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Substitute Senate Bill No. 1066

Public Act No. 03-179

AN ACT CONCERNING VICTIMS' RIGHTS IN COURT PROCEEDINGS AND DUTIES OF VICTIM ADVOCATES.

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

Section 1. Subsection (b) of section 54-91c of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2003):

(b) Prior to the imposition of sentence upon any defendant who has been found guilty of any crime or has pleaded guilty or nolo contendere to any crime, and prior to the acceptance by the court of a plea of guilty or nolo contendere made pursuant to a plea agreement with the state wherein the defendant pleads to a lesser offense than the offense with which such defendant was originally charged, the court shall permit [the] any victim of the crime to appear before the court for the purpose of making a statement for the record, which statement may include the victim's opinion of any plea agreement. In lieu of such appearance, the victim may submit a written statement or, if the victim of the crime is deceased, the legal representative or a member of the immediate family of such [crime] deceased victim may submit a statement of such deceased [crime] victim to the state's attorney, assistant state's attorney or deputy assistant state's attorney in charge of the case. Such state's attorney, assistant state's attorney or deputy assistant state's attorney shall file the statement with the sentencing court and the statement shall be made a part of the record at the sentencing hearing. Any such statement, whether oral or written, shall relate to the facts of the case, the appropriateness of any penalty and the extent of any injuries, financial losses and loss of earnings directly resulting from the crime for which the defendant is being sentenced. The court shall inquire on the record whether any victim is present for the purpose of making an oral statement or has submitted a written statement. If no victim is present and no such written statement has been submitted, the court shall inquire on the record whether an attempt has been made to notify any such victim as provided in subsection (c) of this section. After consideration of any such statements, the court may refuse to accept, where appropriate, a negotiated plea or sentence, and the court shall give the defendant an opportunity to enter a new plea and to elect trial by jury or by the court.

Sec. 2. Section 53a-46d of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2003):

A victim impact statement prepared [by] with the assistance of a victim advocate to be placed in court files in accordance with subdivision (2) of subsection (a) of section 54-220, as amended by this act, may be read in court prior to imposition of sentence upon a defendant found guilty of a crime punishable by death.

Sec. 3. Section 54-220 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2003):

(a) Victim advocates shall have the following responsibilities and duties: (1) To provide initial screening of each personal injury case; (2) to [prepare] assist victims in the preparation of victim impact statements to be placed in court files; (3) to [assist victims by providing information needed for more effective processing of cases] notify victims of their rights and request that each victim attest to the fact of such notification of rights on a form developed by the Office of the Chief Court Administrator, which form shall be signed by the victim advocate and the victim and be placed in court files and a copy of which form shall be provided to the victim; (4) to provide information and advice to [individual] victims in order to assist such victims in exercising their rights throughout the criminal justice process; (5) to direct victims to public and private agencies for service; (6) to coordinate victim applications to the Office of Victim Services; and (7) to assist victims in the processing of claims for restitution.

(b) Within available appropriations, the Office of Victim Services may contract with any public or private agency for victim advocate services in geographical area courts.

Approved June 26, 2003