Connecticut Seal

General Assembly

 

Raised Bill No. 444

February Session, 2016

 

LCO No. 2886

 

*02886_______JUD*

Referred to Committee on JUDICIARY

 

Introduced by:

 

(JUD)

 

AN ACT CONCERNING PENALTIES FOR FAMILY VIOLENCE CRIMES THAT A CHILD WITNESSES AND ESTABLISHING A WORKING GROUP CONCERNING INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATIONS RELATED TO VICTIMS OF FAMILY VIOLENCE.

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

Section 1. (NEW) (Effective October 1, 2016) (a) For the purposes of this section, "family violence crime" and "family or household member" have the same meanings as provided in section 46b-38a of the general statutes.

(b) Whenever any person is convicted of a family violence crime that was committed within the vision or hearing of a minor child who, at the time of the offense, was a family or household member of such person or of the victim of the crime, the court, in lieu of imposing the sentence of imprisonment authorized by the general statutes for the crime of which such person stands convicted, shall sentence such person to a term of imprisonment that is not less than twenty-five per cent greater than the minimum term of imprisonment authorized for such crime or more than twenty-five per cent greater than the maximum term of imprisonment authorized for such crime.

Sec. 2. (Effective from passage) (a) There is established a working group for the purposes of (1) determining what information, if any, not otherwise available to the public, should be made available to a judge of the Superior Court when making determinations related to applications for relief from abuse pursuant to section 46b-15 of the general statutes, (2) evaluating existing methods allowed by law or policy for sharing information across executive agencies, the Judicial Department, municipalities and community-based organizations that have a contractual relationship with any such agency, department or municipality to provide services to parties involved in cases of family violence, and (3) making recommendations for improved methods of communication across such agencies, department, municipalities and organizations that outline the legal ramifications of such methods as they relate to confidentiality.

(b) The working group shall consist of the following members:

(1) The Commissioner of Children and Families, or the commissioner's designee;

(2) The Commissioner of Emergency Services and Public Protection, or the commissioner's designee;

(3) The Commissioner of Education, or the commissioner's designee;

(4) The Child Advocate, or the Child Advocate's designee;

(5) The Chief Public Defender, or the Chief Public Defender's designee;

(6) The Chief State's Attorney, or the Chief State's Attorney's designee;

(7) One member appointed by the president pro tempore of the Senate who shall represent the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Inc.;

(8) One appointed by the speaker of the House of Representatives who shall be a family violence victim advocate, as defined in section 51-27i of the general statutes;

(9) One appointed by the majority leader of the Senate who shall represent the Connecticut Police Chiefs Association;

(10) One appointed by the majority leader of the House of Representatives who shall be an individual serving as a guardian ad litem or as an attorney for a minor child at the time of appointment to the working group;

(11) One appointed by the minority leader of the Senate who shall be an attorney admitted to practice law in this state;

(12) One appointed by the minority leader of the House of Representatives who shall be a representative of a legal aid assistance program in this state;

(13) Five appointed by the Chief Court Administrator, one of whom shall be a judge of the Superior Court assigned to hear civil matters, one of whom shall be a judge of the Superior Court assigned to hear criminal matters, one of whom shall be a judge of the Superior Court assigned to hear juvenile matters, one of whom shall be an employee of the Judicial Branch whose duties concern the operations of the Superior Court, and one of whom shall be an employee of the Judicial Branch Court Support Services Division; and

(14) One member appointed by the Probate Court Administrator who shall be a judge of the Probate Court.

(c) All appointments to the working group shall be made not later than thirty days after the effective date of this section. Any vacancy shall be filled by the appointing authority.

(d) The speaker of the House of Representatives and the president pro tempore of the Senate shall select two chairpersons of the working group from among the members of such group. Such chairpersons shall schedule the first meeting of the working group, which shall be held not later than sixty days after the effective date of this section.

(e) Not later than January 15, 2017, the working group shall submit a report on its finding and recommendations to the Criminal Justice Policy Advisory Commission. The working group shall terminate on the date that it submits such report or January 15, 2017, whichever is later.

This act shall take effect as follows and shall amend the following sections:

Section 1

October 1, 2016

New section

Sec. 2

from passage

New section

Statement of Purpose:

To increase penalties for individuals who commit acts of family violence in the presence of a minor child and to establish a working group to evaluate and make recommendations for improved methods for sharing information while maintaining appropriate victim confidentiality.

[Proposed deletions are enclosed in brackets. Proposed additions are indicated by underline, except that when the entire text of a bill or resolution or a section of a bill or resolution is new, it is not underlined.]