May 17, 2017

Sen. McCrory’s Bill to Crack Down on Witness Threatening Passes Senate on Unanimous & Bipartisan Vote

A bill that state Senator Doug McCrory (D-Hartford) introduced on behalf of a constituent to create a tough new penalty for physically threatening or harming a witness in a court trial passed the state Senate today on a unanimous and bipartisan ‘consent’ vote and now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Sen. McCrory’s bill, Senate Bill 980, “An Act Concerning Tampering With a Witness,”
makes it a Class B felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison to “physically harm or threaten to physically harm” a witness or a third person who is involved in a court proceeding.

The bill would put threatening or harming a witness on par with crimes like manslaughter, rape, burglary, robbery, money laundering, and human trafficking, which are already Class B felonies punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

Currently in state law, it is already a Class C felony (punishable by up to 10 years in prison) to induce a witness to testify falsely, to withhold testimony, to elude the legal summons process, or to make a witness unavailable to testify in any proceeding.

Sen. McCrory submitted the legislation after a constituent of his was verbally threatened, and her grandson physically assaulted, after the grandson agreed to testify at a murder trial in Hartford.

“There are good people in Connecticut who make a very tough decision to testify in a criminal trial, and those people should be protected if they decide to do the right thing,” Sen. McCrory said. “I think the stepped-up penalties in this new bill send a message to lawbreakers that we take our court process seriously, and we’re not going to put up with any threats to folks who are doing the right thing.”