OLR Bill Analysis

sHB 7198 (as amended by House "A")*

AN ACT CONCERNING COURT OPERATIONS, VICTIM SERVICES AND FRAUDULENT FILINGS.

SUMMARY

This bill makes unrelated changes to various laws, including those about court operations, victim services, fraudulent filings, and transfer of property held in trust.

For court operations, the bill primarily establishes the appropriate venue for certain housing matters.

Among other changes the bill makes to victim services, it:

1. expands the powers and duties of the Office of Victim Services (OVS);

2. creates a new process for victims seeking enforcement of financial restitution orders;

3. makes more victims eligible for victim compensation from OVS by expanding injuries, crimes, and situations under which a victim may qualify for compensation;

4. allows up to an additional $5,000 above the maximum $15,000 personal injury award for certain child-victims; and

5. allows OVS to waive consideration of available health insurance when determining victim compensation and requires health care providers to suspend debt collection from victims in certain circumstances.

The bill (1) makes it a crime, punishable as a class D felony, to file a false record on a municipal land record or under the Uniform Commercial Code and (2) gives victims a cause of action to petition the court to have such a record invalidated.

The bill also makes changes to various unrelated statutes. It (1) expands the availability of civil protection orders to certain stalking victims, (2) expands victims' access to juvenile records, (3) excuses individuals who have served as federal jurors during the last three preceding jury years from serving as state jurors; and (4) establishes the validity of conveyance of interest in real property by, or to, trusts and trustees.

It also makes minor, technical, and conforming changes, including removing certain obsolete or redundant requirements.

*House Amendment “A” (1) makes technical and clarifying changes to the underlying bill's provisions on the appropriate court venue for certain housing matters; (2) specifically allows up to an additional $5,000 in crime victim compensation for certain child-victims; (3) delays, by three months, the effective date of the underlying bill's fraudulent reporting provisions; and (4) adds provisions on the validity of conveyance of interest in real property by, or to, trusts and trustees.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2017, except (1) January 1, 2018 for the fraudulent reporting provisions and (2) upon passage for the provisions on (a) family support magistrates, (b) the Willimantic courthouse, (c) housing matters moving to judicial district courts, and (d) the Reporter of Judicial Decisions publication of sentence review decisions.

1 — CIVIL PROTECTION ORDERS

By law, victims of sexual abuse, sexual assault, or stalking are eligible for civil protection orders if they are not eligible for civil restraining orders (see BACKGROUND).

The bill makes two changes related to civil protection orders. It (1) creates a specific definition of “stalking” for the purpose of civil protection orders that expands their availability to additional stalking victims and (2) allows applicants to request that their location be kept confidential.

Stalking Definition

Under the bill, stalking victims are eligible for civil protection orders if they reasonably fear for their safety because another person who is not a family or household member (1) wilfully harasses, follows, lies in wait for, surveils, monitors, or sends unwanted gifts or messages to such individual directly, indirectly, or through a third person, by any method, device, or other means and (2) does so more than once in a threatening, predatory, or disturbing manner. To be eligible for a civil protection order under current law, a stalking victim must be a victim of 1st, 2nd, or 3rd degree stalking as defined in the penal code (see BACKGROUND).

Confidential Applicant Location Information

By law, a civil protection order applicant must submit an affidavit stating, under oath, the specific facts of the case. The bill allows the applicant to ask the court to keep his or her location information confidential after attesting that its disclosure would jeopardize the health, safety, or liberty of the applicant or his or her children.

The bill requires the chief court administrator to prescribe the form the applicant must use to make such a request.

2 & 3 ─ VICTIM ACCESS TO JUVENILE RECORDS

The bill expands victim access to juvenile records in delinquency matters. It (1) gives victims the right to access specified information without a court order, (2) creates a process by which a party may object to the release of such information, and (3) specifies other information that the court may release and factors it must consider before doing so.

Under the bill, a "victim" is (1) a person who is the victim of a delinquent act; (2) his or her legal representative; (3) a parent or guardian, if the person is a minor; or (4) a victim advocate.

Victim's Right to Access Records

Under current law, a victim of a child's delinquent act may request access to the child's related juvenile records, and such records must be available to the same extent that a criminal defendant's records are available to a crime victim.

Under the bill, whether a matter is judicial or nonjudicial, a victim of a child's delinquent act must have access to the following without the need for a court order:

1. the name and address of the child and the child's parents or guardian;

2. any charges pending against the child at the time that the victim requests information related to the delinquent act;

3. information pertaining to the disposition of the matter that relates to the delinquent act; and

4. any court order pertaining to the victim, including any “no contact” order between the child and the victim.

The bill allows the victim to use this information in a subsequent civil action for damages related to the child's delinquent act. However, as under existing law, the victim must not further disclose this information unless authorized by the court.

Objection to Disclosure without a Court Order

The bill allows a prosecutorial official or an attorney representing the child, including a public defender, to file an objection with the court requesting that the above information not be disclosed. They may do so if the release of information may jeopardize (1) the safety of the child, a witness, or another person or (2) an ongoing criminal investigation.

The bill requires the court to state on the record the specific reason for sustaining any objection to the disclosure.

Records the Court May Disclose and Factors It Must Consider

Records. The bill allows the court, for good cause shown, to give victims access to other juvenile records, such as police reports, arrest warrants, search warrants, and related affidavits associated with the warrants that involve the victim. It prohibits the victim from further disclosing this information without a court order.

Factors. The bill requires the court, in determining whether good cause exists, to consider:

1. the child's age,

2. the degree of victim injury or property damage caused by the child's delinquent act,

3. whether a compelling reason exists for disclosure or nondisclosure of the information in the records, and

4. whether the release of the information would jeopardize an ongoing criminal investigation.

When making a good cause determination, the court may not consider whether the victim has an alternate means of ascertaining the information.

4 & 20 — SCHOOL VIOLENCE PREVENTION PROGRAM

By law, the school violence prevention program is a pretrial diversionary program for students charged with an offense involving the use or threatened use of physical violence in or on school property or at a school-sponsored activity.

Under current law, the program consists of at least eight group counseling sessions in anger management and nonviolent conflict resolution. The bill eliminates the eight-session minimum and makes a conforming change.

5 — FAMILY SUPPORT MAGISTRATES

By law, starting January 1, 2017, the governor nominates and the legislature appoints nine family support magistrates to serve five-year terms. Prior to January 1, 2017, the governor appointed the nine magistrates to serve three-year terms without legislative approval.

The law requires family support magistrates serving on December 31, 2016 to continue to serve until their three-year terms expire unless they are removed from office. They must continue to serve after their terms expire until (1) a successor is appointed or (2) the legislature disapproves their reappointment. (The law allows the governor to nominate family support magistrates for reappointment.)

Under the bill, if a family support magistrate continues to serve after the expiration of the three-year term and is nominated by the Governor for reappointment, the magistrate's five-year term must begin on the date that the legislature approves the nomination for reappointment. Current law does not specify when a subsequent term commences.

COURT OPERATIONS

Venue for Housing Matters ( 6, 11-16 & 51)

The bill makes various changes in housing matter court venue and makes conforming changes in related laws.

Transfer of Housing Cases (6). Under the bill, a judge presiding over a housing case who determines that the case is not a housing matter may transfer the case only to the regular docket in a judicial district court. Under current law, the judge may transfer such a case to either the geographic area court or the judicial district court.

Civil Actions for Windham and Ashford Residents ( 11). The bill allows a plaintiff to file civil actions in either the Windham or Tolland judicial district court if the plaintiff or defendant is from either town. Currently such residents must file their civil actions in the Windham judicial district court.

Housing Matters in Judicial District Courts ( 11). By law, with some exceptions, all civil process must be returned to specific judicial district courts. The bill generally requires civil process for actions involving housing matters, except for those described below, to be returned to the judicial district where the property is located, except it must be returned to:

1. either the judicial district of Hartford or New Britain, at the plaintiff's option, if the premises are located in Avon, Canton, Farmington, Newington, Rocky Hill, Simsbury, or Wethersfield;

2. the judicial district of Ansonia-Milford, if the premises are located in Ansonia, Beacon Falls, Derby, Oxford, Seymour, or Shelton (after filing the action, the plaintiff or defendant may request a change in venue to the New Haven or Waterbury judicial districts); and

3. the judicial district of New Haven, if the premises are located in Milford, Orange, or West Haven.

Housing Matters in Geographic Area Courts ( 15 & 51). Under the bill, in any judicial district in which housing matters are heard on a separate docket (as described below) the venue generally must be in the housing session for the judicial district for an action pertaining to one or more violations of (1) any state or municipal health, housing, building, electrical, plumbing, fire or sanitation code, including in commercial properties, or (2) any other statute, ordinance or regulation regarding the health, safety, or welfare of any occupant of any housing. However, the New Haven judicial district court is the venue for any such action for premises located in Milford, Orange, or West Haven.

In all other judicial districts, venue for such actions, if placed on the criminal docket, must be the geographic area where the premises are located.

The bill also repeals a law that establishes the geographic area courts where actions pertaining to landlord-tenant, summary process, and local health and building code violations are returnable.

Housing Matters on a Separate Docket in Judicial District Courts ( 16). Under existing law, unchanged by the bill, housing matters must be heard on a separate docket in the Hartford, New Britain, New Haven, Fairfield, Waterbury, and Stamford-Norwalk judicial districts. The judge assigned to hear housing matters in:

1. Hartford judicial district must hear such matters in New Britain,

2. New Haven judicial district must hear such matters in Waterbury, and

3. Fairfield judicial district must hear such matters in Stamford-Norwalk.

By law, the records, files, and other documents pertaining to housing matters must be maintained separately from other court records. Housing matters do not have to be heard in the court house to which the process is returned and where the pleadings are filed.

The Willimantic Courthouse ( 7 & 12-14)

The bill removes statutory references to the Willimantic courthouse, which closed on October 31, 2016.

Jury Duty ( 10)

The bill expands the reasons for which a Connecticut resident may be excused from jury duty by disqualifying, for the jury year starting September 1, 2017, and each jury year after that, someone who has served in federal court in Connecticut during the last three preceding jury years as a (1) federal juror on a matter that has been tried to a jury or (2) federal grand juror.

Anyone claiming this disqualification must provide proof of federal jury service to the jury administrator.

Alternative Program for Certain Motor Vehicle Offenders ( 39)

By law, the court may, at its discretion, refer offenders charged with certain motor vehicle violations or certain alcohol-related offenses to an alternative to incarceration program that provides defendants with a forum to hear from victims of underage drinking, drunk driving, distracted driving, or other motor vehicle violations.

Under existing law, the court may do so on the motion of the defendant, state's attorney, or prosecuting attorney, if the defendant is under age 21 and has not used the program before. The bill specifies that to be eligible for the program, the defendant must have been under age 21 at the time the offense was committed.

By law, this program is not available to defendants charged with (1) driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (2) a motor vehicle violation that caused serious injury or death, or (3) unless good cause is shown, a motor vehicle violation classified as a felony.

Obsolete Language, Functions, and Reports ( 8-9 & 50)

The bill eliminates various obsolete or redundant requirements, replacing them in some cases with modernized or electronic alternatives.

Sentence Review Decisions. The bill no longer requires the Reporter of Judicial Decisions to select sentence review decisions for publication in the Connecticut Law Journal or Connecticut Supplement. In practice, these sentence review decisions are available to the public as Superior Court decisions are.

Supreme Court Records and Briefs. The bill no longer requires the Reporter of Judicial Decisions to get a sufficient number of Supreme Court records and briefs, bind them, and send a copy to the State Library and each law library. The bill instead requires the chief clerk of the Supreme Court to electronically provide the State Library publicly available briefs of all Supreme and Appellate Court cases, in a format and on a schedule mutually agreed to by the chief clerk of the Supreme Court and the state librarian.

Serious Juvenile Offender Report. The bill eliminates the requirement that the judicial branch report quarterly to the legislature on serious juvenile offenders. The Juvenile Justice Policy Oversight Committee now collects this data.

Volunteer Lawyer Program. The bill eliminates this program, which was established to protect persons injured by a civil wrong. The Office of Victim Services now serves in this role.

Tort Victims Prior to July 1, 1993. The bill eliminates language specifying that such victims are not precluded from seeking victim compensation.

17-19 — VICTIM FINANCIAL RESTITUTION

The law allows a court, when imposing a sentence of probation or conditional release, to order an offender to make financial restitution to a victim. The bill creates a process for victims to seek enforcement of such an order that is similar to the process for seeking enforcement of a judgment in a civil action.

The bill's process requires the party seeking enforcement to file a copy of the order and an affidavit, on a form prescribed by the chief court administrator, with the Superior Court. It also lays out other filing, service of process, and disbursement requirements.

The bill also allows the Judicial Branch's Court Support Services Division (CSSD), if authorized by a judge, to set the restitution amount and specify the manner of payment and notify the victim that the restitution order may be enforced in the same manner as a judgment in a civil action.

Statute of Limitations. Under current law, a person may enforce a financial obligation order within 10 years after the (1) offender's release from confinement or (2) entry of the order and sentence, whichever is longer. Under the bill, the enforcement period is within 10 years after the (1) offender's release from confinement or termination of probation or (2) entry of the order and sentence, whichever is longer.

Filing of Order and Affidavit. The bill requires the party seeking enforcement of the financial obligation order to file a copy of the order of restitution and an affidavit with the Superior Court.

The agency or entity monitoring payment of the obligations must prepare the affidavit on a form prescribed by the chief court administrator that: (1) attests to the terms of restitution and manner of performance fixed by the court or the Judicial Branch's Court Support Services Division and (2) identifies the amount of the obligation that has been paid and the amount that is owed.

Notice. Within 30 days after filing the judgment and the affidavit with the court, the bill requires the party seeking enforcement of the order to notify the offender at his or her last known address by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested.

Proceeds Distribution. The bill prohibits the court from distributing the proceeds of an execution earlier than 30 days after proof of service has been filed. Under the bill, the court may not collect a fee for the filing of an execution, and a marshal's fees for service of an execution must be the same as those in other civil actions.

21-38 & 40 — OVS COMPENSATION

Compensation Time Frames ( 28)

The bill increases, from 72 hours to 120 hours, the time within which a sexual assault victim who fails to report the alleged crime must go to a health care facility to be examined and to have evidence of the sexual assault collected, for the victim to be eligible for compensation.

Under existing law, a victim must report the crime to the police within five days of the incident or within five days of when a report could reasonably be made. But if the person is a sexual assault victim, he or she may still report the crime outside of that time frame if he or she (1) told a medical or mental health provider or an advocate about the sexual assault or (2) went to a health care facility to have a sexual assault forensic exam done. Under the bill, a victim of sexual assault, prostitution, or trafficking may also be eligible for compensation if he or she fails to report the crime but disclosed the injury to one of the professionals specified in existing law and the bill, such as a doctor, nurse, or domestic violence or sexual assault counselor.

By law, a victim generally must apply to OVS for compensation within two years of the date of the incident.

Qualifying Injuries, Crime Locations, and Situations ( 21 & 25-28)

The bill expands the types of injuries, crimes, and situations that make a victim eligible for victim compensation from OVS.

Injuries. By law, a victim who suffers personal injury or death by homicide is generally eligible for compensation.

Under current law, “personal injury” includes (1) actual bodily harm and mental anguish that is a direct result of bodily injury or (2) injury to a disabled person's service animal.

The bill broadens the compensation eligibility criteria by expanding the definition of personal injury and including as eligible victims those who:

1. suffered actual bodily harm;

2. experienced mental or emotional impairment that requires treatment through services and is directly attributable to a threat of physical injury or the direct victim's death (i.e., “emotional harm”); or

3. have a disability and whose service animal was injured or died.

By law, a deceased victim's dependents are considered “victims” for the purpose of the claim. The bill further expands the group of individuals who are eligible for victim compensation by classifying aunts, uncles, nieces, and nephews as relatives who may be considered the deceased victim's dependents. Under existing law, “relatives” includes spouses, parents, grandparents, stepparents, and children. To be considered a “dependent,” the relative must have been at least partially dependent on the person's income.

Compensation Limits. Current law generally limits crime victim compensation to a maximum of $15,000 for personal injury and $25,000 for death. The bill allows victims who sustain only emotional harm a maximum of $5,000 in compensation for medical and mental health care.

This bill allows OVS or a victim compensation commissioner, under certain circumstances, to award up to an additional $5,000 above the $15,000 maximum award allowed under current law for victims who sustain personal injury. Under the bill, the additional amount is allowed if, at the time the application for compensation or financial restitution is filed, the victim is a minor who has additional medical or mental health counselling needs (see BACKGROUND).

Under existing law, unchanged by the bill, OVS or a victim compensation commissioner may award amounts above the statutory maximum for good cause shown and upon a finding of compelling equitable circumstances.

Circumstances and Location of Crime. By law, a victim may be eligible for crime victim compensation if he or she sustained personal injury or died as a result of (1) a crime as defined under Connecticut law or (2) a crime involving international terrorism as defined by federal law.

The bill expands this to include any crime that occurred outside the territorial boundaries of the United States, if it would be considered a crime in Connecticut and the victim is a Connecticut resident.

Other Permissible Compensation Situations. The bill allows OVS or, on review, a victim compensation commissioner, to order compensation:

1. for a personal injury or death that resulted from a water vessel, snow mobile, or all-terrain vehicle operated by someone under the influence of alcohol or drugs (instead of just a motor vehicle as under current law);

2. when a victim discloses a personal injury from alleged violations of prostitution or trafficking in persons laws to a doctor; nurse; psychologist; police officer; mental health professional; emergency medical service provider; marriage or family therapist; domestic violence, sexual assault, alcohol and drugs, or professional counselor; clinical social worker; DCF employee; or school principal, teacher, or guidance counselor;

3. when a victim discloses a personal injury from alleged violations of sexual assault crimes to a school principal, teacher, or guidance counselor;

4. for a personal injury suffered by a domestic violence, sexual abuse, sexual assault, or stalking victim (a) as reported in the application for a restraining order or civil protection order granted after a hearing, the supporting affidavit, or in the court record or (b) as disclosed to a domestic violence or sexual assault counselor;

5. for pecuniary loss due to attending criminal court proceedings to an injured victim or relatives or dependents of an injured victim, not only those of a deceased victim as under current law;

6. for pecuniary loss due to a crime scene cleanup; and

7. for loss of wages by a deceased victim's parent or guardian, up to one week's wages.

Insurance as a Collateral Source ( 25)

Under current law, OVS, in determining victim compensation, must consider the amount a victim receives from other sources, including health insurance. The bill expands this by allowing OVS to consider all types of insurance.

And it simultaneously allows OVS to waive the consideration of health insurance as a collateral source in a domestic violence, sexual assault, or child abuse case in which the victim or the claimant believes that the dissemination of treatment information associated with a health insurance claim would cause undue harm. But existing law, unchanged by the bill, prohibits OVS from considering life insurance benefits.

Collection of Health Care Provider's Debt ( 38)

Debt Collection Suspension. The bill requires a health care provider; its attorney, employees, or agent; and any collection agency acting on the provider's behalf to promptly stop efforts to collect any debt that resulted from treatment of injuries associated with a pending victim compensation claim. They must do so as soon as they become aware and receive notice from OVS that a debtor from whom payment is sought has a pending claim.

Health Care Provider. Under the bill, a "health care provider" is any person or organization licensed or certified to provide health care services, including (1) institutions such as hospitals, hospice facilities, residential care homes, nursing homes, home health care agencies, and assisted living agencies and (2) state-run health care institutions or facilities.

Length of Collection Suspension. The collection efforts must be discontinued until (1) a compensation award is made, (2) the claim is approved without payment, or (3) the claim is determined to be noncompensable.

Statute of Limitations. Under the bill, any applicable statute of limitations for the collection of the debt must be tolled during the collection suspension period.

Attorneys' and Other Providers' Compensation ( 24)

By law, OVS or, on review, a victim compensation commissioner, may determine and allow reasonable attorney's fees not to exceed 15% of the compensation award.

The bill requires the victim's attorney to (1) pay providers as documented by OVS, (2) communicate with them regarding outstanding balances after attorney's fees are deducted, and (3) ensure payment to such providers. (Presumably, payment is from the award balance.)

Office of Victim Services ( 22, 29, 34, 36 & 37)

Powers and Duties. The bill makes the following changes to OVS's powers and duties:

1. authorizes OVS to direct each university or college health services center and each community health center to prominently display posters in a conspicuous location giving notice of the availability of victim compensation and assistance;

2. requires OVS to develop a request form to obtain the data existing law requires the office to obtain from the state's attorney and police to review a compensation application;

3. eliminates the requirement that OVS directs medical examination of victims;

4. removes the requirement that OVS consult with the Criminal Justice Division in assigning victim advocates;

5. requires OVS to (a) inform victims of their rights and available services and (b) maintain a victim notification system and a toll-free number for victims to access the information, replacing current law's requirement that OVS provide victims with a notification clearinghouse;

6. allows OVS to email its decision to the applicant and deems the delivery complete upon sending the email, unless OVS or a compensation commissioner learns that the email was not delivered;

7. reduces, from six to four, the number of times per year that the state advisory council must meet to recommend legislation to improve OVS's program;

8. requires OVS to (a) maintain, within available appropriations, the existing sexual assault forensic examiners program to train examiners of sexual assault victims who are patients at participating health care facilities, rather than at acute care facilities as under current law or (b) establish, within available appropriations, a training program for health care professionals in nonparticipating health care facilities on the care and collection of evidence from adolescent and adult sexual assault victims;

9. eliminates the requirement that OVS and the Department of Correction's Victim Services Unit use certified mail rather than regular mail to notify people who asked to be notified when an inmate applies for release or sentence reduction or review; and

10. allows OVS to expedite the processing of a claim if it determines that the claimant would otherwise experience undue hardship, replacing current law's “emergency award” process.

Victim Impact Statements and Advocates ( 35 & 40)

The bill no longer requires that a victim impact statement prepared with a victim advocate's assistance be placed in the court file.

Under the bill, a victim advocate must receive, upon request, a copy of any police report that the Office of the Chief State's Attorney, DESPP, municipal police departments, or any other law enforcement agency has that the victim advocate needs to perform his or her responsibilities and duties.

Prosecuting Authority ( 22 & 25)

Victim Statement. By law, a victim has the right to submit to the prosecutor a statement about the victim's injuries, financial losses, and loss of earnings directly resulting from the crime. The bill requires the prosecutor to file the statement with the sentencing court, and such statement must be made a part of the record the court considers at sentencing.

Request to Suspend Claim Determination. The bill eliminates a provision under current law that allows a prosecutor to ask OVS to suspend acting on a claim on the grounds that a prosecution for an offense arising out of the claim has started or is imminent.

46-49 — FRAUDULENT FILING

Filing a False Record ( 46)

The bill creates a new class D felony, filing a false record. A person commits the crime by filing a false record against real or personal property. Specifically, to be guilty, a person must, with intent to defraud, deceive, injure, or harass another person, file, or cause to be filed with a municipality, a record he or she knows, or reasonably should know, is false.

Under the bill, a person is guilty of filing a false record under the Uniform Commercial Code when, with intent to defraud, deceive, injure, or harass another, he or she files, or causes to be filed with the Secretary of the State or a municipality, a record he or she knows, or reasonably should know, is false.

Record Defined. Under the bill, a "record" is information that is inscribed on a tangible medium or is stored in an electronic or other medium and is retrievable in perceivable form, including any record that is recorded in a town clerk's office.

Penalty. Filing of a false record is a class D felony, punishable by up to five years in prison, a fine of up to $5,000, or both.

Court Process for Victim of a Fraudulent Filing ( 47 - 49)

The bill establishes identical procedures for victims of a fraudulent Uniform Commercial Code or municipal land record filing.

Petition. A victim of fraudulent filing may petition the Tax and Administrative Appeals Session of the Superior Court to invalidate a false filing or related amendment. Petitioners must (1) include as part of the petition a certified copy of the filing and any amendment that they seek to invalidate and (2) send a copy of such petition to all parties named in such filing. There are no court fees to petition for a hearing.

Court Review and Hearing. The court must review the petition and determine whether cause exists to doubt the validity of the filing or amendment. Upon a determination that such cause exists, the court must, within 60 days after the date of such determination, hold a hearing to determine whether to invalidate the filing or amendment or grant other appropriate relief.

Good Cause Factors. In determining whether cause exists to doubt the validity of a filing or amendment, the court may consider factors that include whether:

1. the filing or amendment is related to either a valid existing or potential commercial, financial, or real estate transaction or judgment of a court of competent jurisdiction;

2. the same individual is named as both debtor and creditor;

3. an individual is named as a transmitting utility (i.e., services); and

4. the filing or amendment has been filed with the intent to defraud, deceive, injure, or harass a person, business, or government entity.

Judgment. If the court determines after a hearing that the filing identified in the petition is not valid, it must (1) render a judgment that the filing is void in its entirety and (2) direct the custodian of the filing, when feasible, to note that such filing is not valid. The court may grant any other relief it deems appropriate. The petitioner must provide a copy of the petition and the judgment to the custodian of the filing adjudged invalid by the court.

52 — TRUST PROPERTY

Conveyance By a Trust or Trustee

By law, when executed by a duly authorized trustee, any conveyance of real property made by a trust must be treated as if it were made by the trustee. The bill specifies that the reverse is also true (i.e., any conveyance made and executed by a properly authorized trustee must be treated as if the transfer was made by the trust).

Recording of Trust Instruments

Indexing. The bill requires the town clerk to index an instrument by the name of the trust and trustee identified in the instrument if the grantor, grantee, releasor, releasee, assignor, assignee, transferor, or transferee is a trust.

Presumption of Valid Execution. Under the bill, in the absence of evidence in the land records indicating otherwise, it must be presumed that the:

1. person who executed the instrument on the trust's behalf was properly authorized to do so and

2. trust on whose behalf the person acted contained a provision giving the trustee or trustees the power to convey an interest in real property.

BACKGROUND

Civil Restraining Order

An individual may apply for a civil restraining order for relief from a family or household member's physical abuse, stalking, or pattern of threatening (CGS 46b-15).

Civil Protection Order

A victim of sexual abuse, sexual assault, or stalking may apply for a civil protection order if he or she is ineligible for the restraining order described above (CGS 46b-16a).

Stalking Crimes

By law, a person commits:

1. 3rd degree stalking, a class B misdemeanor, when he or she recklessly causes another person to reasonably fear for his or her physical safety by wilfully and repeatedly following or lying in wait for the other person;

2. 2nd degree stalking, a class A misdemeanor, by (a) knowingly engaging in certain conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for his, her, or a third person's physical safety or (b) intentionally, and for no legitimate purpose, engaging in certain conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear that his or her employment, business, or career is threatened; and

3. 1st degree stalking, a class D felony, when he or she commits 2nd degree stalking after and (a) was previously convicted of 2nd degree stalking, (b) violates a court order in effect at the time of the offense, or (c) the victim is under age 16.

Crime Victim Compensation

By law, a victim may be eligible for crime victim compensation if he or she sustained personal injury or died as a result of (1) a crime as defined under Connecticut law or (2) a crime involving international terrorism as defined by federal law.

Generally, the victim must (1) report the crime to the police within five days of the incident or when a report could reasonably have been made and (2) apply to OVS for compensation within two years of the date of the incident (CGS 54-201, et seq.).

Financial Restitution

The law allows a court, when imposing a sentence of incarceration, probation, or conditional release, to order an offender to make financial restitution to a victim.

Related Bills

sHB 7299, as amended by House “A,” (1) expands the conduct that constitutes 1st, 2nd, and 3rd degree stalking by including conduct that causes “emotional distress” and (2) specifies that electronic or social media are among the methods, devices, or means by which conduct that constitutes stalking may occur.

sSB 726 (File 670) as amended by Senate “A,” has a similar provision that allows OVS to award up to an additional $5,000 above the maximum $15,000 personal injury award for certain child-victims.

sSB 993, reported favorably by the Judiciary Committee, has similar provisions that modify the laws regarding the validity of conveyance of interest in real property by, or to, trusts and trustees.

sSB 1003, reported favorably by the Judiciary Committee, extends by 10 years the period in which a victim can enforce and collect financial restitution.

COMMITTEE ACTION

Judiciary Committee

Joint Favorable Substitute

Yea

36

Nay

4

(04/03/2017)