The mandates are established by the following state statutes:
The decision to arrest and charge shall not:
In 2011, the Connecticut Legislature enacted Public Act 11-157. Section 21 of that Act amended the definition of “family violence crime” so that it excludes a “delinquent act as defined in CGS §46b-120. That means that when a child (an unemancipated person under the age of 18) commits a crime of violence involving a family or household member, they would not be deemed to have committed a “family violence crime.” Since it is the commission of a “family violence crime” that triggers the mandates, the mandates associated with family violence crimes would not apply to juveniles.
As an example, if an officer responds to a fight with injuries between two brothers, age 15 and 17, that would be considered a fight between to children that happen to be related and the law enforcement response appropriate to such a juvenile incident would be implemented, regardless of the relationship between the boys. This would not be a “family violence crime.”
Section 9 of PA 11-157, effective on October 1, 2011, also excluded violations of CGS §53a-222 (Violation of conditions of release in the first degree), §53a-222a (Violation of conditions of release in the second degree), §53a-223 (Criminal violation of a protective order) and §53a-223a (Criminal violation of a standing criminal protective order) from the list of offenses that a child (age 16 and under) can be convicted as a delinquent. Section 12 of the Act, effective on July 1, 2012, applied the same changes to 17 year olds. What that means is that children under the age of 18 should not be issued orders such as a “standing criminal protective order” or any “conditions of release” or “protective orders” by the police.
The Conditions of Release – Family Violence form (JD-CR-146) was revised in March 2013 so the new form says, in the “Instructions to Police Officer” at the top of the form, “Do not use this form if the defendant is a juvenile.” There is still a box for the signature of a “Parent/Guardian if minor” but that should be ignored as it was meant to apply when there is an order issued in an adult court case such as a civil or family relations case.
That being said, if a person was issued such an order by the court, chances are that it was issued by the adult court, not the juvenile court, in connection with a case being heard in the adult court. CGS §46b-120(4) defines a “delinquent act” as including “the violation of any order of the Superior Court in a delinquency proceeding by a child, including a child who has attained the age of eighteen.” Therefore only violations of juvenile court orders are juvenile court matters. The violation of an adult court order would be handled by the adult court.
The options available to a police officer upon arrest of a child for a delinquent act are set forth in CGS §46b-133 and they are:
The statute does not permit the police to set any conditions on the release of a child. So the bottom line is that a violation of a valid conditions of release order, if it were properly issued, is an adult court matter and would be handled as any other adult matter.
A child that is arrested for an incident of violence involving a family or household member or a person in a dating relationship, or even a fellow student or neighbor, may be ordered by the juvenile court judge to have no contact with the victim. Such an order would be deemed to be an “order of the Superior Court in a delinquency proceeding” and would be enforceable. Because of this, a police officer should include in the police report any recommendation that the court consider such a “no contact” order when the officer thinks that such an order would be appropriate.
Having said that the domestic violence laws do not apply to juvenile offenders, that doesn’t mean that police officers would ignore domestic violence cases involving a child that commits an act of violence involving family or household members. It only means that the mandates (mandated arrest, next day court appearance and the various domestic violence related orders mentioned above) do not apply.
Faced with a domestic violence situation, the officer would still exercise sound discretion and judgment when responding to the situation. If the arrest of a child should be made, based on the facts and circumstances and the officer’s training and experience, then an arrest would be made. The arrest would be made because that is the appropriate law enforcement response, not because it was mandated by the domestic violence laws. If removal of the juvenile from the home was necessary, again, based on the facts and circumstances, not just because it was a domestic violence situation, then an alternative placement would be sought for the juvenile or an Order to Detain would be requested and the juvenile would be placed in a juvenile detention center.
Since the next day court appearance is not mandated in juvenile cases, unless a specific court location has requested that such cases be heard on the next available court date, the officer has some discretion when setting the court date. If the officer determines that the situation requires a next day court appearance, the best way to guarantee that would be to place the child in a juvenile detention center. Keep in mind that the police must first obtain an arrest warrant (new form number JD-JM-176) or an Order to Detain (new form number JD-JM-190) before bringing any juvenile to a detention center, regardless of the seriousness of the charges. (See PA 11-154) The law requires that such a juvenile be presented before a judge the next business day following the arrest.
If not placed in detention, generally the court date would be the next day that the court hears delinquency cases that is at least five business days but not more than ten business days from the issuance of the summons.
There are some situations where the detention of the child is not necessary but at the same time the situation is such that a five to ten business day delay in bringing the matter to the attention of the court is not in everyone’s best interests. In those cases, an officer could issue a summons for the next day that the court hears delinquency cases and then they should call the court and inform them of the date and then immediately hand deliver the necessary paperwork to the court so they can process it in time for court. This procedure imposes a substantial burden on the court staff so it should be used infrequently and only when the situation requires it. Officers should check with the Probation Supervisor or the Clerk at the local juvenile court to make sure the staff would be able to handle such a procedure and to see if they suggest any other alternatives.
A listing of the staff of the juvenile courts can be viewed by clicking here.
Some confusion has been caused by the enactment of Public Act 12-114 Section 2 of that Act expanded the definition of “family or household member” by eliminating the age restriction on people (1) related by blood or marriage or (2) living together or having lived together in the past by adding the language “regardless of the age of such person.” Prior law limited the former to people age 18 or older and the latter to people age 16 or older. The effect was to include younger people in the category of “family or household member” that could be the victim of a family violence crime. What PA 12-114 did not do is amend the definition of “family violence crime” in any way that would make it apply to delinquent acts committed by a child.
Even though the mandates associated with a “family violence crime” do not apply when the offender is under age 18 and not emancipted, as discussed above, CGS §46b-38d still requires that a Family Violence Offense Report (DPS-230-C) be completed whether an arrest is made or not. The completed form must and sent to the Crimes Analysis Unit of the State Police and, if an arrest is made, also to the state’s attorney “where an arrest has been made.”
This report is required to be completed in juvenile cases because it is required to be completed by any “peace officer who responds to a family violence incident.” This reference to a “family violence incident” has a broader meaning than reference to a “family violence crime.”
The term “family violence” is defined in CGS §46b-38a(1) and says:
"“Family violence” means an incident resulting in physical harm, bodily injury or assault, or an act of threatened violence that constitutes fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury or assault, including, but not limited to, stalking or a pattern of threatening, between family or household members. Verbal abuse or argument shall not constitute family violence unless there is present danger and the likelihood that physical violence will occur."
Unlike the definition of “family violence crime” in CGS §46b-38a(3) that specifically excludes “delinquent acts,” the term “family violence,” and therefore the term “family violence incident,” would apply in a situation where the offender is under the age of 18 and not emancipated.
Therefore, even though an unemancipated person under the age of 18 cannot commit a “family violence crime,” they can be responsible for a “family violence incident.” In that case, the officer must complete and submit a Family Violence Offense Report. That report should be sent to the Crimes Analysis Unit of the State Police and, if an arrest of a child is made for some delinquent act, it should also be attached to the police report sent to the juvenile court where the case will be heard which is generally the juvenile court serving the child’s town of residence. Click here for a listing of juvenile courts based on a child's town of residence.
For a quick reference table of police mandated actions when handling family violence cases, click here.