Substitute House Bill No. 5785

Public Act No. 00-200

An Act Concerning Victim's Rights.

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

Section 1. Section 54-210 of the general statutes, as amended by section 1 of public act 99-128 and section 4 of public act 99-184, is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(a) The Office of Victim Services or a victim compensation commissioner may order the payment of compensation under this chapter for: (1) Expenses actually and reasonably incurred as a result of the personal injury or death of the victim, provided coverage for the cost of medical care and treatment of a crime victim who does not have medical insurance or who has exhausted coverage under applicable health insurance policies or Medicaid shall be ordered; (2) loss of earning power as a result of total or partial incapacity of such victim; (3) pecuniary loss to the spouse or dependents of the deceased victim, including zero to one per cent loans of up to one hundred thousand dollars, with repayment beginning five years from the date the loan was awarded, provided the family qualifies for compensation as a result of murder or manslaughter of the victim; (4) pecuniary loss to the relatives or dependents of a deceased victim for attendance at court proceedings with respect to the criminal case of the person or persons charged with committing the crime that resulted in the death of the victim; and (5) any other loss, except as set forth in section 54-211, resulting from the personal injury or death of the victim which the Office of Victim Services or a victim compensation commissioner, as the case may be, determines to be reasonable. At the discretion of said office or victim compensation commissioner, there shall be one hundred dollars deductible from the total amount determined by said office or victim compensation commissioner. Loan funds awarded under subdivision (3) of this subsection shall be used to pay for essential living expenses, directly resulting from the loss of income provided by the deceased victim, or preexisting financial obligations that are not otherwise forgiven or excused. The Office of the Chief Court Administrator shall establish procedures and forms for the application and repayment of such loans.

(b) Payment of compensation under this chapter may be made to a person who is a recipient of public assistance, state-administered general assistance or general assistance for necessary and reasonable expenses related to injuries resulting from a crime and not provided for by the income assistance program in which such person is a participant. Unless required by federal law, no such payment shall be considered an asset for purposes of eligibility for such assistance.

Sec. 2. Section 12-146 of the general statutes, as amended by section 2 of public act 99-128, is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

Unless the context otherwise requires, wherever used in this section, "tax" includes each property tax and each instalment and part thereof due to a municipality as it may have been increased by interest, fees and charges. If any tax due in a single instalment or if any instalment of any tax due in two or more instalments is not paid in full (1) on or before the first day of the month next succeeding the month in which it became due and payable, or if not due and payable on the first day of the month, (2) on or before the same date of the next succeeding month corresponding to that of the month on which it became due and payable, the whole or such part of such instalment as is unpaid shall thereupon be delinquent and shall be subject to interest from the due date of such delinquent instalment. Except for unpaid real estate taxes the collection of which was, or is, deferred under the provisions of section 12-174, and any predecessor and successor thereto, which unpaid real estate taxes continue to be subject to the provisions of such deferred collection statutes, the delinquent portion of the principal of any tax shall be subject to interest at the rate of eighteen per cent per annum from the time when it became due and payable until the same is paid, subject to a minimum interest charge of two dollars which any municipality, by vote of its legislative body, may elect not to impose, and provided, in any computation of such interest, under any provision of this section, each fractional part of a month in which any portion of the principal of such tax remains unpaid shall be considered to be equivalent to a whole month. Each addition of interest shall become, and shall be collectible as, a part of such tax. Interest shall accrue at said rate until payment of such taxes due notwithstanding the entry of any judgment in favor of the municipality against the taxpayer or [his] the property of the taxpayer. Except as hereinafter specified for taxes representing two or more items of property, the collector shall not receive any partial payment of a delinquent tax which is less than the total accrued interest on the principal of such tax up to the date of payment and shall apply each partial payment to the wiping out of such interest before making any application thereof to the reduction of such principal; provided, whenever the first partial payment is made after delinquency, interest from the due date of such delinquent tax to the date of such partial payment shall be figured on the whole or such part of the principal of such tax as is unpaid at the beginning of delinquency and provided, whenever a subsequent partial payment of such tax is made, interest shall be figured from the date of payment of the last-preceding, to the date of payment of such subsequent, partial payment on the whole or such balance of the principal of such tax as remains unpaid on the date of the last-preceding partial payment. If any tax, at the time of assessment or because of a subsequent division, represents two or more items of property, the collector may receive payment in full of such part of the principal and interest of such tax as represents one or more of such items, even though interest in full on the entire amount of the principal of such tax has not been received up to the date of such payment; in which event, interest on the remaining portion of the principal of any such tax shall be computed, as the case may be, from the due date of such tax if no other payment after delinquency has been made or from the last date of payment of interest in full on the whole amount or unpaid balance of the principal of such delinquent tax if previous payment of interest has been made. Each collector shall keep a separate account of such interest and the time when the same has been received and shall pay over the same to the treasurer of [his] the municipality of the collector as a part of such tax. No tax or instalment thereof shall be construed to be delinquent under the provisions of this section if the envelope containing the amount due as such tax or instalment, as received by the tax collector of the municipality to which such tax is payable, bears a postmark showing a date within the time allowed by statute for the payment of such tax or instalment. Any municipality may, by vote of its legislative body, require that any delinquent property taxes applicable with respect to a motor vehicle shall be paid only in cash or by certified check or money order. Any municipality adopting such requirement may provide that such requirement shall only be applicable to delinquency exceeding a certain period in duration as determined by such municipality. Any municipality [may, by vote of its legislative body,] shall waive all or a portion of the interest due and payable under this section on a delinquent tax with respect to a taxpayer who has received compensation under chapter 968 as a crime victim.

Sec. 3. Section 54-91c of the general statutes, as amended by section 1 of public act 99-247, is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(a) For the purposes of this section, "victim" means a person who is a victim of a class A, B or C felony or a violation of section 53a-72a or 53a-72b, the legal representative of such person or a member of a deceased victim's immediate family.

(b) Prior to the imposition of sentence upon any defendant who has been found guilty of a class A, B or C felony or a violation of section 53a-72a or 53a-72b or has pleaded guilty or nolo contendere to any class A, B or C felony or a violation of section 53a-72a or 53a-72b and prior to the acceptance by the court of a plea of guilty or nolo contendere made pursuant to a plea agreement with the state wherein the defendant pleads to a lesser offense than the offense with which [he] such defendant was originally charged, the court shall permit the victim of the crime to appear before the court for the purpose of making a statement for the record, which statement may include the victim's opinion of any plea agreement. In lieu of such appearance, the victim may submit a written statement or, if the victim of the crime is deceased, the legal representative or a member of the immediate family of such crime victim may submit a statement of such deceased crime victim to the state's attorney, assistant state's attorney or deputy assistant state's attorney in charge of the case. Such state's attorney, assistant state's attorney or deputy assistant state's attorney shall file the statement with the sentencing court and the statement shall be made a part of the record at the sentencing hearing. Any such statement, whether oral or written, shall relate to the facts of the case, the appropriateness of any penalty and the extent of any injuries, financial losses and loss of earnings directly resulting from the crime for which the defendant is being sentenced. After consideration of any such statements, the court may refuse to accept, where appropriate, a negotiated plea or sentence, and the court shall give the defendant an opportunity to enter a new plea and to elect trial by jury or by the court.

(c) Prior to the imposition of sentence upon such defendant and prior to the acceptance of a plea pursuant to a plea agreement, the state's attorney, assistant state's attorney or deputy assistant state's attorney in charge of the case shall advise the victim of such crime of the date, time and place of the original sentencing hearing or any judicial proceeding concerning the acceptance of a plea pursuant to a plea agreement, provided the victim or, if the victim of the crime is deceased, the legal representative or a member of the immediate family of such deceased crime victim has informed such state's attorney, assistant state's attorney or deputy assistant state's attorney that such victim wishes to make or submit a statement as provided in subsection (b) of this section and has complied with a request from such state's attorney, assistant state's attorney or deputy assistant state's attorney to submit a stamped, self-addressed postcard for the purpose of such notification. If the state's attorney, assistant state's attorney or deputy assistant state's attorney is unable to notify the victim or any family member of such victim if such victim is deceased, such state's attorney, assistant state's attorney or deputy state's attorney shall sign a statement as to such notification.

(d) Upon the request of a victim, prior to the acceptance by the court of a plea of a defendant pursuant to a proposed plea agreement, the state's attorney, assistant state's attorney or deputy assistant state's attorney in charge of the case shall provide such victim with the terms of such proposed plea agreement in writing.

(e) The provisions of this section shall not apply to any proceedings held in accordance with section 46b-121 or section 54-76h.

Sec. 4. (NEW) A photograph not to exceed eight inches by ten inches solely of a deceased victim prior to the date of the offense for which the defendant is being tried, that is a fair and accurate representation of the victim and is not of itself inflammatory in nature, may be shown to the jury during the opening and closing arguments by the prosecutor.

Sec. 5. Section 54-63f of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

A person who has been convicted of any offense, except a violation of section 53a-54a, 53a-54b, 53a-54c or 53a-54d or any offense involving the use, attempted use or threatened use of physical force against another person, and is either awaiting sentence or has given oral or written notice of [his] such person's intention to appeal or file a petition for certification or a writ of certiorari may be released pending final disposition of the case, unless the court finds custody to be necessary to provide reasonable assurance of [his] such person's appearance in court, upon the first of the following conditions of release found sufficient by the court to provide such assurance: (1) Upon [his] such person's execution of a written promise to appear, (2) upon [his] such person's execution of a bond without surety in no greater amount than necessary, (3) upon [his] such person's execution of a bond with surety in no greater amount than necessary, (4) upon [his] such person's deposit, with the clerk of the court having jurisdiction of the offense with which such person stands convicted or any assistant clerk of such court who is bonded in the same manner as the clerk or any person or officer authorized to accept bail, a sum of money equal to the amount called for by the bond required by the court, or (5) upon [his] such person's pledge of real property, the equity of which is equal to the amount called for by the bond required by the court, provided the person pledging such property is the owner of such property. When cash bail is offered, such bond shall be executed and the money shall be received in lieu of a surety or sureties upon such bond. Such cash bail shall be retained by the clerk of such court until a final order of the court disposing of the same is passed, provided, if such bond is forfeited, the clerk of such court shall pay the money to the payee named therein, according to the terms and conditions of the bond.

Sec. 6. (NEW) A victim impact statement prepared by a victim advocate to be placed in court files in accordance with subdivision (2) of section 54-220 of the general statutes may be read in court prior to imposition of sentence upon a defendant found guilty of a crime punishable by death.

Sec. 7. (NEW) Any victim of a violent crime or the legal representative or member of the immediate family of a victim who is deceased shall be permitted to attend all court proceedings that are part of the court record.

Sec. 8. Section 52-555 of the general statutes, as amended by public act 99-42, is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(a) In any action surviving to or brought by an executor or administrator for injuries resulting in death, whether instantaneous or otherwise, such executor or administrator may recover from the party legally at fault for such injuries just damages together with the cost of reasonably necessary medical, hospital and nursing services, and including funeral expenses, provided no action shall be brought to recover such damages and disbursements but within two years from the date of death, and except that no such action may be brought more than five years from the date of the act or omission complained of.

(b) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a) of this section, an action may be brought under this section at any time after the date of the act or omission complained of if the party legally at fault for such injuries resulting in death has been convicted or found not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect of a violation of section 53a-54a, 53a-54b, 53a-54c, [or] 53a-54d, 53a-55 or 53a-55a with respect to such death.

Sec. 9. Subsection (a) of section 46a-13d of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(a) All state, local and private agencies shall have a duty to cooperate with any investigation conducted by the Office of the Victim Advocate. Consistent with the provisions of the general statutes concerning the confidentiality of records and information, the Victim Advocate shall have access to, including the right to inspect and copy, any records necessary to carry out the responsibilities of the Victim Advocate as provided in section 46a-13c. [to the same extent as a victim would have access to such records.] Nothing contained in this subsection shall be construed to waive a victim's right to confidentiality of communication or records as protected by and provisions of the general statutes or common law.

Approved June 1, 2000