Court Cafe Juvenile Matters

Relevant Statues & Bills

An Act Concerning the Age of A Child for Purposes of Jurisdiction in Juvenile Matters

House Bill No. 6567 / Raised Bill No. 5782 / LCO No. 2872
Statement of Purpose: To extend jurisdiction in delinquency matters and proceedings to include sixteen-year-old children on and after October 1, 2007, and seventeen-year-old children on and after October 1, 2008.

This bill sets a new policy direction for dealing with 16 and 17 year olds as juveniles instead of placing them in the adult court. Connecticut is only one of three states that designate 16 and 17 year olds as adults in the criminal justice system for behavior that is not criminal, but behavior that is defined as defiant, troubled or truant. The bill establishes a planning committee to review all matters, including funding, necessary to implement a sweeping change the current system and move it up two years to age 17 years old. The Committee, which includes the Chief Court Administrator, the Commissioner of DCF, the Commissioner of Correction, the Chief State's Attorney, and the Commission on Children, shall report their findings by January 15, 2004.

The bill also establishes a pilot program in Middletown that would give the Probate Court jurisdiction over administering youth in crisis cases for youth who are not truant. The pilot hopes to develop more community based programs with the Probate Court to prevent juveniles from going to the adult court.

The bill also outlines specific protocols that local police jurisdictions must follow to deal more effectively with youth in crisis. The emphasis is on getting appropriate services and placement rather than immediate detention and sanctions. It directs that efforts must be made to place the child with a responsible adult and the youth may be referred to the Probate Court instead of the Superior Court for Juvenile Matters. In extreme cases, the Court can direct the Department of Motor Vehicles to suspend a youth in crisis license for a time not to exceed one year.

Opposition to the Bill: Testimony of Chief State’s Attorney Christopher L. Morano
In Opposition to H.B. No. 5782 (RAISED) An Act Concerning the Age of a Child for Purposes of Jurisdiction in Juvenile Delinquency Matters and Proceedings
Joint Committee on Judiciary - March 13, 2006

The Division of Criminal Justice strongly urges the Committee to reject H.B. No. 5782, An Act Concerning the Age of a Child for Purposes of Jurisdiction in Juvenile Delinquency Matters and Proceedings. This bill is totally inconsistent with the enactment last year of Public Act 05-232, which made major changes to the laws governing Youthful Offender (YO) proceedings.

Our plea today is simple: fine tune the major bill you passed last year and then give that legislation the chance to work. It has been only six weeks since P.A. 05-232 took effect on January 1, 2006, and yet there is already legislation being considered to completely scrap all of the work that was done last year.

There is no evidence whatsoever to even suggest that P.A. 05-232 is not working as intended. In fact, the statistics show otherwise. The facts show that the overwhelming majority of Y.O. cases are not going to the adult docket. They are remaining on the Y.O. docket.

Favorable Change of Reference from House to Committee on Appropriations on March 28 2006. Favorable Change of Reference from Senate to Committee on Appropriations on March 29 2006. Joint Favorable Substitue by Appropriations Committee on April 04 2006. Bill was filed with Legislative Commissioners' Office on April 04 2006.

An Act Concerning Justice for All Children

Raised H.B. No. 5700
To provide for the development and implementation of objective race-neutral criteria for determining whether to detain a child within the juvenile justice system and to exempt certain juvenile commitments from the offense of escape from custody. Section 46b-133 of the general statutes is repealed and Section 1 is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2006). Section 53a-171 of the general statutes is repealed and Section 2 is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2006). [Further Details]

An Act Prohibiting the Placement of Female Juvenile Offenders at the Connecticut Juvenile Training School

House Bill No. 5564 / Public Act No. 04-152
Any female child committed to the Connecticut Juvenile Training School shall be separated from any contact with male children in said facility. Separation shall be accomplished through architectural means, through time-phasing of common use nonresidential areas and through policies and procedures. No program activities may be shared by female and male children in said facility. Approved May 21, 2004. [Further Details]

An Act Concerning the Transfer to Juvenile Court of the cases of Children Charged with Certain Sexual Offenses

Substitute House Bill No. 5444 / Public Act No. 04-148
Subsection (a) of section 46b-127 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2004): The court shall automatically transfer from the docket for juvenile matters to the regular criminal docket of the Superior Court the case of any child charged with the commission of a capital felony, a class A or B felony or a violation of section 53a-54d, provided such offense was committed after such child attained the age of fourteen years and counsel has been appointed for such child if such child is indigent. [Further Details]

An Act Establishing a Plan of Community-Based Services for Adolescent Females Involved in the Juvenile Court System

Substitute House Bill No. 5366 / Special Act No. 04-5
(Formerly: An Act Concerning Programs and Services for Female Juvenile Status Offenders and Delinquents. The Committee in JFS language LCO No. 2242 changed the title of the bill at the request of Representative Hamm to An Act Establishing A Plan Of Community-Based Services For Adolescent Females Involved In The Juvenile Court System.)

Opposition to the Bill: Darlene Dunbar, Commissioner, Department of Children and Families (DCF) testified that the Department has consistently opposed the incarceration of youth solely because of status offenses. There appears to be no resources to be made available for the planning requirement in this bill. The bill also does not include the Court Support Services Division of the Judicial Branch, an important participant in providing services to female status offenders.

Approved May 10, 2004 / Effective July 1, 2004. The Commissioner of Children and Families, in consultation with the Court Support Services Division, the Commissioner of Social Services, the Child Advocate and providers of community based services, shall establish a plan for the development of a continuum of community based services for female juvenile status offenders and delinquents. Such services shall be designed to prevent the incarceration of such status offenders and delinquents. [Further Details]

An Act Concerning the State Prevention Council and Investment Priorities

Public 03-145
The bill strengthens the work of the State Prevention Council by requiring the Council to determine the goals, strategies and outcomes measures to promote the health and well being of children and families. The bill requires the Council to design a plan for inter-agency and intra-agency implementation and submit such plan to the Appropriations Committee and the Office of Policy and Management by January 1, 2004.

For the first time state agencies are asked to work together to achieve specific goals to implement research-based, early intervention strategies that result in measurable outcomes. Outcomes include: increase in pregnant women and newborns who are healthy; decrease in the rate of child neglect and abuse; increase in children who are ready for school; and increase in children who succeed in school; decrease in children who are unsupervised after school; and increase in youth who choose healthy behaviors and become successful working adults; decrease in juvenile suicide; decrease in juvenile crime; and increase in access to health care and stable housing.

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