According to an analysis by the Office of Legal Research, a person affected by hate crimes or violations of civil rights would retain the right to take civil action in court and file a complaint with the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (CHRO) under the law. It also empowers the Attorney General to refer cases to CHRO if necessary, and requests the Office to post information on its website regarding the proper filing of a CHRO complaint.
The bill also provides for a civil penalty of up to $ 2,500 for any hate crime or violation of civil rights proven by clear and convincing evidence.
In a statement in support of the legislation earlier this year, the Connecticut Regional Director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) told the Judiciary Committee lawmakers that “hate crimes are different from other forms of criminal behavior and therefore deserve a separate response. These crimes occur entirely or largely because of the bias of the perpetrator based on personal, proprietary characteristics, including race, religion, national origin, or other characteristics. As a result, such crimes have particular emotional and psychological effects that go beyond the individual victim. In fact, when a prejudice-motivated crime is committed, the victim’s entire community feels harassed, fearful, isolated, and unprotected by the law. “
Ginsburg also noted that while “Connecticut law already allows victims of hate crimes to bring civil damages suits, Senate Bill 363 would simply expand that provision by also allowing the Connecticut Attorney General to investigate hate crime and civil rights abuses.” and, where appropriate, “intervene or take civil action in such cases.” He noted that “this type of remedy is particularly important when victims do not have the resources or ability to seek justice themselves and / or where civil justice is required Remedies in any other way are not sufficient to prevent the unlawful conduct (e.g. affected). “
The Bill allows the Attorney General to investigate, intervene, or seek an injunction or declaratory action, damages, and any other legal remedies provided by law, on behalf of the state, if any person is involved in conduct similar to those described above Violates another person’s civil rights, according to the Office of Legislative Research.
AFL-CIO President Sal Luciano testified on behalf of the bill in March, noting that “more than 20 attorneys general already have a civil rights division in their office. At this time, when we share a heightened awareness of the shortcomings of our society, we need to find the political will to empower the Attorney General in this way. Our weakest residents need and deserve this protection. “