Posted on April 29, 2022
HARTFORD—In a Republican-driven effort state Rep. Dave Yaccarino (R-87) on Thursday supported compromise legislation aimed at curbing Connecticut’s juvenile crime crisis, laying a foundation for more work on improving public safety in communities where residents say they’ve felt threatened by a shocking escalation in the seriousness of crimes committed by young people
“This is good legislation which takes strides in addressing this serious problem of juvenile crime,” Rep. Yaccarino said. “Increases in crime have affected every community across the state and we must continue to take decisive action to prioritize the safety of our residents.”
Last summer, Republicans—and the public—increased pleas for reform after a New Britain resident out for a jog was killed by a teenager driving a stolen vehicle. That tragedy occurred on the heels of many other headline-grabbing crimes, including youths who rammed a police cruiser in Tolland and a teenager in Hartford who was arrested twice in two different stolen cars within five hours. In the ensuing months many other crimes committed by teenagers shocked residents, from break-ins to carjackings.
Among the provisions of H.B. 5417 are:
- Allows officers to access the past 90 days of juvenile records at the point of stop;
- Requires arraignments within 5 days and screening/assessment for services within 2 weeks of arraignment;
- Expands the 6-hour hold limit by two hours when an officer is in process on a detention order or attempting to make contact with a parent/guardian;
- Requires judges to articulate the reason for denying an application for detention within 48 hours;
The legislation passed through House in a 129 to 17 vote.
During the House of Representatives debate, Rep. Yaccarino joined Republicans in contending that the bill could have done more.
Among Republican proposals that were not included in the legislation:
- Require juvenile matters be adjudicated in the GA where the offense occurred;
- Expanded automatic transfer to adult court for all serious juvenile offenses;
- Prohibited auto insurance carriers from canceling a policy solely because a policyholder’s car was stolen;
- Require next-day arraignments and immediate assessment for services;
“I do not believe that this issue is going away in the state legislature,” Rep. Yaccarino said. “I appreciate our Democrat colleagues taking up these provisions, but we must continue to fight for juvenile justice for the benefit of our children, their families, and all residents.”
The bill awaits action in the state senate.