OLR Bill Analysis

HB 6633

AN ACT CONCERNING STALKING.

SUMMARY:

This bill expands the conduct covered by and increases the penalty for each of the three degrees of stalking crimes.

Currently, a person commits 3rd-degree stalking by recklessly causing another to reasonably fear for his or her physical safety by willfully and repeatedly following or lying in wait for the other person. The bill instead makes a person guilty of this crime if he or she, intentionally and for no “legitimate purpose,” engages in a course of conduct directed at a specific person and knows or reasonably should know that the conduct will or is likely to have a particular outcome. Table 1 shows the conduct and outcome.

Table 1

Conduct

Outcome

Any conduct

Likely to cause reasonable fear of material harm to the other person's physical health, safety, or property or that of an immediate family member or acquaintance

Following, in person or by an electronic device, or initiating communication or contact with the other person, a member of the person's immediate family, or an acquaintance after being clearly informed to cease

Places the other person at risk of material harm to his or her mental or emotional health

Appearing at, phoning, or initiating communication or contact at the person's place of employment or business after being clearly informed to cease

Likely to cause the person to reasonably fear that his or her employment, business, or career is threatened

The bill increases the penalty for 3rd-degree stalking to a class A misdemeanor (punishable by up to one year in prison, up to a $ 2,000 fine, or both) from a class B misdemeanor (punishable by up to six months in prison, up to a $ 1,000 fine, or both).

By law, a person commits 2nd-degree stalking by willfully and repeatedly following or lying in wait for someone with intent to cause the victim to fear for his or her physical safety and actually causes the victim to reasonably fear for his or her physical safety.

The bill expands this crime to cover someone age 21 or older who, with intent to cause another person to fear for his or her physical safety, repeatedly follows someone (apparently anyone) under age 16 or engages in a course of conduct that intentionally places or attempts to place the “other person” in reasonable fear of physical injury. It is unclear who must fear physical injury, the minor or the intended victim. The bill increases the penalty for 2nd-degree stalking from a class A misdemeanor to a class D felony (punishable by up to five years in prison, up to a $ 5,000 fine, or both).

Under current law, a person commits 1st-degree stalking by committing 2nd-degree stalking under one of three circumstances: (1) the victim is under age 16, (2) he or she has a prior conviction for 2nd-degree stalking, or (3) he or she violated a court order. The bill changes the scope of this crime by: (1) expanding the activities that constitute 2nd-degree stalking; (2) lowering, from 16 to 13, the age of the victim; and (3) making offenders of 3rd-degree stalking subject to it.

It also increases the penalty for 1st-degree stalking from a class D to class C felony (punishable by up to 10 years in prison, a fine of up to $ 10,000, or both).

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2011

COMMITTEE ACTION

Judiciary Committee

Joint Favorable

Yea

41

Nay

0

(04/05/2011)