Eyewitness Identification Reform
State statute requires law enforcement agencies to adopt procedures for photo and live lineups that comply with minimum standard best practices, including blind administration of lineups and proper filler selection, proper instructions, and confidence statements. The bill also established the Eyewitness Identification Task Force, which released its findings in February 2012. The report can be accessed here. Effective: 2011.
Recording of Interrogations
Under state law law enforcement officials must record all statements made during interrogation of a suspect in a felony investigation. Failure to record results in a presumption that the statements are inadmissible. Effective: 2014.
Post Conviction DNA Testing
State statute dictates that any person convicted and sentenced of a crime may, at any time during their incarceration, petition the sentencing court for post-conviction DNA testing. Effective: 2003.
New Non-DNA Evidence & Changes in Science
In 2018, Connecticut passed a law that allows a person to introduce new non-DNA evidence of innocence anytime after conviction, removing the previous three-year time limit. New non-DNA evidence may include scientific advancements, new guidelines, or expert recantations that undermine forensic evidence used in a conviction. Effective: October 2018.
State statute requires the automatic preservation of all evidence related to an investigation upon the conviction of a person for a capital offense, murder with special circumstances, or any crime where a person was convicted at trial, or upon the order of the court. This evidence will be preserved for the term of a person’s incarceration. Effective: 2003; Amended most recently: 2012.
Connecticut's statute meets the best practices standards outlined by the NIST Technical Working Group on Biological Evidence Preservation.
A wrongfully convicted person may be awarded damages based upon: claims of loss of liberty and enjoyment of life; loss of earnings; loss of earning capacity; loss of familial relationships; loss of reputation; physical pain and suffering; mental pain and suffering; and attorney’s fees and other expenses arising from or related to such person’s arrest, prosecution, conviction and incarceration. Recovery may also include expenses of employment training and counseling, tuition and fees at any state system of higher education and any other services needed to facilitate reintegration into the community. Effective: 2008; Amended most recently: 2016.
The Connecticut Supreme Court ruled that a jury instruction must be given when jailhouse informant witness testimony is going to be used at trial. The instruction directs jurors to assess the jailhouse informant’s testimony with greater scrutiny and details reliability factors that jurors should consider, including: benefits offered or expected in exchange for testimony, criminal history, other cases in which the jailhouse informant testified in exchange for benefits, and whether the jailhouse informant has recanted or changed his/her statements. Effective: 2005; Amended most recently: 2010.
In 2019, the state passed a law that requires additional protections against unreliable jailhouse witness testimony. At the defendant’s request, prosecutors must disclose within 45 days whether they intend to introduce jailhouse witness testimony and if so, must disclose key information about the jailhouse witness and their testimony, including any benefits that were offered or may be offered in exchange for their testimony. The law also requires the court to conduct a pretrial hearing to determine whether any jailhouse witness’s testimony is reliable and admissible in homicide and sexual assault cases. Additionally, the law mandates the implementation of a first-of-its-kind tracking system by requiring each state’s attorney’s office to track information about jailhouse witnesses, including: the substance and use of any jailhouse witness testimony, cooperation agreements with jailhouse witnesses, and any benefits that have or will be provided/offered to jailhouse witnesses. The Office of Policy and Management shall maintain a statewide record of the tracked information. Effective: October 2019.