Substitute Senate Bill No. 1309

Public Act No. 99-247

An Act Concerning the Rights of Victims, the Notification of Schools of Potentially Dangerous Students, the Retention of Seized Currency, and the Witness Protection Program.

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

Section 1. Section 54-91c of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof: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 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. 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 has informed such state's attorney, assistant state's attorney or deputy assistant state's attorney that [he or she] 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.

(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.

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

Sec. 2. (NEW) An employer shall not deprive an employee of employment, or threaten or otherwise coerce such employee with respect thereto, because the employee, as a parent, spouse, child or sibling of a victim of homicide, attends 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.

Sec. 3. Section 18-27a of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(a) For the purposes of this section, "victim" means the victim, the legal representative of the victim or a member of a deceased victim's immediate family.

(b) At a session held by the Board of Pardons to consider whether to grant a commutation of punishment or release, conditioned or absolute, a commutation from the penalty of death or a pardon, conditioned or absolute, to any person convicted of a class A, B or C felony or a violation of section 53a-60a, 53a-60c, 53a-72b, 53a-103a or 53a-216, the board shall permit any victim of the crime for which the person was convicted to appear before the board for the purpose of making a statement for the record concerning whether the convicted person should be granted such commutation, release or pardon. In lieu of such appearance, the victim may submit a written statement to the board and the board shall make such statement a part of the record at the session.

(c) If the Board of Pardons is prepared to grant a commutation of punishment or release, conditioned or absolute, a commutation from the penalty of death or a pardon, conditioned or absolute, to a person convicted of an offense involving the use, attempted use or threatened use of physical force against another person, it shall make reasonable efforts to locate and notify any victim of the crime for which such person was convicted prior to granting such commutation, release or pardon and shall permit such victim to appear before the board and make a statement or submit a statement as provided in subsection (b) of this section.

[(c)] (d) Upon the granting to any person of a commutation of punishment or release, conditioned or absolute, a commutation from the penalty of death or a pardon, conditioned or absolute, the Board of Pardons shall forthwith notify the Office of Victim Services of its action.

Sec. 4. (NEW) If the Department of Children and Families believes, in good faith, that there is a risk of imminent personal injury to the person or other individuals from a child in its custody who has been adjudicated a serious juvenile offender, the department shall notify the superintendent of schools for the school district in which such child may be returning to attend school or was attending prior to the adjudication of such determination, prior to the child's return. The superintendent of schools shall notify the principal at the school the child will be attending that the child is potentially dangerous. The principal may disclose such information only to special services staff or a consultant, such as a psychiatrist, psychologist or social worker, for the purpose of assessing the risk of danger posed by such child to himself, other students, school employees or school property and effectuating an appropriate modification of such child's educational plan or placement and for disciplinary reasons.

Sec. 5. Subsection (b) of section 54-36a of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(b) (1) Whenever property is seized in connection with a criminal arrest or seized pursuant to a search warrant without an arrest, the law enforcement agency seizing such property shall file, on forms provided for this purpose by the Office of the Chief Court Administrator, an inventory of the property seized. The inventory, together with the uniform arrest report, in the case of an arrest, shall be filed with the clerk of the court for the geographical area in which the criminal offense is alleged to have been committed; except, when the property is stolen property and, in the opinion of the law enforcement officer, does not exceed two hundred fifty dollars in value, or when an attempt was made to steal the property but the property at all times remained on the premises in a sealed container, the filing of an inventory shall not be required and such property may be returned to the owner. In the case of property seized in connection with a search warrant without an arrest, the inventory shall be attached to the warrant and shall be filed with the clerk of the court for the geographical area in which the search warrant was issued. If any criminal proceeding is transferred to another court location, then the clerk with whom the inventory is filed shall transfer such inventory to the clerk of the court location to which such action is transferred. (2) If the seized property is stolen property, within ten days of the seizure, the law enforcement agency seizing the property shall notify the owner of the property if known, or, if the owner of the property is unknown at the time of seizure, such agency shall within ten days of any subsequent ascertainment of the owner notify such owner, and, on a form prescribed by the Office of the Chief Court Administrator, advise the owner of his rights concerning the property and the location of the property. Such written notice shall include a request form for the return of the property. The owner may request the return of the property by filing such request form with such law enforcement agency, and upon receipt of such request, the law enforcement agency shall forward it to the clerk of the court for the geographical area in which the criminal offense is alleged to have been committed. The clerk of the court shall notify the defendant or defendants of the request to return the property. The court shall order the return of the property within thirty days of the date of filing such return request by the owner, except that for good cause shown, the court may order retention of the property for a period to be determined by the court. Any secondary evidence of the identity, description or value of such property shall be admissible in evidence against such defendant in the trial of such case. The fact that the evidence is secondary in nature may be shown to affect the weight of such evidence, but not to affect its admissibility. [If any criminal proceeding is transferred to another court location, then the clerk with whom the inventory is filed shall transfer such inventory to the clerk of the court location to which such action is transferred.] (3) If the seized property is currency, the law enforcement agency seizing the property may deposit the currency in a safe deposit box in a financial institution in this state. No funds may be removed from such safe deposit box unless ordered by the court. The financial institution at which the safe deposit box is located shall not be responsible for monitoring activity in the safe deposit box or insuring that the contents of the safe deposit box are removed in accordance with the requirements of this subdivision.

Sec. 6. (NEW) The program of providing protective services to witnesses under sections 6 and 7 of public act 99-240 shall be known as the "The Leroy Brown, Jr. and Karen Clarke Witness Protection Program".

Approved July 8, 1999

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