OFFICE OF FISCAL ANALYSIS

Legislative Office Building, Room 5200

Hartford, CT 06106 (860) 240-0200

http: //www.cga.ct.gov/ofa

HB-6578

AN ACT CONCERNING THE PENALTY FOR A CAPITAL FELONY.

AMENDMENT

LCO No.: 7538

File Copy No.: 726

House Calendar No.: 479

Senate Calendar No.: 661

OFA Fiscal Note

SIGNIFICANT COST

The amendment provides for a mandatory prison term of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole for any person convicted of a third offense as a persistent dangerous felony offender.

There are over 200 offenders in the custody of the Department of Correction who meet the criteria to be persistent dangerous felony offenders and are eligible for a life sentence. Additionally, over 4, 000 inmates have been convicted of at least one of the 22 crimes that would be subject to the amendment's provision. It is unknown how many of these offenders had prior convictions and could be affected by the amendment. However, to the extent that one offender is sentenced to a year longer sentence, the resulting cost would be $44, 165 annually.

The number of felony trials is anticipated to increase under the amendment since it reduces defendants' incentive to plea bargain.1 The Divisions of Criminal Justice and Public Defender Services Commission each would require at least one additional position to handle more trials under the amendment. Note that the addition of one attorney with either the Public Defender Services Commission or the Division of Criminal Justice yields a state cost of more than $100, 000 (i.e., significant) to include salary, expenses and fringe benefits.2

The preceding Fiscal Impact statement is prepared for the benefit of the members of the General Assembly, solely for the purposes of information, summarization and explanation and does not represent the intent of the General Assembly or either chamber thereof for any purpose. In general, fiscal impacts are based upon a variety of informational sources, including the analyst's professional knowledge. Whenever applicable, agency data is consulted as part of the analysis, however final products do not necessarily reflect an assessment from any specific department.

1 Use of the persistent offender statutes has increased since passage of PA 08-51, and associated plea negotiation offers by state's attorneys have increased. Source: testimony of the Chief Public Defender submitted to the Judiciary Committee on October 16, 2008. Fifteen additional attorney positions (at an approximate annual cost of $1.5 million including salaries, fringes and expenses) were added under PA 08-51 in order to handle persistent felony offender cases as modified by PA 08-51. Under California's version of the “three strikes” policy (which provides a mandatory minimum prison sentence of 25 years) , approximately 41% of “third strike” cases result in trials (compared to 4% for felonies and 9% for “second strikes”. Source: Austin, James, et al. “The impact of 'three strikes and you're out.'” Sage Publications Vol 1(2) (1999) : 145.

2 Starting salary $61, 899 + fringe benefits equal to 58% of salary $35, 901 + expenses $3, 095 = $100, 895.