Protecting the Public
The impact of legislative Democrats’ persistent efforts to erode our state’s criminal justice system came into focus over the last year, and residents’ mounting concerns grew to include frightening crimes such as brazen carjackings, vehicles stolen with children inside, and criminals breaking into homes to grab keys to steal cars and use them in crime sprees. Democrats sat on their hands, blaming the pandemic for the culture of crime that’s gripped our state while refusing to join Republicans–and residents–in the call for action.
Connecticut residents deserve to feel safe in their own communities, and we’ll push to install more accountability in our state’s criminal justice system–in particular, our juvenile court system. We’ve proposed to:
- Add an additional 2 years to the mandatory minimum sentence for a carjacking that involves a firearm or deadly weapon.
- Enhance penalties for crimes committed using a stolen vehicle or stolen firearms.
- Remove certain violent crimes from being eligible for clean slate.
- In Connecticut, the penalty for stealing a vehicle is based on the vehicle’s value–so, the theft of a Mercedes is treated with greater weight than the theft of a late-model Honda. We believe that Honda is as important to its owner as the Mercedes is to its owner, and we’ve proposed creating a new offense of “larceny of a motor vehicle” that treats all thefts equally. The first offense shall be a class A misdemeanor, while a second or subsequent offense shall be a class B felony.
- Expand the recent Judicial Branch record-sharing initiative to ensure that law enforcement officers have access to records before a detention request is initiated.
- Expand the circumstances under which juveniles charged with certain violent crimes are automatically transferred to the regular criminal docket.
- Require mandatory fingerprinting of juveniles arrested for a felony, a Class A Misdemeanor, a charge resulting from loss of life or serious physical injury, a sexual assault, a serious juvenile offense, or an offense involving use of a firearm.
- Institute mandatory around-the-clock electronic/GPS monitoring of juveniles arrested while they are already awaiting trial for a prior offense.
- Allow arresting officers to detain juveniles for over 6 hours when they, in good faith, are trying to execute an order to detain but have not yet received judicial approval and require judges to provide a written reason within 24 hours of denying a police officer’s request to detain.
- Require the judicial branch to collect data on detention requests made by law enforcement officers and state’s attorneys.
- Allow courts to find that releasing the juvenile offender to parents/guardians who have no control over the child is not “reasonably likely to be effective.”
- Require Family Support Services interventions to be ordered at arraignment in juvenile court, rather than after adjudication.
- Require judges to order Department of Children and Families to investigate juveniles charged with a felony, a Class A Misdemeanor, a charge resulting from loss of life or serious physical injury, a sexual assault, a serious juvenile offense, or an offense involving the use of a firearm.
- Require reporting of (1) the staffing level of juvenile probation officers, (2) the number of juvenile diversionary and pretrial programs, their content, and efficacy in reducing recidivism, and (3) the availability and efficacy of juvenile job training programs and juvenile drug treatment programs.
- Allow parents and schools to access the Family with Service Needs (FWSN) program at any time without having to exhaust other community services and resources first.
Considering action taken by Democrat lawmakers, including “Clean Slate” legislation to automatically erase criminal records for many disturbing crimes, Connecticut residents can’t help but feel as though their government has ranked the concerns of criminals over those of victims.
- Dedicate additional funding to the victims’ compensation fund to reimburse victims of car theft and other property theft and damage, regardless of arrest.
- Provide adequate funding and resources for the Office of the Victim Advocate.
- Require crimes involving violence, theft of a motor vehicle, sexual offenses, or offenses involving use of a firearm to be adjudicated in the geographical area (GA) where the offense occurred, not where the perpetrator resides.
- Require the Judicial Branch to study and, if possible, implement victim impact panels in juvenile delinquency proceedings.
Supporting Law Enforcement
During a 2020 special session, Democrats passed their controversial “police accountability” legislation that law enforcement officers say hampers their ability to do their jobs, while also leaving residents who are fed up with the state’s crime crisis wondering what majority party legislators were thinking. We propose to:
- Restore qualified immunity by providing law enforcement with immunity protection if they acted reasonably while performing their duties.
- Provide clarity and list circumstances under which police can be decertified for undermining public confidence.
- Provide ADA protections to officers getting mental health assessments so they can seek treatment without fear of discipline or losing their jobs. Under current law established by Democrats’ “police accountability” legislation, it’s not clear that officers who seek treatment are afforded the same employment protections as regular citizens.
- The “police accountability” law requires departments to attain accreditation by a national law enforcement standards group, an effort that would prove costly–particularly for smaller towns/police departments. Connecticut needs a state-based set of standards that departments can work toward without paying an outside vendor.
- Expand the ability of municipalities to purchase surplus military equipment provided it is for public safety/disaster purposes.
- Restore the ability for police to request consent searches during motor vehicle stops when there is reasonable suspicion of a crime.