it is unclear
CT has not created a strong precedent in case law one way or another, nor does a statutory explanation exist - about whether or not nolo contendere
counts as "guilty" for purposes of employment applications.
in Groton v. United Steelworkers of America, 254 Conn. 35 - Conn: Supreme Court 2000
addresses the issue and upholds:
1) "The only practical difference is that the plea of nolo contendere may not be used against the defendant as an admission in a subsequent criminal
or civil case. 4 Wigmore, Evidence (Chadbourn Rev. 1972) § 1066 (2), p. 81; Lenvin & Meyers, `Nolo Contendere: Its Nature and Implications,' 51 Yale L.J. 1255 (1942)."
2) ". It is clear, however, that a nolo contendere plea also constitutes a waiver of all nonjurisdictional defects in a manner equivalent to a guilty plea. Lott v. United States, 367 U.S. 421,***** 1563, 6 L. Ed.2d 940 (1961); 50*50 United States v. DePoli, 628 F.2d 779, 781 (2d Cir. 1980)." (Internal quotation marks omitted.) State v. Madera, 198 Conn. 92, 97 n.5, 503 A.2d 136 (1985)."
So... it is unclear. The Court even states as such:
"Thus, it is simply too much to expect of the employer that it be required to set aside its legitimate expectations, solely because of the differences, which the law recognizes in contexts other than that of employment, between a conviction based upon a guilty plea or trial and a conviction based upon a nolo contendere plea."
(However note that the employer decision deals with another matter, and not the application process.)
As such, at the moment, there is no clear policy. One may wish to state NO, or NO but also include a cover letter explaining
that this was nolo contendere, and not a guilty plea. If the employer is thorough, they will do a background check either way and then will see the record; it helps to be on the safe side and to offer an explanation in terms of the cover letter, rather than to say NO but then seem like a liar.
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