PREVIOUS CURRENT ANNOUNCEMENTS:

  • The best practices for interviewing a juvenile suspect in a case involving serious charges that could result in the case being transferred to the adult criminal court:
    • The mandates contained in CGS section 46b-137 for interviewing juveniles should still be followed even though they do not apply if the case is transferred.
    • Click here to download a Word document providing more details on this issue.
  • The latest version of the protocol to follow with DCF when a juvenile is arrested and:
    • the police are unable to release the juvenile to a responsible adult or agency,
    • the officer determines that releasing the juvenile to their own custody is not appropriate,
    • the officer determines that the grounds for an Order to Detain (JD-JM-190), as set forth in CGS section 46b-133(c) as amended by PA 16-147, do not apply, OR
    • a judge of the Superior Court declined to issue an Order to Detain

    is found here.

  • The latest version of the protocol to follow with DCF when a juvenile is arrested and:
    • the police are unable to release the juvenile to a responsible adult or agency,
    • the officer determines that releasing the juvenile to their own custody is not appropriate,
    • the officer determines that the grounds for an Order to Detain (JD-JM-190), as set forth in CGS section 46b-133(c) as amended by PA 16-147, do not apply, OR
    • a judge of the Superior Court declined to issue an Order to Detain

    is found here.

    The previous version appeared to require a judge to deny a request for an Order to Detain before the protocol could be invoked. This revision makes it clear that the protocol could be invoked if the officer determines that the grounds for an Order to Detain do not exist without first having a judge deny the request.

  • The move of the Torrington Juvenile Court has been completed. The new address is 50 Field Street in Torrington 06790. The new phone/fax numbers are:

      Clerk: 860-626-2400
      Fax: 860-626-2401
      Probation: 860-626-2140
      Prosecutor: 860-626-2110
      Fax: 860-626-2411

  • Housing a 16 or 17-year-old, charged with adult charges, that is unable to post the required bond.

    Following a review by the Department of Correction, it has been determined that if the police arrest a 16 or 17-year-old on adult charges, such as failure to appear or other offenses that are considered to be adult charges rather than delinquency offenses, and the youth is unable to post the required bond, and the police are unable to hold them in their lockup pending a court appearance, the youth should be brought to the Manson Youth Institute in Cheshire rather than a local Community Correctional Center or a Juvenile Detention Center. That information came from Attorney Nicole Anker, Director of Legal Affairs for the DOC.

  • Handout Information from the 2017 John M. Bailey Legal Update Seminar.

A number of police agencies have been dealing with "sexting" cases over the past few weeks prompting me to write the following piece about the sexting statute and when it applies and when it doesn't.

In 2010, the legislature enacted CGS section 53a-196h to make the practice known as "sexting" a misdemeanor rather than felony in certain limited and specific situations. Prior to that statute, the possession or transmission of a visual depiction (photograph, film, videotape, picture or computer-generated image or picture) of a child under the age of 16 engaged in sexually explicit conduct was considered to be "child pornography" and was a felony. While not condoning the conduct, the legislature determined that the conduct, when involving young teens, should not be punished as a felony.

To qualify as misdemeanor "sexting," the person appearing in and sending the visual depiction has to be age 13, 14 or 15 and the recipient has to be age 13, 14, 15, 16 or 17. This is a very limited set of circumstances.

So if a 13 year old sends a picture of themselves engaged in sexually explicit conduct to a 16 year old, that would be "sexting" for the 13 year old and for the 16 year old. If the 16 year old sends the picture to someone else however, or posts it online, the 16 year old could then be charged with promoting child pornography, a felony, because they are not sending a picture of themselves.

For all of these situations however, the visual depiction must show a person under the age of 16 engaged in "sexually explicit conduct." Such conduct is defined in CGS section 53a-193(14) that says:

"Sexually explicit conduct" means actual or simulated (A) sexual intercourse, including genital-genital, oral-genital, anal-genital or oral-anal physical contact, whether between persons of the same or opposite sex, or with an artificial genital, (B) bestiality, (C) masturbation, (D) sadistic or masochistic abuse, or (E) lascivious exhibition of the genitals or pubic area of any person.

That means that not every picture of a naked or partially naked teen meets the definition. If the depiction does not display "sexually explicit conduct" then the charge of "child pornography" or "sexting" would not apply. The picture of a naked butt or what some have described as "just boobs" and nothing more would not qualify as "sexually explicit conduct" and therefore not "child pornography" or "sexting."

Such pictures might constitute "obscenity" but that is a difficult concept to define because the standards are not clearly defined. The statute says: "Whether a material or performance is obscene shall be judged by ordinary adults applying contemporary community standards."

In October 2015, PA 15-213 was enacted creating a new crime of Unlawful dissemination of an intimate image. It made it a Class A misdemeanor to:

For purposes of this subsection, "disseminate" means to sell, give, provide, lend, trade, mail, deliver, transfer, publish, distribute, circulate, present, exhibit, advertise or otherwise offer.

There are certain exceptions listed in the statute that should be considered before charging a person with this offense.

The Public Act became CGS section 53a-189c.

Again this year, a legislative proposal has been submitted to eliminate the minimum age for the "sexting" statute to apply. I don't think the legislature ever thought that 10, 11 or 12 year olds would be engaging in this behavior but I have seen a number of such cases in court and at juvenile review boards.

If you get involved with a sexting case, you might find it useful to look at the BEFORE YOU TEXT! program. It is designed to teach teens about the dangers and consequences of sexting. It has been used by a number of juvenile review boards and other programs.

Effective on January 1, 2017 there will be a significant change in the law impacting when a juvenile may be placed in a Juvenile Detention Center. Generally, the only juveniles that may be detained will be:

The fact that there is a strong probability that the juvenile will run away prior to the court hearing or disposition, a strong probability that the juvenile will commit or attempt to commit other offenses injurious to the juvenile prior to the court disposition, or probable cause to believe that the child's continued residence in the child's home pending disposition poses a risk to the juvenile because of the serious and dangerous nature of the act or acts the juvenile is alleged to have committed, will no longer be reasons to seek the detention of a juvenile.

JD-JM-176Juvenile Arrest Warrant Application
JD-JM-190Order to Detain Application

For further information on this and other changes, see the Police Legal Update Training - 2016.

The Judicial Branch closed the Danbury Juvenile Court on October 1, 2016. They have cancelled their plans to close the Torrington and Stamford Juvenile Courts at this point. These two courts are expected to remain open.

With closing of the Danbury Juvenile Court, cases from Bethel, Danbury, Newtown, Redding and Ridgefield will be handled in the Bridgeport Juvenile Court.

Cases from Bridgewater, Brookfield, New Fairfield, New Milford, Roxbury and Sherman will be handled in the Waterbury Juvenile Court.

The interactive venue determination tool below has been updated to reflect the closing of the Danbury Juvenile Court and will continue to be updated if there are any other court closings or changes in assigned venue.

  • Determine proper juvenile court based on child's town of residence and day of the week to put on the Summons