OLR Bill Analysis
AN ACT CONCERNING A SECOND CHANCE SOCIETY.
This bill (1) gradually raises the maximum age of juvenile justice jurisdiction over a period of three years from age 17 to age 20; (2) extends youthful offender status to certain offenders ages 18, 19, and 20; (3) requires certain defendants to have the option to post cash bail instead of surety bond as a condition of release; and (4) makes other miscellaneous changes.
More specifically, it raises the age of the juvenile justice jurisdiction over a period of three years and makes several changes to various laws related to juvenile matters to reflect the age increase. In doing so, it:
1. creates “young adults,” a new category of individuals within the juvenile justice system, which includes 18-year-olds, beginning July 1, 2017; 19-year-olds, beginning July 1, 2018; and 20-year-olds, beginning July 1, 2019;
2. requires the Juvenile Justice Policy and Oversight Committee (JJPOC) to (a) plan for the implementation of any changes required to the juvenile justice system to extend the juvenile court's jurisdiction and (b) report its findings and recommendations, by January 1, 2017, to the governor, the six legislative leaders, and select committees of the General Assembly;
3. makes related technical and conforming changes throughout the existing juvenile justice laws to reflect the increase in the age of juvenile jurisdiction and thereby makes existing delinquency proceeding requirements generally applicable to young adults;
4. raises, from 14 to 15, the minimum age at which a child who committed a felony may be prosecuted as a serious juvenile repeat offender; and
5. requires juvenile court judges to automatically transfer to adult criminal court a young adult charged with a capital felony committed prior to April 25, 2012; a class A felony; certain class B felonies; or arson murder, as is required for 15- through 17-year-olds under existing law.
The bill extends youthful offender status to certain offenders ages 18, 19, and 20. By law, a person qualifies for this status if he or she does not have a prior felony conviction or certain juvenile adjudications and meets other criteria. By law, youthful offender cases are handled in adult court separately from criminal matters. Courts can impose different penalties than in either juvenile or adult court, and a youthful offender adjudication is not a criminal conviction.
With respect to bail bonds and release, the bill requires the court, if it orders certain defendants to post a surety bond to give them the option to post cash bail equal to 10% of the surety bond instead. The cash bail is (1) deposited in court, (2) forfeited if the arrestee does not appear at a court date, and (3) returned to the person who deposited it if the arrestee appears for each court date.
The bill prohibits the court from requiring a defendant to post a surety bond if he or she is (1) charged only with a misdemeanor that is not a family violence crime or 2nd degree failure to appear and (2) not a risk to another person's safety. Thus, it requires the court to order the person's release on one of the other options available to the court.
The bill requires the Judicial Branch's Court Support Services Division (CSSD) to create and give arrestees notice explaining the process of release after an arrest.
Additionally, the bill makes changes to the Department of Correction's (DOC) commissioner authority over inmates released under supervision to a nursing home for palliative and end-of-life care. It eliminates provisions (1) specifically allowing the commissioner, as a condition of nursing home placement, to require the DOC medical director to periodically review and diagnose the inmate during his or her release and (2) requiring the inmate's return to DOC custody if the medical director determines that the inmate no longer meets the criteria for release.
Lastly, the bill expands the list of state agencies with which the Office of Policy Management's Criminal Justice Policy and Planning Division (CJPPD) must consult and which must provide information and data the division requests.
EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2017, except (1) the provisions on JJPOC (§ 3), CJPPD (§ 8), and DOC release to nursing home (§ 39) are effective upon passage and (2) the provisions on bail bonds and release (§§ 27-32) and youthful offenders (§§ 33-38) are effective October 1, 2016.
§§ 1-7 & 9-26 — RAISE THE AGE - JUVENILE JUSTICE JURISDICTION
Young Adult (§ 1)
The bill creates a new category of individuals within the juvenile justice system, “young adults,” which includes 18-year-olds, beginning July 1, 2017; 19-year-olds, beginning July 1, 2018; and 20-year-olds, beginning July 1, 2019. By law, the juvenile justice system already serves children under age 18. Thus the bill raises the current cutoff age for juvenile court jurisdiction, age 17, by one year annually starting July 1, 2017, until the cutoff is age 20.
It defines "young adult," for purposes of delinquency matters and proceedings, as follows:
On or after July 1, 2017. Anyone who (1) committed or allegedly committed a delinquent act while age 18 and (2)(a) after turning age 19, violates a Superior Court order or condition of probation with respect to a delinquency proceeding or (b) willfully fails to appear in response to a summons or at any other court hearing in a delinquency proceeding of which he or she had notice.
On or after July 1, 2018. Anyone who (1) committed or allegedly committed a delinquent act while age 18 or 19 and (2)(a) after turning age 20, violates a Superior Court order or condition of probation with respect to a delinquency proceeding or (b) willfully fails to appear in response to a summons or at any other court hearing in a delinquency proceeding of which he or she had notice.
On or after July 1, 2019. Anyone who (1) committed or allegedly committed a delinquent act while age 18, 19, or 20 and (2)(a) after turning age 21, violates a Superior Court order or condition of probation with respect to a delinquency proceeding or (b) willfully fails to appear in response to a summons or at any other court hearing in a delinquency proceeding of which he or she had notice.
Adult Jurisdiction (§ 1)
In raising the age of the juvenile court's jurisdiction, the bill also raises the age of adult jurisdiction and defines “age of adult jurisdiction” as follows:
1. age 19, from July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2018;
2. age 20, from July 1, 2018 through June 30, 2019; and
3. age 21 and older, starting July 1, 2019.
JJPOC (§ 3)
Mission. The bill requires the JJPOC to evaluate and report on (1) juvenile justice system policies and (2) the extension of juvenile jurisdiction to 18-, 19-, and 20-year-olds. The 39-member committee, including legislators, executive and judicial branch officials, child and youth advocates, parents or parent advocates, and a police chief was established in 2014 to evaluate and report on the extension of juvenile jurisdiction to 16- and 17-year-olds.
Plan Implementation and Reporting. The bill requires the JJPOC to plan for the implementation of any changes required to the juvenile justice system in order to extend the jurisdiction of the juvenile court to include:
1. 18-year-olds beginning July 1, 2017;
2. 19-year-olds beginning July 1, 2018; and
3. 20-year-olds, beginning July 1, 2019.
Under the bill, the JJPOC, by January 1, 2017, must report its findings and recommendations to the governor; the six legislative leaders; and the Appropriations, Children's, Human Services, and Judiciary committees.
Working Groups, Consultation, and Support. Under the bill, the JJPOC may form working groups to help the committee carry out its duties. The working groups must consist of individuals the JJPOC members identify as stakeholders in the juvenile justice policy system and the expansion of juvenile jurisdiction.
Existing law requires the JJPOC, in carrying out its responsibilities, to consult with one or more organizations that focus on relevant children and youth issues, such as the University of New Haven.
By law, the JJPOC must also work in collaboration with any Results First initiatives implemented by law, including those implemented by the Results First Policy Oversight Committee (CGS § 2-111).
Recommendations to Improve the Juvenile Justice System. Existing law requires the JJPOC to assess the juvenile justice system and recommend ways to improve it. The JJPOC must report its assessment and recommendations annually to the Appropriations, Children's, Human Services, and Judiciary committees and the Office of Policy and Management (OPM) secretary, by July 1, 2016, 2017, and 2018. Existing law also requires JJPOC to report, quarterly until January 1, 2017 and annually after that, to these entities on the progress in achieving its goals and measures.
Delinquency Proceedings (§§ 2, 5-7 & 9-24)
The bill makes conforming changes throughout the existing juvenile justice statutes to reflect the extension of juvenile jurisdiction to young adults. In doing so, it makes existing delinquency proceeding requirements generally applicable to young adults.
Arrest and Detention Hearing. Under the bill, when a young adult is arrested for committing an alleged delinquent act, he or she may either be released or sent to detention, as is the case under existing law for children. By law, a person who is detained has the right to a hearing on the next business day and may be detained after the hearing in limited circumstances, such as if the court finds a strong probability that he or she will commit or attempt to commit other offenses injurious to him- or herself or to the community before the court disposition.
Nonjudicial or Judicial Handling. By law, a delinquency case may either be handled nonjudicially (outside of the courtroom) or judicially. In order to qualify for nonjudicial handling, among other things, the alleged act cannot be a felony and the person must (1) not have any previous delinquency convictions and (2) have admitted to the allegations.
When a delinquency case is handled judicially, there is typically an initial plea hearing (arraignment), followed by a pretrial conference, followed by a trial or a plea canvass and dispositional hearing. Under existing law, if a child pleads guilty to a delinquent act or is found guilty as the result of a trial, he or she may be committed to the Department of Children and Families (DCF) for up to 18 months (or up to four years for a serious juvenile offense). Under the bill, this also applies in the case of a young adult.
Competency and Intervention. The bill extends to young adults the law's court procedure for addressing questions about the competency of and intervention services for a child charged with a delinquent offense.
Under current law, DCF provides intervention services to children. Under the bill, in the case of a young adult, intervention services must be provided by the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS), or if the young adult agrees to pay for such services, by any appropriate person, agency, mental health facility, or treatment program that agrees to provide appropriate intervention services in the least restrictive setting available to the young adult and comply with specified conditions. In the case of a young adult, the bill extends existing notification and reporting requirements related to intervention services to the DMHAS commissioner.
Physical and Mental Examination at Disposition. The law requires the court to order a complete mental and physical examination of a child by a professional qualified to do so when it is necessary to the disposition of a case. The bill also applies this to cases involving young adults. Under the bill, the court must assess the young adult the cost of the examination if he or she is found able to pay all or part of the cost. Under existing law, in a case involving a child, the court must assess the cost of the examination to any agency with legal custody of the child or the child's parent, guardian, or custodian found able to pay all or part of the cost.
Under existing law, prior to the disposition of the case of any child adjudicated as delinquent, the court may order a complete diagnostic examination of the child, unless such information is otherwise available. Under the bill, the court may do the same in cases involving young adults.
Alternative Incarceration Program. Under the bill, instead of committing a young adult who was adjudicated as delinquent to a detention center, a juvenile court judge may order CSSD to assess the young adult for placement in an alternative incarceration program and the court may then order the young adult to participate in such a program. This is already the case for a child under existing law.
Probation or Suspended Commitment. By law, at any time during a period of probation or suspended commitment, after a hearing and for good cause shown, the court may modify or enlarge the conditions of the probation or suspension and may extend the period as it deems appropriate.
Under existing law, the court must give a copy of any such order to the child or his or her parent or guardian and probation officer. Under the bill, the court must also give a copy to the young adult and his or her probation officer.
Juvenile Records. By law, all juvenile delinquency proceedings records, including those for young adults under the bill, are generally confidential and for the juvenile court's use. But the court must disclose such records in specified situations. For example, the records must be available (1) to judicial branch employees and probate court judges and employees if their jobs require access to such records, (2) to employees and authorized agents of certain state and federal agencies, (3) upon order of the court to anyone who has a legitimate interest and is identified in the order, (4) to the victim of the crime, and (5) to law enforcement officials under certain circumstances.
Serious Juvenile Offender. The law designates approximately 50 felonies, including murder, first degree assault, and first degree burglary, as serious juvenile offenses (SJOs). Under existing law, a child charged with an SJO may not be released from detention without an order from the court. Under the bill, this is also the case for a young adult charged with an SJO.
Serious Juvenile Repeat Offender. The bill raises, from 14 to 15, the minimum age at which a child who commits a felony may be prosecuted as a serious juvenile repeat offender. The bill allows a young adult who commits a felony to be prosecuted as a serious juvenile repeat offender.
Serious Sexual Offender. Under existing law, whenever a child is alleged to have committed a crime of a sexual nature and the case is not transferred to the adult criminal court, the prosecutor may ask the court to designate the proceeding as a serious sexual offender prosecution. The bill extends this to any case in which a young adult commits such a crime.
By law, the requirements for the timing for a hearing, right to trial by jury, and transfer to adult criminal court outlined above for serious juvenile repeat offender cases also apply in serious sexual offender cases.
Transfer to Adult Criminal Court (§§ 4, 25 & 26)
Under current law, a child age 17 or younger accused of a crime is adjudicated in juvenile court rather than in adult criminal court. In juvenile court, a person is accused of a delinquent act rather than a crime and different procedures apply. Different penalties apply when a person is found to have committed a delinquent act than apply in adult court to a person convicted of a crime (see BACKGROUND).
As is the case for 15- through 17-year-olds under current law, the bill requires the juvenile court judge to automatically transfer to adult criminal court young adults (i.e., 18-year-olds, beginning July 1, 2017; 18- and 19-year-olds, beginning July 1, 2018; and 18- through 20-year-olds, beginning July 1, 2019) charged with a capital felony committed prior to April 25, 2012; a class A felony; certain class B felonies; or arson murder. By law, the following B felonies are not subject to automatic transfer:
1. first-degree manslaughter;
2. first-degree assault of a DOC employee;
3. second-degree sexual assault of a victim under age 16;
4. second-degree kidnapping;
5. one form of first-degree burglary (i.e., the person enters or remains unlawfully in a building with intent to commit a crime in the building and in the course of committing the offense, intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly inflicts or attempts to inflict bodily injury on another person);
6. second-degree arson;
7. first-degree larceny;
8. first-degree identify theft;
9. first-degree robbery, other than when the person is armed with a deadly weapon;
10. importing child pornography;
11. first-degree possession of child pornography;
12. first-degree computer crime; and
13. computer crime in furtherance of terrorist purposes.
Under existing law, for a child age 15 through 17 charged with a felony not subject to automatic transfer, the prosecutor may request a transfer to adult court, and the court may order the transfer in certain circumstances. Under the bill, the prosecutor may do the same for a young adult charged with a felony not subject to automatic transfer.
By law and under the bill, if the prosecutor requests a transfer to adult criminal court, the juvenile court can order the transfer only if it determines after a hearing that (1) there is probable cause to believe that the person committed the alleged offense and (2) the best interests of both the person and public are not served by keeping the case in juvenile court. The court must consider (1) the person's prior criminal or juvenile offenses and their seriousness, (2) any evidence that the person has intellectual disability or mental illness, and (3) the availability of juvenile court services that can serve the person's needs. The motion to transfer must be made, and the hearing held, within 30 days after the person's arraignment in juvenile court.
By law, for discretionary transfers, the adult criminal court can return the case to juvenile court any time before a jury verdict or guilty plea, on a showing of good cause.
By law, the disposition, related orders, and evidence in a juvenile matter are inadmissible as evidence in a criminal proceeding, except for evidence of a crime committed when the person attained the age of adult jurisdiction.
Under the bill, a young adult transferred to adult criminal court may be tried as a youthful offender, as noted below.
§§ 33-38 — YOUTHFUL OFFENDERS
By law, youthful offender laws provide special procedures for cases transferred from juvenile to adult criminal court. To qualify as a youthful offender, the minor cannot be charged with certain crimes (such as a class A felony) and cannot have any prior felony convictions or certain juvenile adjudications (see BACKGROUND).
Youthful offender proceedings are private and conducted separately from adult criminal matters and the court has a different sentencing option than in either adult or juvenile court, with a four-year maximum prison term that the court can impose (see BACKGROUND). But even if the minor qualifies, a prosecutor can request, and the court order, that the minor's case be moved to adult court.
Extending Youthful Offender Status
The bill extends youthful offender status to offenders ages 18, 19, and 20. As under current law, offenders transferred from juvenile court to the adult criminal docket are also eligible for youthful offender status. Thus, under the bill, offenders will be eligible for youthful offender status in two ways: either their cases (1) come to adult court directly because they are too old for juvenile court when they commit their crimes or (2) start in juvenile court but are transferred to adult court.
The bill makes technical and conforming changes to existing youthful offender laws to reflect the increased ages of offenders eligible for youthful offender status under the bill. It also makes two other changes:
1. it limits the court's existing authority to refer youthful offenders to a youth services bureau to offenders under age 18 and
2. it changes the time frame for automatically erasing police and court records about a youthful offender. Currently, records are automatically erased once the youthful offender reaches age 21 if he or she has completed any required supervision or commitment and has not been later convicted of a felony. The bill instead requires automatic erasure under these same conditions four years after the person was adjudged a youthful offender.
By law, someone who is a youthful offender is not a criminal and being adjudged a youthful offender is not a conviction (CGS § 54-76k).
§§ 27-32 — BAIL BONDS AND RELEASE
Cash Bail Option
The bill requires the court, if it orders certain defendants to post a surety bond, to give them the option to post cash bail instead. This applies to defendants who are not charged with a family violence crime or certain serious crimes (class A felonies, most class B and C felonies, and some class D felonies). By law, the court must order these defendants released on the first condition sufficient to reasonably ensure the person's appearance in court. The conditions include:
1. a written promise to appear either without special conditions or with nonfinancial conditions or
1. on a bond with or without surety in no greater amount than necessary.
When considering which option to order, the law requires the court to consider the nature and circumstances of the offense and the person's prior convictions, past record of appearance in court, family ties, employment record, financial resources, character, mental condition, and community ties.
Unless the court states on the record which of the factors above make it inappropriate, the bill requires a court that orders a surety bond to give the arrestee the option to instead pay cash bail to the court. The cash bail must equal 10% of the surety bond's amount. The bill allows anyone other than a professional bondsman or surety bail bond agent to provide the cash bail.
The bill requires the court to place the cash bail it collects in an interest-bearing account established for this purpose. The cash bail is forfeited if the arrestee does not appear at a court date but is returned to the person who deposited it if the arrestee appears at each court date. At least quarterly, the court must remit forfeited cash bail and any interest earned on it to the organization administering the interest of lawyers' trust accounts (IOLTA) program to fund legal services to the poor.
Defendants Charged With a Misdemeanor
The bill prohibits the court from requiring a defendant to post a surety bond if he or she is charged only with a misdemeanor and:
1. he or she is not charged with a family violence crime or the class A misdemeanor of 2nd degree failure to appear and
2. the court does not find on the record that the defendant poses a risk to another person's safety if released.
If a defendant falls into this category, the court must order him or her released under one of the other available options, whichever is sufficient to reasonably ensure the defendant's appearance in court:
1. a written promise to appear without special conditions or with nonfinancial conditions or
2. bond without surety in no amount greater than necessary.
Pretrial Release Eligibility Notice
The bill requires CSSD, by January 1, 2017, to develop a pretrial release eligibility notice that explains the process of release after an arrest. The Judicial Branch, DOC, State Police, and municipal police departments must ensure that arrestees are provided the notice when they are presented with conditions for their release. The division must update the notice as it deems necessary.
§ 39 — DOC RELEASE TO NURSING HOME
By law, the DOC commissioner has authority to release inmates (other than those convicted of capital felony or murder with special circumstances) for palliative and end-of-life care to a licensed community-based nursing home under contract with the state. Such an inmate remains under DOC supervision while in the community.
The bill eliminates provisions:
1. specifically allowing the DOC commissioner, as a condition of nursing home placement, to require the DOC medical director to periodically review and diagnose the inmate during his or her release, and
2. requiring the inmate's return to DOC custody if the medical director determines the inmate no longer meets the criteria for release.
As under existing law, before the commissioner can authorize placement, the medical director must determine that the inmate is suffering from a terminal condition, disease, or syndrome or is so debilitated or incapacitated by it as to (1) need continuous palliative or end-of-life care or (2) be physically incapable of presenting a danger to society.
§ 8 — CJPPD
By law, the CJPPD must develop a plan to promote a more effective and cohesive state criminal justice system.
The bill requires the CJPPD, in carrying out its duties, to consult with DCF and the chief medical examiner's office. Under the bill, DCF and the chief medical examiner's office must provide the division, at its request, the information and data the division needs to perform its duties.
Under existing law, the CJPPD must consult with the chief court administrator, the CSSD executive director, the chief state's attorney, and the chief public defender; who must provide the information and data the division requests.
Class A and B Felonies: Disposition in Juvenile vs. Criminal Court
When handled in criminal court, authorized prison terms are generally up to (1) 25 years for class A felonies and (2) 20 years for class B felonies. For some A or B felonies, there are (1) longer maximum terms (e.g., 60 years for murder) or (2) mandatory minimum terms.
If a child is adjudicated delinquent in a juvenile court for violating a criminal statute, the court may order various sentences, such as an alternative incarceration program, probation, or commitment to DCF. DCF commitment may be for up to four years for a “serious juvenile offense” or up to 18 months for other offenses. Serious juvenile offenses include (1) murder with special circumstances (previously, capital felony); (2) arson murder; (3) all class A felonies; and (4) many class B felonies.
DCF may extend the commitment beyond these periods if it can prove to the court that doing so would be in the best interest of the child or the community. DCF commitments for delinquency end when the child reaches age 20 (CGS §§ 46b-140, 141).
Qualifying as a Youthful Offender
To qualify as a youthful offender, the person must not be charged with:
1. a class A felony;
2. negligent homicide with a motor vehicle (CGS § 14-222a);
3. evading responsibility for an accident causing death or serious physical injury (CGS § 14-224(a) or (b)(1));
4. driving under the influence (CGS §§ 14-227a or -227g);
5. the portion of risk of injury to a minor involving sexual contact (CGS § 53-21(a)(2));
6. 1st, 2nd, or 3rd degree sexual assault (CGS §§ 53a-70, -71, and -72a);
7. 1st degree aggravated sexual assault (CGS § 53a-70a);
8. sexual assault in a spousal or cohabiting relationship (CGS § 53a-70b); or
9. 3rd degree sexual assault with a firearm (CGS § 53a-72b).
A 16- or 17-year-old charged with one of the sexual assault crimes listed above may be eligible if the conduct involved consensual sexual intercourse or contact with someone age 13 through 15.
Additionally, the person must have:
1. no prior felony convictions;
2. no adjudications as a serious juvenile offender (a determination in juvenile court that he or she committed one of certain serious crimes, such as murder, 1st degree assault, or 1st degree burglary); and
3. no adjudications as a serious juvenile repeat offender in juvenile court (a determination that he or she committed a felony and has two prior convictions or delinquency determinations for committing a felony)(CGS § 54-76b).
Youthful Offender Punishment Options
When sentencing a youthful offender, the law allows the court to:
1. impose a prison term of up to four years or the maximum term authorized for the crime, whichever is less;
2. commit the defendant for up to four years or the maximum term authorized for the crime, whichever is less, to a religious, charitable, or correctional institution authorized to receive people over age 16;
3. impose a fine of up to $1,000;
4. impose conditional or unconditional discharge;
5. require community service;
6. impose a sentence and suspend any portion of it;
7. order alcohol or drug dependency treatment; or
8. order supervision by the court's drug intervention program if available in the relevant judicial district (these programs currently operate in Danielson and New Haven).
If the court suspends a sentence, it may impose up to three years of probation but may, after a hearing, extend the period at any time during the probationary period for good cause (CGS § 54-76j).
sSB 454, favorably reported by the Judiciary Committee, requires the court to release someone charged only with misdemeanor drug possession on a written promise to appear either without special conditions or with nonfinancial conditions.
SB 428, File 560, increases certain court filing fees and directs the increased revenue to the organization administering the IOLTA program to fund legal services for the poor. The bill also expands the permissible uses of the Superior Court's Client Security Fund to include grants to the organization administering the IOLTA program for this same purpose.
Joint Favorable Substitute