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State Senator

Marilyn Moore

Representing Bridgeport, Monroe & Trumbull

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Moore Votes in Favor of Bill to Crack Down on Witness Threatening

Senator Marilyn Moore (D-Bridgeport) today voted in favor of Senate Bill 980, “An Act Concerning Tampering With a Witness,” which 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.

“We in Bridgeport are no strangers to the harmful effects of witness tampering. Our community still grieves the loss of B. J. Brown, who, along with his mother, was shot to death just two months shy of his ninth birthday after sharing information with police about a crime he witnessed,” Sen. Moore said. “Young B.J. and his mother were both threatened, and the two lived in fear their last days. By strengthening our already existing witness-tampering law, we will send a clear message that we have zero tolerance for such crimes.”

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.

The bill, introduced by Senator Doug McCrory (D-Hartford) on behalf of a constituent, aims 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 submitted the legislation, which passed unanimously in the Senate Wednesday, 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.”

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