Substitute Senate Bill No. 1161

Public Act No. 01-151

AN ACT CONCERNING THE DEATH PENALTY.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Subsection (i) of section 53a-46a of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(i) The aggravating factors to be considered shall be limited to the following: (1) The defendant committed the offense during the commission or attempted commission of, or during the immediate flight from the commission or attempted commission of, a felony and [he] the defendant had previously been convicted of the same felony; or (2) the defendant committed the offense after having been convicted of two or more state offenses or two or more federal offenses or of one or more state offenses and one or more federal offenses for each of which a penalty of more than one year imprisonment may be imposed, which offenses were committed on different occasions and which involved the infliction of serious bodily injury upon another person; or (3) the defendant committed the offense and in such commission knowingly created a grave risk of death to another person in addition to the victim of the offense; or (4) the defendant committed the offense in an especially heinous, cruel or depraved manner; or (5) the defendant procured the commission of the offense by payment, or promise of payment, of anything of pecuniary value; or (6) the defendant committed the offense as consideration for the receipt, or in expectation of the receipt, of anything of pecuniary value; or (7) the defendant committed the offense with an assault weapon, as defined in section 53-202a; or (8) the defendant committed the offense set forth in subdivision (1) of section 53a-54b, as amended by this act, to avoid arrest for a criminal act or prevent detection of a criminal act or to hamper or prevent the victim from carrying out any act within the scope of the victim's official duties or to retaliate against the victim for the performance of the victim's official duties.

Sec. 2. Subsection (h) of section 53a-46a of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(h) The court shall not impose the sentence of death on the defendant if the jury or, if there is no jury, the court finds by a special verdict, as provided in subsection (e), that at the time of the offense (1) [he] the defendant was under the age of eighteen years, or (2) the defendant was a person with mental retardation, as defined in section 1-1g, or [(2) his] (3) the defendant's mental capacity was significantly impaired or [his] the defendant's ability to conform [his] the defendant's conduct to the requirements of law was significantly impaired but not so impaired in either case as to constitute a defense to prosecution, or [(3) he] (4) the defendant was criminally liable under sections 53a-8, 53a-9 and 53a-10 for the offense, which was committed by another, but [his] the defendant's participation in such offense was relatively minor, although not so minor as to constitute a defense to prosecution, or [(4) he] (5) the defendant could not reasonably have foreseen that [his] the defendant's conduct in the course of commission of the offense of which [he] the defendant was convicted would cause, or would create a grave risk of causing, death to another person.

Sec. 3. Section 53a-54b of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

A person is guilty of a capital felony who is convicted of any of the following: (1) Murder of a member of the Division of State Police within the Department of Public Safety or of any local police department, a chief inspector or inspector in the Division of Criminal Justice, a state marshal who is exercising authority granted under any provision of the general statutes, a judicial marshal in performance of the duties of a judicial marshal, a constable who performs criminal law enforcement duties, a special policeman appointed under section 29-18, a conservation officer or special conservation officer appointed by the Commissioner of Environmental Protection under the provisions of section 26-5, an employee of the Department of Correction or a person providing services on behalf of said department when such employee or person is acting within the scope of [his] such employee's or person's employment or duties in a correctional institution or facility and the actor is confined in such institution or facility, or any fireman, while such victim was acting within the scope of [his] such victim's duties; (2) murder committed by a defendant who is hired to commit the same for pecuniary gain or murder committed by one who is hired by the defendant to commit the same for pecuniary gain; (3) murder committed by one who has previously been convicted of intentional murder or of murder committed in the course of commission of a felony; (4) murder committed by one who was, at the time of commission of the murder, under sentence of life imprisonment; (5) murder by a kidnapper of a kidnapped person during the course of the kidnapping or before such person is able to return or be returned to safety; [(6) the illegal sale, for economic gain, of cocaine, heroin or methadone to a person who dies as a direct result of the use by him of such cocaine, heroin or methadone; (7)] (6) murder committed in the course of the commission of sexual assault in the first degree; [(8)] (7) murder of two or more persons at the same time or in the course of a single transaction; or [(9)] (8) murder of a person under sixteen years of age.

Sec. 4. (a) There is established a Commission on the Death Penalty to study the imposition of the death penalty in this state.

(b) The commission shall be comprised of nine members appointed as follows: The Governor shall appoint two members, the Chief Justice shall appoint one member and the president pro tempore of the Senate, the speaker of the House of Representatives, the majority leader of the Senate, the majority leader of the House of Representatives, the minority leader of the Senate and the minority leader of the House of Representatives shall each appoint one member. Any vacancy on the commission shall be filled by the appointing authority having the power to make the original appointment. The Governor shall appoint a chairperson from among the membership.

(c) The study shall include, but not be limited to:

(1) An examination of whether the administration of the death penalty in this state comports with constitutional principles and requirements of fairness, justice, equality and due process;

(2) An examination and comparison of the financial costs to the state of imposing a death sentence and of imposing a sentence to life imprisonment without the possibility of release;

(3) An examination of whether there is any disparity in the decision to charge, prosecute and sentence a person for a capital felony based on the race, ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation, age or socioeconomic status of the defendant or the victim;

(4) An examination of whether there is any disparity in the decision to charge, prosecute and sentence a person for a capital felony based on the judicial district in which the offense occurred;

(5) An examination of the training and experience of prosecuting officials and defense counsel involved in capital cases at the trial and appellate and post-conviction levels;

(6) An examination of the process for appellate and post-conviction review of death sentences;

(7) An examination of the delay in attaining appellate and post-conviction review of death sentences, the delay between imposition of the death sentence and the actual execution of such sentence, and the reasons for such delays;

(8) An examination of procedures for the granting of a reprieve, stay of execution or commutation from the death penalty;

(9) An examination of the extent to which the Governor is authorized to grant a reprieve or stay of execution from the death penalty and whether the Governor should be granted that authority;

(10) An examination of safeguards that are currently in place or that should be put in place to ensure that innocent persons are not executed;

(11) An examination of the extent to which the victim impact statement authorized by section 53a-46d of the general statutes affects the sentence imposed upon a defendant convicted of a capital felony;

(12) A recommendation regarding the financial resources required by the Judicial Branch, Division of Criminal Justice, Division of Public Defender Services, Department of Correction and Board of Pardons to ensure that there is no unnecessary delay in the prosecution, defense and appeal of capital cases;

(13) An examination and review of any studies by other states and the federal government on the administration of the death penalty; and

(14) An examination of the emotional and financial effects that the delay between the imposition of the death sentence and the actual execution of such sentence has on the family of a murder victim.

(d) Not later than January 8, 2003, the commission shall report its findings and recommendations, including any recommendations for legislation and appropriations, to the General Assembly in accordance with the provisions of section 11-4a of the general statutes.

Sec. 5. This act shall take effect July 1, 2001.

Approved July 6, 2001