Connecticut Seal

Substitute House Bill No. 5022

Public Act No. 03-242

AN ACT CONCERNING THE COLLECTION OF DNA SAMPLES FROM PERSONS CONVICTED OF A FELONY, THE PRESERVATION AND TESTING OF DNA EVIDENCE AND THE REVIEW OF WRONGFUL CONVICTIONS.

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

Section 1. Section 54-102g of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2003):

(a) Any person who is convicted of a criminal offense against a victim who is a minor, a nonviolent sexual offense or a sexually violent offense, as those terms are defined in section 54-250, or [of a felony found by the sentencing court to have been committed for a sexual purpose as provided in section 54-254] a felony, and is sentenced to the custody of the Commissioner of Correction shall, [at any time] prior to release from custody [, have a sample of such person's blood taken] and at such time as the commissioner may specify, submit to the taking of a blood or other biological sample for DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) analysis to determine identification characteristics specific to the person.

(b) Any person who is convicted of a criminal offense against a victim who is a minor, a nonviolent sexual offense or a sexually violent offense, as those terms are defined in section 54-250, or [of a felony found by the sentencing court to have been committed for a sexual purpose, as provided in section 54-254, who] a felony and is not sentenced to a term of confinement shall, as a condition of such sentence [, have a sample of such person's blood taken] and at such time as the sentencing court may specify, submit to the taking of a blood or other biological sample for DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) analysis to determine identification characteristics specific to the person.

(c) Any person who is found not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect pursuant to section 53a-13 of a criminal offense against a victim who is a minor, a nonviolent sexual offense or a sexually violent offense, as those terms are defined in section 54-250, or [of a felony found by the sentencing court to have been committed for a sexual purpose, as provided in section 54-254] a felony, shall, [at any time] prior to discharge from custody in accordance with subsection (e) of section 17a-582, section 17a-588 or subsection (g) of section 17a-593 [, have a sample of such person's blood taken] and at such time as the superintendent of the hospital for psychiatric disabilities in which such person is confined or the Commissioner of Mental Retardation with whom such person has been placed may specify, submit to the taking of a blood or other biological sample for DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) analysis to determine identification characteristics specific to the person.

(d) Any person who has been convicted of a criminal offense against a victim who is a minor, a nonviolent sexual offense or a sexually violent offense, as those terms are defined in section 54-250, or a felony, and is serving a period of probation or parole, and who has not submitted to the taking of a blood or other biological sample pursuant to subsection (a), (b) or (c) of this section, shall, prior to discharge from the custody of the Court Support Services Division or the Board of Parole and at such time as said division or board may specify, submit to the taking of a blood or other biological sample for DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) analysis to determine identification characteristics specific to the person.

[(d)] (e) The analysis shall be performed by the Division of Scientific Services within the Department of Public Safety. The identification characteristics of the profile resulting from the DNA analysis shall be stored and maintained by the division in a DNA data bank and shall be made available only as provided in section 54-102j, as amended by this act.

Sec. 2. Section 54-102h of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2003):

(a) Each blood or other biological sample required pursuant to section 54-102g, as amended by this act, from persons who are to be incarcerated shall be [withdrawn] taken at the receiving unit or at such other place as is designated by the Department of Correction. The required samples from persons who are not sentenced to a term of confinement shall be [withdrawn] taken at a time and place specified by the sentencing court. The required samples from persons who are found not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect pursuant to section 53a-13 and are confined in a hospital for psychiatric disabilities or placed with the Commissioner of Mental Retardation shall be taken at a time and place specified by the superintendent of such hospital or said commissioner, as the case may be. The required samples from persons who are serving periods of probation or parole shall be taken at a time and place specified by the Court Support Services Division or the Board of Parole, as the case may be. Only a person licensed to practice medicine and surgery in this state, a qualified laboratory technician, a registered nurse or a phlebotomist shall [withdraw] take any blood sample to be submitted to analysis. No civil liability shall attach to any person authorized to [withdraw blood] take a blood or other biological sample as provided in this section as a result of the act of [withdrawing blood] taking such sample from any person submitting thereto, if the blood or other biological sample was [withdrawn] taken according to recognized medical procedures, provided no person shall be relieved from liability for negligence in the [withdrawing] taking of any [blood] such sample.

(b) Chemically clean sterile disposable needles and vacuum draw tubes shall be used for all blood samples. The tube or container for a blood or other biological sample shall be sealed and labeled with the subject's name, Social Security number, date of birth, race and gender, the name of the person collecting the sample, and the date and place of collection. The [tubes] tube or container shall be secured to prevent tampering with the contents.

(c) The steps set forth in this section relating to the taking, handling, identification and disposition of blood or other biological samples are procedural and not substantive. Substantial compliance therewith shall be deemed to be sufficient. The samples shall be transported to the Division of Scientific Services within the Department of Public Safety not more than fifteen days following [withdrawal] their collection and shall be analyzed and stored in the DNA data bank in accordance with sections 54-102i, as amended by this act, and 54-102j, as amended by this act.

Sec. 3. Section 54-102i of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2003):

(a) Whether or not the results of an analysis are to be included in the data bank, the Division of Scientific Services within the Department of Public Safety shall conduct the DNA analysis in accordance with procedures adopted by the division to determine identification characteristics specific to the individual whose blood or other biological sample is being analyzed. Such procedures shall conform to nationally recognized and accepted standards for DNA analysis. The Commissioner of Public Safety or the commissioner's designee shall complete and maintain on file a form indicating the name of the person whose sample is to be analyzed, the date and by whom the [blood] sample was received and examined, and a statement that the seal on the tube or container had not been broken or otherwise tampered with. The remainder of a [blood] sample submitted for analysis and inclusion in the data bank pursuant to section 54-102g, as amended by this act, may be divided, labeled as provided for the original sample, and securely stored by the division in accordance with specific procedures set forth in regulations adopted by the Department of Public Safety in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54 to ensure the integrity and confidentiality of the samples. All or part of the remainder of that sample may be used only (1) to create a statistical data base provided no identifying information on the individual whose sample is being analyzed is included, or (2) for retesting by the division to validate or update the original analysis.

[(b) The division shall initiate a DNA testing process not later than forty-five days after the receipt of a blood sample that has been submitted for analysis. ]

(b) A report of the results of a DNA analysis conducted by the division as authorized, including the profile and identifying information, shall be made and maintained at the division. A certificate and the results of the analysis shall be admissible in any court as evidence of the facts therein stated. Except as specifically provided in this section and section 54-102j, as amended by this act, the results of the analysis shall be securely stored and shall remain confidential.

Sec. 4. Section 54-102j of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2003):

(a) It shall be the duty of the Division of Scientific Services within the Department of Public Safety to receive blood or other biological samples and to analyze, classify and file the results of DNA identification characteristics profiles of blood or other biological samples submitted pursuant to section 54-102g, as amended by this act, and to make such information available as provided in this section. The results of an analysis and comparison of the identification characteristics from two or more blood or other biological samples shall be made available directly to federal, state and local law enforcement officers upon request made in furtherance of an official investigation of any criminal offense. A request may be made by personal contact, mail or electronic means. The name of the person making the request and the purpose for which the information is requested shall be maintained on file with the division.

(b) Upon the request of a person from whom a blood or other biological sample has been taken pursuant to sections 54-102g and 54-102h, as amended by this act, a copy of such person's DNA profile shall be furnished to such person.

[(b)] (c) Upon the request of any person identified and charged with an offense as the result of a search of information in the data bank, a copy of the request for a search shall be furnished to such person so identified and charged. Only when a sample or DNA profile supplied by the person making the request satisfactorily matches a profile in the data bank shall the existence of data in the data bank be confirmed or identifying information from the data bank be disseminated.

[(c)] (d) The Department of Public Safety shall adopt regulations, in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54, governing (1) the methods of obtaining information from the data bank in accordance with this section, and (2) procedures for verification of the identity and authority of the person making the request. The department shall specify the positions in that agency which require regular access to the data bank and samples submitted as a necessary function of the job.

[(d)] (e) The Division of Scientific Services shall create a separate statistical data base comprised of DNA profiles of blood or other biological samples of persons whose identity is unknown. Nothing in this section or section 54-102k shall prohibit the Division of Scientific Services from sharing or otherwise disseminating the information in the statistical data base with law enforcement or criminal justice agencies within or without the state.

[(e)] (f) The Division of Scientific Services may charge a reasonable fee to search and provide a comparative analysis of DNA profiles in the data bank to any authorized law enforcement agency outside of the state.

Sec. 5. (NEW) (Effective October 1, 2003) (a) There is established a DNA Data Bank Oversight Panel composed of the Chief State's Attorney, the Attorney General, the Commissioner of Public Safety and the Commissioner of Correction, or their designees. The Chief State's Attorney shall serve as chairperson of the panel and shall coordinate the agencies responsible for the implementation and maintenance of the DNA data bank established pursuant to section 54-102j of the general statutes, as amended by this act.

(b) The panel shall take such action as necessary to assure the integrity of the data bank including the destruction of inappropriately obtained samples and the purging of all records and identifiable information pertaining to the persons from whom such inappropriately obtained samples were collected.

(c) The panel shall meet on a quarterly basis and shall maintain records of its meetings. Such records shall be retained by the chairperson.

Sec. 6. (NEW) (Effective October 1, 2003) (a) For the purposes of this section and section 7 of this act:

(1) "DNA testing" means forensic deoxyribonucleic acid testing; and

(2) "Agent" means a person, firm or corporation to whom the state police or a local police department entrusts or delivers evidence to undergo DNA testing.

(b) Upon the conviction of a person of a capital felony or the conviction of a person of a crime after trial, or upon order of the court for good cause shown, the state police, all local police departments, any agent of the state police or a local police department and any other person to whom biological evidence has been transferred shall preserve all biological evidence acquired during the course of the investigation of such crime for the term of such person's incarceration.

(c) The state police, a local police department, an agent or any person to whom biological evidence has been transferred may be relieved of the obligation to preserve biological evidence as provided in subsection (b) of this section by applying to the court in which the defendant's case was prosecuted for permission to destroy such biological evidence. Upon receipt of the application, the court shall give notice to all defendants charged in connection with the prosecution and shall hold a hearing. After such hearing, the court shall grant the application if it finds that the Connecticut Supreme Court has decided the defendant's appeal and the defendant does not seek further preservation of the biological evidence, or for good cause shown.

Sec. 7. (NEW) (Effective October 1, 2003) (a) Notwithstanding any other provision of law governing postconviction relief, any person who was convicted of a crime and sentenced to incarceration may, at any time during the term of such incarceration, file a petition with the sentencing court requesting the DNA testing of any evidence that is in the possession or control of the Division of Criminal Justice, any law enforcement agency, any laboratory or the superior court. The petitioner shall state under penalties of perjury that the requested testing is related to the investigation or prosecution that resulted in the petitioner's conviction and that the evidence sought to be tested contains biological evidence.

(b) After notice to the prosecutorial official and a hearing, the court shall order DNA testing if it finds that:

(1) A reasonable probability exists that the petitioner would not have been prosecuted or convicted if exculpatory results had been obtained through DNA testing;

(2) The evidence is still in existence and is capable of being subjected to DNA testing;

(3) The evidence, or a specific portion of the evidence identified by the petitioner, was never previously subjected to DNA testing, or the testing requested by the petitioner may resolve an issue that was never previously resolved by previous testing; and

(4) The petition before the Superior Court was filed in order to demonstrate the petitioner's innocence and not to delay the administration of justice.

(c) After notice to the prosecutorial official and a hearing, the court may order DNA testing if it finds that:

(1) A reasonable probability exists that the requested testing will produce DNA results which would have altered the verdict or reduced the petitioner's sentence if the results had been available at the prior proceedings leading to the judgment of conviction;

(2) The evidence is still in existence and is capable of being subjected to DNA testing;

(3) The evidence, or a specific portion of the evidence identified by the petitioner, was never previously subjected to DNA testing, or the testing requested by the petitioner may resolve an issue that was never previously resolved by previous testing; and

(4) The petition before the Superior Court was filed in order to demonstrate the petitioner's innocence and not to delay the administration of justice.

(d) The costs of DNA testing ordered pursuant to this section shall be borne by the state or the petitioner, as the court may order in the interests of justice, except that DNA testing shall not be denied because of the inability of the petitioner to pay the costs of such testing.

(e) In a proceeding under this section, the petitioner shall have the right to be represented by counsel and, if the petitioner is indigent, the court shall appoint counsel for the petitioner in accordance with section 51-296 of the general statutes.

Sec. 8. (NEW) (Effective October 1, 2003) (a) The Chief Court Administrator shall establish an advisory commission to review any criminal or juvenile case involving a wrongful conviction and recommend reforms to lessen the likelihood of a similar wrongful conviction occurring in the future. The advisory commission shall consist of the Chief State's Attorney, the Chief Public Defender and the Victim Advocate, or their designees, a representative from the Connecticut Police Chiefs Association, a representative from the Connecticut Bar Association, and representatives from one or more law schools in this state and one or more institutions of higher education in this state that offer undergraduate programs in criminal justice and forensic science.

(b) Whenever a person who has been convicted of a crime is subsequently determined to be innocent of such crime and exonerated, the advisory commission may conduct an investigation to determine the cause or causes of the wrongful conviction. Such investigation shall include, but not be limited to, an examination of the nature and circumstances of the crime, the background, character and history of the defendant, and the manner in which the investigation, evidence collection, prosecution, defense and trial of the case was conducted. Notwithstanding any provision of the general statutes concerning the confidentiality, erasure or destruction of records, the advisory commission shall have access to all police and court records and records of any prosecuting attorney pertaining to the case under investigation. The advisory commission shall not further disclose such records.

(c) Upon the conclusion of its investigation, the advisory commission shall report its findings and any recommendations it may have for reforms to lessen the likelihood of similar wrongful convictions occurring in the future to the joint standing committee of the General Assembly on the judiciary, in accordance with the provisions of section 11-4a of the general statutes, and to other interested persons as deemed appropriate including the Chief Court Administrator, the Chief State's Attorney, the Chief Public Defender, the Commissioner of Public Safety and the chief of any local police department involved in the investigation of the case.

Approved July 9, 2003