Public Safety and Security Committee

JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT

Bill No.:

SB-429

Title:

AN ACT CONCERNING PUBLIC SAFETY.

Vote Date:

3/18/2014

Vote Action:

Joint Favorable Substitute

PH Date:

3/11/2014

File No.:

SPONSORS OF BILL:

Public Safety & Security Committee

REASONS FOR THE BILL:

To establish the “knockout” crimes assault as a class D felony and to transfer children of age sixteen to be charged with such assault to the regular criminal docket of the Superior Court. Committing such a crime would establish a two year mandatory minimum sentence and treat them as adults in the Superior Court.

SUBSTITUTE LANGUAGE:

Original language required only a single strike to any body part, but the Division of Criminal Justice raised concerns that assailants using multiple punches or kicks can avoid second degree assault. It would be considered second degree assault to cause serious physical injury to another person by rendering the victim unconscious, without provocation with a strike to the head.

RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:

Attorney, Christine Perra Rapillo, Director of Delinquency Defense & Child Protection, Division of Public Defender Services: The Office of Chief Public Defender, representing the Division of Public Defender Services submitted written testimony in opposition to SB-429. They stated “Assault in the Second Degree is already a crime for which a child can be transferred to the adult docket under the discretionary transfer statute, 46b-127(b). Since this proposed offense would be based on the intent of the accused, it is much more appropriate to leave the decision to transfer to the prosecutor and the judge.”

The Division of Criminal Justice: submitted written testimony in opposition of SB-429. The Division, stated “SB-429 creates the additional anomaly that the “knockout” criminal, who intentionally causes a loss of consciousness quickly and efficiently with one blow, is subjected to a 2 year mandatory minimum sentence, but a person who intentionally causes exactly the same end result, but does so less efficiently over a longer period of time, with more blows and presumably more pain and suffering for the victim, is subject to no mandatory minimum sentence.”

Abby Anderson, Executive Director, CT Juvenile Justice Alliance: testify in opposition to SB-429 stating, “..there is already a way to hold those accused of assault accountable under the law” and “.. it would make this D felony an automatic transfer offense for youth 16 of age and older, undermining the recent Raise the Age efforts and significantly lowering the kind of crime for which youth are automatically transferred.” She added, “to determine that a class D felony should result in automatic transfer to the adult system for those 16 and older would be against best practices and against the policy direction Connecticut has taken in recent years. In 2010, 16 years-olds were included in the juvenile justice system and in 2012 17 years-olds joined them”.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:

None expressed.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:

None expressed.

Reported by: Daniele Mealha

Date: 03/20/2014