Attorney General: Dr. Henry C. Lee, Commissioner, Department of Public Safety, 1998-023 Formal Opinion, Attorney General of Connecticut

Attorney General's Opinion

Attorney General Richard Blumenthal

November 16, 1998

Dr. Henry C. Lee, Commissioner
Department of Public Safety
1111 Country Club Road
Middletown, CT 06457-9294

Dear Commissioner Lee:

In a memorandum dated October 5, 1998, your agency asked for our opinion regarding two questions that have arisen since the issuance of our September 28, 1998 opinion regarding Public Act 98-111. The first question asks the following:

1) A review of the opinion would seem to indicate that an individual convicted of, for example, C.G.S. Sec. 53a-71(a)(1), and sentenced to a term of probation commencing September 28, 1998 would not have to be registered under either Public Act 97-183 or Public Act. 98-111. Under Public Act 97-183, such individual would not have been registered as registration would not have occurred until approximately five days before the end of his probation term. Under Public Act 98-111, such an individual would have been released into the community before October 1, 1998 as that term is defined in the Act and therefore would not fall within the scope of section 2 of the Act. Would you kindly advise this office if your view of the Act's scope is consistent with the foregoing?

It is our opinion that P.A. 98-111, 3(b) requires the individual you refer to above to register. That section provides that:

Any person who has been subject to the registration requirements of section 54-102r of the general statutes, revised to January 1, 1997, as amended by section 1 of public act 97-183, shall, not later than three working days after the effective date of this act, register under this section and thereafter comply with the provisions of this act.

The individual referred to in your inquiry, who was convicted of a violation of 53a-71(a)(1) and sentenced to a term of probation commencing on September 28, 1998, is a "person who has been subject to the registration requirements" set forth in 54-102r, revised to January 1, 1997, as amended by P.A. 97-183(1). Subsection (b) of that statute provides, in relevant part, that:

Whenever a person who has been convicted of sexual assault [as that term in defined in subsection (a) of the act]...is to be released from the supervision of the Office of Adult Probation upon completion or termination of a sentence of probation...said office...shall, not later than five days prior to such release..., register such person with the chief of police of the police department or resident state trooper for the municipality in which such person will reside.

In accordance with that statute, the individual to whom you refer is subject to the registration requirements in that he has been convicted of a sexual assault as that term is defined in P.A. 97-183(1)(a) and that statute, prior to its being repealed by 12 of P.A. 98-111, required the Office of Adult Probation to register the individual at some point "not later than five days prior to release" from the supervision of that office. In our view, the effect of P.A. 98-111, 3(b) is to change the point at which such an individual must register by requiring that such registration be accomplished "not later than three working days after the effective date of [the] act", rather than allowing the registration to occur at an unspecified time that could be close to the end of the probationary period.

This conclusion is consistent with and supported by the legislature's stated intent that such individuals be required to register under the act. During the debate in the House of Representatives on the bill that became P.A. 98-111, Rep. Lawlor stated that the bill "...clarifies that person [sic] who are on probation who are sex offenders in one of these categories, must begin to register from the inception of their probation rather from the completion of their probation." 41 Conn. H.R. Proc., pt. 11, 1998 Sess. 3717 (May 2, 1998) (remarks of Rep. Lawlor). (Emphasis added.) Thus, the language of these statutes as well as the legislative history compel the conclusion that the individual referred to in your question is required to register.

Your second question is as follows:

2) Section 3(b) of the Act provides that any individual who has been subject to the registration requirements of Public Act 97-183 must register under Public Act 98-111 in the manner required for sexually violent offenders. One result of this mandate is that individuals who were convicted of C.G.S. Sec. 53-21(2) and registered under Public Act 97-183 will be treated as sexually violent offenders whereas individuals who are convicted of C.G.S. Sec. 53-21(2) and released into the community on or after October 1, 1998 will be registered as individuals convicted of a criminal offense against a victim who is a minor. Is there any different approach the agency should be taking with respect to these offenders?

Although your question is somewhat unclear with regard to the "different approach" that the agency might take with respect to these offenders, we see two significant differences in the registration requirements as they apply to individuals convicted of sexually violent offenses (3) verses those convicted of a criminal offense against a victim who is a minor (2). The first difference is that 3 requires sexually violent offenders to register "documentation of any treatment received for mental abnormality or personality disorder", while no such requirement is contained in 2. In addition, those sections contain different language regarding the length of the required registration period. Section 2(a) requires that a person required to register under that section "shall maintain such registration for ten years", while 3(a) requires a sexually violent offender to "maintain such registration until released from this obligation in accordance with section 6 of this act". Section 6 requires that a person required to register under 3 "shall maintain his registration for not less than ten years from the date of his release into the community, after which he may apply to the court in which he was convicted...for release from the obligation to register."

If you are aware of any other differences in the registration requirements that you would like us to comment on, please feel free to contact us.

Very truly yours,

RICHARD BLUMENTHAL
ATTORNEY GENERAL

Margaret Q. Chapple
Assistant Attorney General


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