PA 95-142-sSB 872
Judiciary Committee

AN ACT CONCERNING SEXUAL OFFENDERS AND THE PENALTY FOR THE ASSAULT OR
SEXUAL ASSAULT OF CHILDREN

SUMMARY: This act makes several changes in the laws dealing with sexual offenders, offenders who have
committed offenses against children, and offenders in general who have been sentenced to a period of probation
or conditional discharge. It:
  1.   increases from one to 10 years the length of time serious sexual offenders must be registered with local
       law enforcement agencies, requires offenders who have completed probation to be registered, and
       broadens the class of individuals and entities to whom registration information may be disclosed;
  2.   establishes within the risk of injury to a minor offense a separate category for conduct involving sexual
       contact with a child's intimate parts or sexual contact of the perpetrator's intimate parts with the child's
       person;
  3.   includes this sub-offense in the list of serious sexual offenses for which certain enhanced penalties or
       conditions of parole or probation apply and adds it to the list of sexual assault offenses for which
       convicted offenders must be registered;
  4.   makes risk of injury to a minor a class C rather than an unclassified felony, increasing the penalty from a
       prison term of up to 10 years, a fine of up to $500, or both, to a prison term of at least one and at most
       10 years, a fine of up to $10,000, or both;
  5.   when the victim is younger than 10 years old, increases the mandatory minimum prison sentence for
       first-degree sexual assault crimes from one to 10 years and for most first-degree assault with a deadly
       weapon or dangerous instrument crimes from five to 10 years, and establishes a mandatory minimum
       prison sentence of 10 years for all other first-degree assault crimes when the victim is under that age;
  6.   increases the probation period for serious sexual offenses by requiring a minimum of 10 and a maximum
       of 35 years, rather than up to 35 years, eliminating age and prior conviction requirements for this
       enhanced probation sentence, and prohibiting the court from terminating such sentences before the
       offenders have completed them;
  7.   allows the court to require more offenders to participate in specialized sexual offender treatment as a
       condition of probation or conditional discharge by eliminating the same age and prior conviction
       requirements and adding the sexual contact risk of injury offense to the list of offenses for which such
       treatment may be required;
  8.   adds several serious sexual offenses to the list of offenses for which a youth is ineligible for youthful
       offender status;
  9.   prohibits defendants charged with serious sexual offenses, including sexual contact risk of injury, from
       participating in the pretrial accelerated rehabilitation program;
  10.  requires, as a condition of probation or parole, that a serious sexual offender probationer or parolee
       notify his officer of any residence change, and requires the officer in turn to notify local law enforcement
       authorities;
  11.  allows the court to extend a person's probation or conditional discharge sentence when he violates the
       probation or conditional discharge conditions imposed by the court;
  12.  specifies that the court may revoke a person's probation or conditional discharge only if a preponderance
       of the evidence indicates the offender committed the violation that warrants the revocation;
  13.  allows the Board of Parole, to the extent funding is available, to require an inmate to undergo specialized
       sexual offender treatment for at least one year before it schedules a parole eligibility hearing; and
  14.  requires the Board of Parole and the Department of Correction to report to the General Assembly by
       February 7, 1996, on the budget revisions needed for these agencies to provide residential specialized
       sexual offender treatment for inmates, both before and after release from correctional institutions.
EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 1995

FURTHER EXPLANATION

Sex Offender Registration

  The act increases the time a convicted sexual offender released from a correctional facility must be registered
with local law enforcement authorities from one to 10 years after his "sentence termination date." (This is the date
that the offender would be released if he served the full term to which he was sentenced with no reduction for
parole, good conduct credit, outstanding meritorious performance award, or in the absence of any other early
release mechanism.) This registration requirement applies to sexual offenders who live in the community and have
been convicted of a serious sexual offense including, under the act, the sexual contact risk of injury offense.
  The act requires the Office of Adult Probation to register with local law enforcement authorities offenders who
are to be released from its supervision upon completion or termination of their probation sentences. Specifically,
the office must register probationers no later than five days before their release. It appears this registration
requirement is limited to offenders whom the office releases into the community and not those it sends to a
correctional facility upon the court's revocation of their probation. The law already requires the Board of Parole
or the Correction Department to register offenders who are about to be released from a correctional facility. The
act requires an offender released from the Office of Adult Probation's supervision to be registered for 10 years
after his "probation termination date," defined as the date the office's supervision ends. And for those 10 years,
the act requires the offender to notify local law enforcement authorities of any changes in address, just as the law
requires an offender released from a correctional facility to do.
  The act requires sexual offenders who have been released on probation in another state or jurisdiction to
register with local law enforcement authorities within five days of establishing residence here if they move here
within 10 years after their probation termination date. Like other registered offenders, they must notify local law
enforcement authorities of any address changes within the 10-year registration period.
  The act also broadens the class of entities and individuals who are exempt from the confidentiality requirement
governing compiled registration information, to include (1) law enforcement agencies that need the information for
law enforcement purposes, (2) governmental agencies conducting confidential background checks, (3) any specific
person for whom the local police chief or resident state trooper determines the information is necessary to protect
from the sex offenders, and (4) any person to whom a parole or probation officer, performing his duties and
acting within the scope of his employment, discloses the information. Prior law prohibited disclosure except to a
law enforcement officer performing law enforcement duties. By law, disclosure of compiled registration
information except as specifically authorized is a class C misdemeanor (see table on penalties).

Risk of Injury to Minors

  The crime of risk of injury to or impairing the morals of children involves willfully or unlawfully causing or
permitting someone under age 16 to be put in a situation of danger or where his health or morals might be
impaired. The act subdivides the offense in two, requiring in one part that the offending conduct involve contact
with the intimate parts of a child under age 16 or contact of the perpetrator's intimate parts with the child's
person, and requiring in the other that the offending conduct meet the existing, more general, definition. With
respect to the sexual contact risk of injury offense, the act requires that the contact be with a child to whom the
perpetrator is not married, and that the perpetrator make the contact in a sexual manner, to sexually gratify
himself or to degrade or humiliate the child.

First-Degree Assault and Sexual Assault

  First-degree assault and sexual assault crimes are class B felony offenses for which the maximum prison
sentence is 20 years. Prior law set minimum sentences that applied regardless of the victim's age. Specifically, it
imposed a mandatory minimum sentence of five years for first-degree assault, when the perpetrator intended to
cause serious physical injury and in fact caused such injury with a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument. For
all other first-degree assault crimes, the minimum prison sentence was one year, but the court could reduce or
suspend it. And for first-degree sexual assault, the mandatory minimum sentence was one year.
  Under the act, these minimum sentences continue to apply when the victim is 10 years of age or older, but
when the victim is younger the court must sentence the perpetrator to at least 10 years and may not suspend or
reduce the sentence below this amount.

Enhanced Probation Period

  Prior law allowed the court to impose an enhanced probation period of up to 35 years for a person convicted
of a serious sexual offense-first-, second-, or third-degree sexual assault; first-degree aggravated sexual assault;
sexual assault in a spousal or cohabiting relationship; or third-degree sexual assault with a firearm-if he (1) had
a prior conviction for any of these offenses or (2) was at least 18 years old when he committed the offense and
the victim was under age 13. The enhanced probation period was in lieu of the maximum five years allowed for
felony offenses.
  The act eliminates the prior conviction and age requirements, adds the sexual contact risk of injury offense to
the list of offenses for which the court must impose an enhanced probation period if it imposes any probation at
all, and requires the probation period to be at least 10 and at most 35 years.
  For an offender sentenced to enhanced probation, the act eliminates the court's prior authority to terminate his
probation sentence early for good cause shown.

Specialized Sexual Offender Treatment

  Under prior law, the court could require a person convicted of serious sexual offenses to participate in
specialized sexual offender treatment as a condition of probation or conditional discharge if he (1) had a prior
serious sexual offense conviction or (2) was at least 18 years old when he committed the offense and the victim
was under age 13. The act eliminates the prior conviction and age requirements and adds the sexual contact risk
of injury offense to the list of serious sexual offenses for which a court may require specialized sexual offender
treatment as a condition of probation or conditional discharge.

Youthful Offender Status

  The act adds all of the serious sexual offenses, including sexual contact risk of injury, other than first-degree
aggravated sexual assault, to the list of offenses that bar a youth from consideration for youthful offender status.
The law already bars a youth from consideration if he committed a class A felony or first-degree aggravated
sexual assault.

Notification of Residence Changes

  The act requires any offender who has been convicted of a serious sexual offense, including the sexual contact
risk of injury offense, and is on parole or probation to immediately notify his parole or probation officer, as the
case may be, whenever he changes his address. It requires the officer, once notified, to notify the chief of police
or resident state trooper for the municipality where the offender's new residence is and any other law enforcement
officer he considers appropriate.
  The act makes notification by the offender a condition of parole or probation. Thus, if the offender fails to
abide by it, he may be arrested and the court may revoke his probation, if he is on probation, or the Board of
Parole may terminate his parole and he may be imprisoned.
  Under the act, the probation officer may inform a police officer that the offender has violated his probation by
failing to notify him of a change of address. This notice is "sufficient warrant" for the police officer to arrest him
and return him to the court's custody or any detention facility designated by the court. By law, once the defendant
is arrested, the probation or arresting officer must present to the detention facility authorities a statement
concerning the violation of probation conditions. And once the defendant is arrested or detained, the court must
conduct a hearing on the violation charge.

Extension of Probation or Conditional Discharge Period

  Upon determining the defendant has violated his probation conditions, the court has several options. By law, it
may continue or revoke the defendant's probation or conditional discharge or modify any conditions it has
imposed. The act expands the court's options by allowing it to extend the period of probation or conditional
discharge but requires that the extension plus the original period not exceed the period the court is authorized to
impose for the defendant's particular offense.

Evidence Necessary for Probation Revocation

  By law, the court may not revoke probation or conditional discharge until it has considered the whole record
and concludes that evidence which is reliable and likely to prove whether the defendant violated the terms of his
probation or conditional discharge in fact establishes the violation. The act specifies that, in order for the court to
revoke the probation or conditional discharge, the evidence as a whole must establish that, more likely than not,
the violation occurred.

BACKGROUND

Probation

  The law allows a court to sentence an offender to a period of probation in addition to a prison term, with part
or all of the prison sentence suspended. The court may sentence the offender to probation if it concludes that (1)
the public's protection does not require the offender to be confined or confined for an extended period; (2)
probation supervision can effectively provide the offender with needed guidance, training, or assistance; and (3)
such a sentence is not contrary to the goals of justice.

Conditional Discharge

  A court may impose a sentence of conditional discharge for an offense other than a class A felony if it
concludes that (1) the public's protection does not require the defendant to be confined or confined for an
extended period and (2) probation supervision is inappropriate. When the court imposes conditional discharge, the
defendant is released but during the conditional discharge period must abide by conditions the court may impose.

Youthful Offender Status

  Youthful offender status allows a court to erase the criminal records of first-time youthful offenders (16- or
17-year-olds) who successfully complete a court-imposed sentence, such as probation or community service. A
youth is ineligible if he committed a class A felony or first-degree aggravated sexual lawsuit.

Accelerated Pretrial Rehabilitation

  The accelerated pretrial rehabilitation program is for people accused of nonserious crimes or motor vehicle
violations, who have no prior convictions or specified motor vehicle violations, and who the court believes are
unlikely to reoffend in the future. The program allows them to waive trial and be placed on probation for up to
two years and then to have all charges dismissed upon successful completion of probation.

Related Acts

  PA 95-154 makes a person who is charged with a class A or B felony, and anyone previously adjudged a
youthful offender for the commission of a class B felony, ineligible for the accelerated pretrial rehabilitation
program.
  PA 95-175 extends the sexual offender registration law to people who (1) on or after January 1, 1995, are
acquitted by reason of mental disease or defect of any one of the six most serious sexual assault crimes originally
covered by the law and (2) the court commits to the jurisdiction of the Psychiatric Security Review Board.
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