Connecticut Seal

General Assembly

File No. 549

    February Session, 2018

Substitute Senate Bill No. 466

Senate, April 17, 2018

The Committee on Judiciary reported through SEN. DOYLE of the 9th Dist. and SEN. KISSEL of the 7th Dist., Chairpersons of the Committee on the part of the Senate, that the substitute bill ought to pass.

AN ACT CONCERNING DUAL ARRESTS AND THE TRAINING REQUIRED OF LAW ENFORCEMENT PERSONNEL WITH RESPECT TO DOMESTIC VIOLENCE.

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

Section 1. Section 46b-38a of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective January 1, 2019):

For the purposes of sections 46b-38a to 46b-38f, inclusive:

(1) "Family violence" means an incident resulting in physical harm, bodily injury or assault, or an act of threatened violence that constitutes fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury or assault, including, but not limited to, stalking or a pattern of threatening, between family or household members. Verbal abuse or argument [shall] does not constitute family violence unless there is present danger and the likelihood that physical violence will occur.

(2) "Family or household member" means any of the following persons, regardless of the age of such person: (A) Spouses or former spouses; (B) parents or their children; (C) persons related by blood or marriage; (D) persons other than those persons described in subparagraph (C) of this subdivision presently residing together or who have resided together; (E) persons who have a child in common regardless of whether they are or have been married or have lived together at any time; and (F) persons in, or who have recently been in, a dating relationship.

(3) "Family violence crime" means a crime as defined in section 53a-24, other than a delinquent act, as defined in section 46b-120, which, in addition to its other elements, contains as an element thereof an act of family violence to a family or household member. "Family violence crime" does not include acts by parents or guardians disciplining minor children unless such acts constitute abuse.

(4) "Institutions and services" means peace officers, service providers, mandated reporters of abuse, agencies and departments that provide services to victims and families and services designed to assist victims and families.

(5) "Dominant aggressor" means the person who poses the most serious ongoing threat in a situation involving the suspected commission of a family violence crime.

Sec. 2. Section 46b-38b of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective January 1, 2019):

(a) [Whenever] Except as provided in subsections (b) and (c) of this section, whenever a peace officer determines upon speedy information that a family violence crime has been committed within such officer's jurisdiction, such officer shall arrest the person [or persons] suspected of its commission and charge such person [or persons] with the appropriate crime. The decision to arrest and charge shall not (1) be dependent on the specific consent of the victim, (2) consider the relationship [of the parties] between persons suspected of committing a family violence crime, or (3) be based solely on a request by the victim. Whenever a peace officer determines that a family violence crime has been committed, such officer may seize any firearm or electronic defense weapon, as defined in section 53a-3, or ammunition at the location where the crime is alleged to have been committed that is in the possession of any person arrested for the commission of such crime or suspected of its commission or that is in plain view. Not later than seven days after any such seizure, the law enforcement agency shall return such firearm, electronic defense weapon or ammunition in its original condition to the rightful owner thereof unless such person is ineligible to possess such firearm, electronic defense weapon or ammunition or unless otherwise ordered by the court.

(b) [No peace officer investigating an incident of family violence shall threaten, suggest or otherwise indicate the arrest of all parties for the purpose of discouraging requests for law enforcement intervention by any party. Where complaints are made by two or more opposing parties, the officer shall evaluate each complaint separately to determine whether such officer should make an arrest or seek a warrant for an arrest. Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a) of this section, when a peace officer reasonably believes that a party in an incident of family violence has used force as a means of self defense, such officer is not required to arrest such party under this section.] When complaints of family violence are made by two or more opposing persons, a peace officer is not required to arrest both persons. The peace officer shall evaluate each complaint separately to determine which person is the dominant aggressor. In determining which person is the dominant aggressor, the peace officer shall consider the need to protect victims of domestic violence, whether one person acted in defense of self or a third person, the relative degree of any injury, any threats creating fear of physical injury, and any history of family violence between such persons, if such history can reasonably be obtained by the peace officer. The peace officer shall arrest the person whom the officer believes to be the dominant aggressor.

(c) If a peace officer believes probable cause exists for the arrest of two or more persons, in lieu of arresting or seeking a warrant for the arrest of any person determined not to be the dominant aggressor, such peace officer may submit a report detailing the conduct of such person during the incident to the state's attorney for the judicial district in which the incident took place for further review and advice. The provisions of this section shall be construed to discourage, when appropriate, but not prohibit, dual arrests.

(d) No peace officer investigating an incident of family violence shall threaten, suggest or otherwise indicate, the arrest of all persons involved in such incident for the purpose of discouraging any request from a person for law enforcement intervention.

[(c)] (e) No peace officer shall be held liable in any civil action regarding personal injury or injury to property brought by any party to a family violence incident for (1) an arrest based on probable cause; [or for] (2) any conditions of release imposed pursuant to subsection (b) of section 54-63c; or (3) determinations made pursuant to subsection (b) or (c) of this section.

[(d)] (f) It shall be the responsibility of the peace officer at the scene of a family violence incident to provide immediate assistance to the victim. Such assistance shall include, but need not be limited to: (1) Assisting the victim to obtain medical treatment if such treatment is required; (2) notifying the victim of the right to file an affidavit for a warrant for arrest; (3) informing the victim of services available, including providing the victim with contact information for a regional family violence organization that employs, or provides referrals to, counselors who are trained in providing trauma-informed care; (4) referring the victim to the Office of Victim Services; and (5) providing assistance in accordance with the uniform protocols for treating victims of family violence whose immigration status is questionable, established pursuant to subsection [(g)] (i) of this section. In cases where the officer has determined that no cause exists for an arrest, assistance shall include: (A) Assistance as provided in subdivisions (1) to (5), inclusive, of this subsection; and (B) remaining at the scene for a reasonable time until, in the reasonable judgment of the officer, the likelihood of further imminent violence has been eliminated. For the purposes of this subsection, "trauma-informed care" means services (i) directed by a thorough understanding of the neurological, biological, psychological and social effects of trauma and violence on a person; and (ii) delivered by a regional family violence organization that employs, or provides referrals to, counselors who: (I) Make available to the victim of family violence resources on trauma exposure, its impact and treatment; (II) engage in efforts to strengthen the resilience and protective factors of victims of family violence who are impacted by and vulnerable to trauma; (III) emphasize continuity of care and collaboration among organizations that provide services to children; and (IV) maintain professional relationships for referral and consultation purposes with programs and persons with expertise in trauma-informed care.

[(e)] (g) (1) Each law enforcement agency shall develop, in conjunction with the Division of Criminal Justice, and implement specific operational guidelines for arrest policies in family violence incidents. Such guidelines shall include, but need not be limited to: (A) Procedures for the conduct of a criminal investigation; (B) procedures for arrest and for victim assistance by peace officers; (C) education as to what constitutes speedy information in a family violence incident; (D) procedures with respect to the provision of services to victims; and (E) such other criteria or guidelines as may be applicable to carry out the purposes of sections 46b-1, 46b-15, 46b-38a to 46b-38f, inclusive, and 54-1g. Such procedures shall be duly promulgated by such law enforcement agency. On and after October 1, 2012, each law enforcement agency shall develop and implement specific operational guidelines for arrest policies in family violence incidents which, at a minimum, meet the standards set forth in the model law enforcement policy on family violence established in subdivision (2) of this subsection.

(2) There is established a model law enforcement policy on family violence for the state. Such policy shall consist of the model policy submitted by the task force established in section 19 of public act 11-152 on January 31, 2012, to the joint standing committee of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to the judiciary, as amended from time to time by the Family Violence Model Policy Governing Council established pursuant to section 46b-38j.

(3) Not later than January 15, 2013, and annually thereafter, the chairperson of the Police Officer Standards and Training Council shall provide notice of updates to the model policy, if any, adopted by the council during the prior calendar year, to the chief law enforcement officer of each municipality having a police department, the law enforcement instructor of each such police department, and the Commissioner of Emergency Services and Public Protection.

(4) Not later than July 1, 2013, and annually thereafter, each law enforcement agency shall submit a report to the Commissioner of Emergency Services and Public Protection, in such form as the commissioner prescribes, regarding the law enforcement agency's compliance with the model law enforcement policy on family violence for the state.

(5) On and after July 1, 2010, each law enforcement agency shall designate at least one officer with supervisory duties to expeditiously process, upon request of a victim of family violence or other crime who is applying for U Nonimmigrant Status (A) a certification of helpfulness on Form I-918, Supplement B, or any subsequent corresponding form designated by the United States Department of Homeland Security, confirming that the victim of family violence or other crime has been helpful, is being helpful, or is likely to be helpful in the investigation or prosecution of the criminal activity, and (B) any subsequent certification required by the victim.

[(f)] (h) The Police Officer Standards and Training Council, in conjunction with the Division of Criminal Justice, shall establish an education and training program for law enforcement officers, supervisors and state's attorneys on the handling of family violence incidents. Training under such program shall: (1) Stress the enforcement of criminal law in family violence cases and the use of community resources, and include training for peace officers at both recruit and in-service levels; and (2) include, but not be limited to: (A) The nature, extent and causes of family violence; (B) factors for determining a dominant aggressor in a family violence case; (C) legal rights of and remedies available to victims of family violence and persons accused of family violence; [(C)] (D) services and facilities available to victims and persons who commit acts of family violence; [(D)] (E) legal duties imposed on police officers to make arrests and to offer protection and assistance, including applicable probable cause standards; and [(E)] (F) techniques for handling incidents of family violence that minimize the likelihood of injury to the officer and promote the safety of the victim. [On and after July 1, 2010, training] Training under such program shall also include, within available appropriations, information on (i) the impact of arrests of multiple parties in a family violence case on the immigration status of the parties; (ii) crime scene investigation and evaluation practices in family violence cases designed by the council to reduce the number of multiple arrests in family violence cases; and (iii) practical considerations in the application of the general statutes related to family violence. [On and after July 1, 2010, such] Such training shall also address, within available appropriations, eligibility for federal T Visas for victims of human trafficking and federal U Visas for unauthorized immigrants who are victims of family violence and other crimes.

[(g) Not later than July 1, 2010, the] (i) The Police Officer Standards and Training Council shall establish uniform protocols for treating victims of family violence whose immigration status is questionable, and shall make such protocols available to law enforcement agencies. Each law enforcement agency shall adopt and use such protocols on and after the date they are established by the council.

Sec. 3. Section 7-294g of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective January 1, 2019):

(a) Each police basic or review training program conducted or administered by the Division of State Police within the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, by the Police Officer Standards and Training Council established under section 7-294b or by a municipal police department in the state shall provide a minimum of two hours of training on the subject of domestic violence that includes, but is not limited to, the following: (1) Enforcement of criminal laws applicable in cases involving domestic violence; (2) factors for determining a dominant aggressor in a family violence case; (3) techniques for handling incidents of domestic violence which promote the safety of the victim and the officer and which reduce the likelihood of recurrence; [(3)] (4) organizations in the state that offer aid or shelter to victims of domestic violence; [(4)] (5) applicable procedures in the prosecution of cases involving domestic violence; [(5)] (6) orders issued by a court pursuant to chapter 815a. The Division of State Police, the Police Officer Standards and Training Council or municipal police departments, in consultation with the [Connecticut Task Force on Abused Women] Division of Criminal Justice and an entity representing the state-wide domestic violence coalition, shall develop a program curriculum. [and shall submit such curriculum to the task force for approval. Individual shelter programs in the task force] A domestic violence agency, as defined in section 52-146k, may also conduct domestic violence training in conjunction with any police training program, pursuant to the guidelines and certification requirements established by the Police Officer Standards and Training Council under section 7-294d.

(b) Each police basic training program conducted or administered by the Division of State Police within the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, by the Police Officer Standards and Training Council established under section 7-294b or by a municipal police department in the state shall include a course on the recognition and management of child abuse and suicide intervention procedures.

Sec. 4. Subdivision (2) of subsection (g) of section 46b-38c of the 2018 supplement to the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective January 1, 2019):

(2) The Judicial Department may contract with victim service providers to make available, either directly or through referral, appropriate services that include, but are not limited to, the provision of trauma-informed care, as defined in subsection [(d)] (f) of section 46b-38b, as amended by this act.

Sec. 5. Section 54-224 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective January 1, 2019):

Except as provided in subsection [(d)] (f) of section 46b-38b, as amended by this act, the state or any agent, employee or officer thereof shall not be liable for (1) the failure to afford the victim of a crime any of the rights provided pursuant to any provision of the general statutes, or (2) the failure to provide the victim of a crime with any notice pursuant to any provision of the general statutes.

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

Section 1

January 1, 2019

46b-38a

Sec. 2

January 1, 2019

46b-38b

Sec. 3

January 1, 2019

7-294g

Sec. 4

January 1, 2019

46b-38c(g)(2)

Sec. 5

January 1, 2019

54-224

JUD

Joint Favorable Subst.

 

The following Fiscal Impact Statement and Bill Analysis are prepared for the benefit of the members of the General Assembly, solely for purposes of information, summarization and explanation and do not represent the intent of the General Assembly or either chamber thereof for any purpose. In general, fiscal impacts are based upon a variety of informational sources, including the analyst's professional knowledge. Whenever applicable, agency data is consulted as part of the analysis, however final products do not necessarily reflect an assessment from any specific department.


OFA Fiscal Note

State Impact: None

Municipal Impact: None

Explanation

There is no fiscal impact resulting from the bill, which requires police officers arrest the dominant aggressor in instances of domestic violence and expands existing training exercises. To the extent this training can be conducted within existing time constraints, there is no fiscal impact.

The bill provides officers immunity from civil liability as a result of such arrests. To the extent the changes to arrest procedures in the bill would have increased litigation against state and municipal police departments, there is no fiscal impact.

The Out Years

State Impact: None

Municipal Impact: None

OLR Bill Analysis

sSB 466

AN ACT CONCERNING DUAL ARRESTS AND THE TRAINING REQUIRED OF LAW ENFORCEMENT PERSONNEL WITH RESPECT TO DOMESTIC VIOLENCE.

SUMMARY

This bill requires a peace officer, in responding to a family violence complaint made by two or more opposing parties, to arrest the person the officer determines is the dominant aggressor. The bill does not prohibit dual arrests, but discourages it when appropriate.

Under the bill, a “dominant aggressor” is the person who poses the most serious ongoing threat in a situation involving a suspected family violence crime (see BACKGROUND).

The bill also:

It expands certain police and state's attorneys' training programs to include training on the factors for determining a dominant aggressor in a family violence case. It also allows an entity representing the state-wide domestic violence coalition to assist with the training curriculum and allows certain domestic violence agencies to conduct training.

It also makes technical and conforming changes.

EFFECTIVE DATE: January 1, 2019

ARRESTS

Under current law, when complaints of family violence are made by two or more opposing parties the peace officer must evaluate each complaint separately to determine whether to seek an arrest warrant. If the officer determines that a family violence crime has been committed, the officer must arrest the alleged perpetrator and charge the person with the appropriate crime.

Under the bill, the peace officer is not required to arrest both people. The bill, instead, requires the officer to (1) evaluate each complaint separately to determine which person is the dominant aggressor and (2) arrest the person the officer believes to be the dominant aggressor.

Under existing law, unchanged by the bill, the officer's decision to arrest and charge the perpetrator must not be based on (1) getting the victim's specific consent, (2) the relationship of the parties, or (3) solely on a victim's request.

By law, a peace officer investigating a family violence incident must not threaten to arrest all parties to discourage any of them from requesting law enforcement intervention.

DOMINANT AGGRESSOR FACTORS

The bill requires the peace officer, in determining the dominant aggressor, to consider:

PEACE OFFICER'S REPORT TO THE STATE'S ATTORNEY

The bill allows a peace officer who believes probable cause exists for the arrest of two or more persons, in lieu of arresting or seeking a warrant for the arrest of anyone determined not to be the dominant aggressor, to submit a report detailing the conduct of such person to the state's attorney for the judicial district in which the incident took place for further review and advice.

TRAINING PROGRAMS

Police Officer Standards and Training Council (POST) Education and Training Program

The bill expands the POST education and training program for law enforcement officers, supervisors, and state's attorneys on the handling of family violence incidents to include training on the factors for determining a dominant aggressor in a family violence case.

By law, the training program must also include:

Basic or Review Training Program

By law, each police basic or review training program conducted or administered by the Division of State Police, POST, or municipal police departments must provide a minimum of two hours of training on domestic violence, such as techniques for handling incidents of domestic violence that promote victim safety. The bill requires this program to also include training on factors for determining a dominant aggressor in a family violence case.

The bill requires the Division of State Police, POST, or municipal police departments to develop the training program curriculum in consultation with the Division of Criminal Justice and an entity representing the state-wide domestic violence coalition, rather than in consultation with the Connecticut Task Force on Abused Women and with its approval.

The bill allows domestic violence agencies, instead of the task force's individual shelter programs, to conduct domestic violence training in conjunction with any police training program, pursuant to POST guidelines and certification.

BACKGROUND

Family Violence

By law, “family violence” means an incident resulting in physical harm, bodily injury or assault, or an act of threatened violence that constitutes fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, or assault, including stalking or a pattern of threatening, between family or household members. It does not include verbal abuse or argument unless there is present danger and the likelihood that physical violence will occur (CGS 46b-38a(1)).

Family Violence Crime

By law, “family violence crime” means a crime, other than a delinquent act, which, in addition to its other elements, contains an element of an act of family violence to a family or household member. It does not include acts by parents or guardians disciplining minor children unless such acts constitute abuse (CGS 46b-38a(3)).

COMMITTEE ACTION

Judiciary Committee

Joint Favorable Substitute

Yea

38

Nay

0

(04/02/2018)

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