SENATE DOCKET, NO. 1408        FILED ON: 1/17/2019

SENATE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 1041

 

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts

_________________

PRESENTED BY:

James T. Welch

_________________

To the Honorable Senate and House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in General
Court assembled:

The undersigned legislators and/or citizens respectfully petition for the adoption of the accompanying bill:

An Act to enhance the rights of crime victims in the Commonwealth.

_______________

PETITION OF:

 

Name:

District/Address:

 

James T. Welch

Hampden

 

Todd M. Smola

1st Hampden

1/31/2019

David Henry Argosky LeBoeuf

17th Worcester

2/1/2019

Daniel J. Hunt

13th Suffolk

2/4/2019

Diana DiZoglio

First Essex

2/8/2019

Joan B. Lovely

Second Essex

2/19/2019

Joanne M. Comerford

Hampshire, Franklin and Worcester

9/11/2019

 



SENATE DOCKET, NO. 1408        FILED ON: 1/17/2019

SENATE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 1041

By Mr. Welch, a petition (accompanied by bill, Senate, No. 1041) of James T. Welch, Todd M. Smola, David Henry Argosky LeBoeuf, Daniel J. Hunt and other members of the General Court for legislation to enhance the rights of crime victims in the Commonwealth.  The Judiciary.

 

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts

 

_______________

In the One Hundred and Ninety-First General Court
(2019-2020)

_______________

 

An Act to enhance the rights of crime victims in the Commonwealth.

 

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:
 

SECTION 1.  Section 1 of chapter 258B, as appearing in the 2016 Official Edition, is hereby amended by inserting after the word “stepparent” in line 16 the following word:- grandparent,

SECTION 2. Said Section 1 of chapter 258B, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by inserting after the words “two hundred and fifty-eight C,” in line 17 the following words:- person with whom the victim lived and in a relationship similar to marriage,

SECTION 3. Said Section 1 of chapter 258B, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by inserting, before the definition of “Prosecutor” the following definition:-

“Probation officer”, an associate probation officer, probation officer, assistant chief probation officer, chief probation officer, regional probation supervisor, statewide probation supervisor, victim service coordinator, the deputy commissioner of field services, and any other personnel whom the commissioner of probation shall direct.

SECTION 4. Chapter 258B is hereby further amended by striking out section 2, as so appearing, and inserting in place thereof the following section:-

Section 2. Services provided in this chapter shall be afforded to victims and family members of violent crimes, including homicide and sexual assault, to the fullest extent possible in matters that have not resulted in complaints or indictments have not been issued.

Furthermore, prosecutors shall not be precluded from providing, subject to appropriation, services under this chapter to any natural person or family member of such natural person who suffers direct or threatened physical, emotional or financial harm as the result of the commission or attempted commission of a crime or delinquency offense in which complaints or indictments have not been issued.             

SECTION 5. Subsection (l) of Section 3 of said chapter 258B, as so appearing, is hereby amended by striking the word “A” in line 91 and inserting, in place thereof, the following word:- B

SECTION 6. Said section 3 of said chapter 258B, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by striking out subsection (p) and inserting in place thereof the following subsection:-

(p) for victims, to be present and heard at sentencing or the disposition of the case against the defendant. If a victim is unavailable or not present at the time the defendant pleads or is found guilty, delinquent, or admits to sufficient facts, the court shall delay sentencing by no less than one business day to afford victims the opportunity to be present and or heard. The court may inquire of the prosecutor, on the record, whether the victim has indicated their desire to not be present or heard at sentencing. Victims have the right to be heard through an oral and written victim impact statement at sentencing or the disposition of the case against the defendant, even if there is admission to sufficient facts, the sentence is mandatory, or there is an agreed upon plea, about the effects of the crime on the victim and as to a recommended sentence, pursuant to section four B of chapter two hundred and seventy-nine, and to be heard at any other time deemed appropriate by the court. The court shall consider said victim impact statement in disposition of the case against the defendant.  The victim also has a right to submit the victim impact statement to the parole board for inclusion in its records regarding the perpetrator of the crime;

SECTION 7. Subsection (t) of said section 3 of said chapter 258B, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by inserting after the word “custody” in line 144 the following words:- including a release on bail,

SECTION 8. Said section 3 of said chapter 258B, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by inserting the following sections:-

(x) for victims, to be notified by the prosecutor that they have the right to provide the sex offender registry board with a written impact statement for inclusion in the convicted sex offender’s classification determination pursuant to section 178K(1)(k) of chapter 6. Upon the specific request of the victim to the sex offender registry board, the board shall inform the victim of the sex offender’s (i) registration and classification status and (ii) the addresses of where the sex offender lives, works, and attends an institution of higher learning regardless of the classification level and registration status of the offender.

(y) for victims, to be notified by the probation officer if an offender has a violation of probation hearing, any sentencing after a finding of a violation of probation, and any motion to modify the sentence or disposition of probation, including a transfer of supervision or a motion to terminate.  This section shall apply to victims (i) named in the complaint or indictment for which the offender is on probation or (ii) named in any charge that was included as part of the sentence on the case.

(z) for victims, to be heard through an oral or written statement after a finding of a violation of probation, and any motion to modify the sentence or disposition, including a motion to terminate. This section shall apply to victims (i) named in the complaint or indictment for which the offender is on probation or (ii) named in any charge that was included as part of the sentence on the case.

SECTION 9. Section 7 of said chapter 258B, as so appearing, is hereby amended by inserting after the words “district attorney,” in line 1 the following words:- probation service, parole board, sex offender registry board, department of correction, department of youth services, sheriffs,

SECTION 10. Chapter 279, as appearing the in 2016 Official Edition, is hereby amended by striking section 4B and inserting the following section:-

Section 4B. Before disposition in any case where a defendant has been found guilty of any felony or any crime against a victim as defined by chapter 258B, the district attorney shall give the victim actual notice of the time and place of sentencing and of the victim's right to make a statement to the court, orally or in writing at the victim's option, as to the impact of the crime and as to a recommended sentence. Before disposition, the court shall allow any victim who elects to make such an oral statement the opportunity to do so in the presence of the defendant. Before disposition, the district attorney shall file any such written statement with the court and shall make it available to the defendant.

If the victim is unable to make an oral or written statement because of his mental, emotional, or physical incapacity or his age, his attorney or a designated family member shall be provided the notice and the opportunity to make a statement prescribed in this paragraph.

Before said disposition the office of the district attorney shall cause to be prepared a written statement as to the impact of the crime on the victim, which shall be filed with the court as part of the presentence report and made available to the defendant. The statement shall include the following: (1) the name of the victim; (2) documentation of the net financial loss, if any, suffered by the victim or a family member as a result of the crime; (3) in cases where the crime has had an impact on the victim's personal welfare or family relationship or has had a psychological impact on the victim or his family, a statement of such impact.

The court shall allow the defendant to have the opportunity to rebut the victim's oral or written statement and the district attorney's written statement if the court decides to rely upon such statements or parts thereof in imposing sentence.

The court shall consider said victim impact statement in disposition of the case against the defendant. 

No sentence shall be invalidated because of failure to comply with the provisions of this section. This section shall not be construed to create any cause of action or any right of appeal on behalf of any person.

SECTION 11. There shall be a bail notification special commission established pursuant to section 2A of chapter 4 of the General Laws, referred to in this section as the commission. The commission shall evaluate policies and procedures related to the current bail system and recommend improvements or changes related to notification services, pursuant to section 3(t) of chapter 258B, for victims and family members of crime, as defined by chapter 258B.

(a) The commission shall consist of 8 members: 1 of whom shall be the executive director of the massachusetts office for victim assistance or designee, whom shall serve as chair; 1 of whom shall be a member of the house of representatives appointed by the speaker of the house of representatives; 1 of whom shall be a member of the senate appointed by the president of the senate; 1 of whom shall be the chief justice of the trial court or designee; 1 of whom shall be the secretary of the executive office of public safety and security or designee; 1 of whom shall be the commissioner of probation service or designee; 1 of whom shall be the president of the massachusetts chiefs of police association or designee; 1 of whom shall be the president of the massachusetts sheriffs association or designee; 1 of whom shall be the president of the massachusetts district attorneys association or designee; and no more than 2 of whom shall be crime victims appointed by the victim and witness assistance board.

(b) The commission shall submit its final report to the governor, the house and senate chairs of the joint committee on the judiciary and the house and senate chairs of the joint committee on public safety and homeland security not later than December 31, 2019 which shall include: (i) an evaluation of the current practices relative to bail notification to victims and family members when an offender is released from custody; (ii) an evaluation of what shall constitute appropriate notification to victims and family members and the best practice in which to provide notification (iii) a policy recommendation to ensure appropriate notification services are provided to victims and family members dependent on the custodial authority in which an offender is held; (iv) any proposed technology or multi-disciplinary system recommendations to provide notification services, including contracting with state or non-state entities to develop implementation plans and estimated costs to the commonwealth; and (v) any additional proposed policy, regulatory, or statutory changes concerning notification services for victims and family members within the pretrial system.