CSAO: Judiciary Committee - March 6, 2017 - H.B. No. 5541

TESTIMONY OF THE DIVISION OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE

IN OPPOSITION TO:

H.B. No. 5541 (COMM) AN ACT CONCERNING THE APPLICATION OF ACCELERATED REHABILITATION FOR PERSONS CHARGED WITH CHILD ENDANGERMENT.

JOINT COMMITTEE ON JUDICIARY
March 6, 2017

The Division of Criminal Justice opposes H.B. No. 5541, An Act Concerning the Application of Accelerated Rehabilitation for Persons Charged with Child Endangerment, and respectfully recommends the Committee take NO ACTION on this bill.

H.B. No. 5541 proposes to make certain defendants eligible for Accelerated Rehabilitation provided they participate in the Family Violence Education Program. This simply makes no sense because existing law, which would remain unchanged by this bill, prohibits the individuals in question from participating in the Family Violence Education Program.

Specifically, the bill deals with eligibility for Accelerated Rehabilitation for a person charged with violating subdivision (1) or (3) of subsection (a) of Section 53-21:

  • Subdivision (1) applies to an individual who "wilfully or unlawfully causes or permits any child under the age of sixteen years to be placed in such a situation that the life or limb of such child is endangered, the health of such child is likely to be injured or the morals of such child are likely to be impaired, or does any act likely to impair the health or morals of any such child"
  • Subdivision (3) applies to an individual who "permanently transfers the legal or physical custody of a child under the age of sixteen years to another person for money or other valuable consideration or acquires or receives the legal or physical custody of a child under the age of sixteen years from another person upon payment of money or other valuable consideration to such other person or a third person, except in connection with an adoption proceeding that complies with the provisions of chapter 803," i.e., or what the statutory title references as "sale of a child."

Both subdivision (1) and (3) of subsection (a) of Section 53-21 are classified as a class C felony. Accelerated Rehabilitation is already precluded for a class C felony unless good cause is shown. Even if this hurdle is cleared, H.B. No. 5411 is still fatally flawed since it would require the defendant to participate in the Family Violence Education Program in order to be eligible for Accelerated Rehabilitation. This is not possible, however, because section 46b-38c (h) (1) (D) specifically excludes anyone charged with a class C felony from participating in the Family Violence Education Program.

Beyond the fact that the bill simply does not work, it is not clear what H.B. No. 5541 attempts to accomplish or, if in fact, anything would be accomplished by passage of this legislation. Neither of the two subsections of Section 53-21 involves what is generally considered a family violence crime, and, in fact, the vast majority of prosecutions brought under either of these subsections do not arise from incidents of family violence. The Division of Criminal Justice stands ready to explore this matter with the proponents of the bill and to assist in drafting workable legislation if a problem does, indeed, exist.

In conclusion, the Division respectfully recommends the Committee take NO ACTION on H.B. No. 5541. We thank the Committee for affording this opportunity to provide input on this matter and would be happy to provide any additional information the Committee might require or to answer any questions that you might have.



Content Last Modified on 3/3/2017 3:40:41 PM