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BILL AS INTRODUCED 2007-2008

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H.871

Introduced by Committee on Judiciary

Date:

Subject:  Judiciary; public safety; municipal and county government

Statement of purpose:  This bill proposes to require: 1) the deputy attorney general and assistant attorneys general to be admitted to practice in Vermont; 2) a candidate for the office of probate judge to be an attorney admitted to practice in Vermont at the time of election; 3) a deputy state’s attorney to be an attorney admitted to practice in Vermont at the time of appointment; and 4) constables and sheriffs to meet minimum training standards established by the Vermont criminal justice training council prior to exercising law enforcement authority.  Elected officials who are in office on the effective date of this act are grandfathered by a delayed effective date.

AN ACT RELATING TO PROFESSIONAL REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL, ASSISTANT ATTORNEYS GENERAL, PROBATE JUDGES, DEPUTY STATE’S ATTORNEYS, CONSTABLES, AND SHERIFFS

It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:


Sec. 1.  3 V.S.A. § 153 is amended to read:

§ 153.  GENERAL POWERS; DEPUTY, ASSISTANTS

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(b)  The attorney general may appoint a deputy attorney general with the approval of the governor, remove him or her at pleasure, and be responsible for his or her acts.  Such deputy shall perform such duties as the attorney general shall direct, and in the absence or disability of the attorney general perform the duties of the attorney general.  In case a vacancy occurs in the office of attorney general, such deputy shall assume and discharge the duties of such office until such vacancy is filled.  Such appointment shall be in writing and be recorded in the office of the secretary of state.  Such deputy attorney general shall take the oath required by the constitution, shall be an informing officer and have the same authority throughout the state in civil or criminal matters as state's attorneys have in their respective counties.  The deputy attorney general shall be an attorney at law admitted to practice before the supreme court of Vermont at the time of appointment.

(c)  The attorney general may appoint such assistant attorneys general and special assistant attorneys general as may be necessary for the proper and efficient performance of his or her department, and with the approval of the governor, fix their pay, remove them at pleasure and be responsible for their acts.  They shall have the same obligations, power, and authority as the deputy attorney general except those relating to the absence or disability of the attorney general and vacancy in the office of attorney general.  Their appointments and the revocation thereof shall be in writing and recorded in the office of the secretary of state.  All assistant attorneys general shall be attorneys at law admitted to practice before the supreme court of Vermont at the time of appointment and special assistant attorneys general shall be attorneys at law admitted to practice before the supreme court of Vermont or another jurisdiction at the time of appointment.

Sec. 2.  4 V.S.A. § 278 is added to read:

§ 278.  QUALIFICATION FOR OFFICE

(a)  To qualify for election to the office of probate judge, a candidate shall be an attorney at law admitted to practice before the supreme court of Vermont at the time of election.

(b)  This section shall not apply to a duly elected probate judge who is sitting in office on July 1, 2008.

Sec. 3.  20 V.S.A. § 2358 is amended to read:

§ 2358.  MINIMUM TRAINING STANDARDS

(a)  Unless waived by the council under standards adopted by rule, and notwithstanding any statute or charter to the contrary, no person shall exercise law enforcement authority:

(1)  as a part-time law enforcement officer without completing a basic training course within a time prescribed by rule of the council; or

(2)  as a full-time law enforcement officer without either:

(A)  completing a basic training course in the time and manner prescribed by the council; or

(B)  having received, before July 1, 1968, permanent full-time appointment as a law enforcement officer, and completing a basic training course before July 1, 1982.

(3)  as a full or part-time law enforcement officer without completing annual in-service training requirements as prescribed by the council.

(b)  All programs required by this section shall be approved by the council. Completion of a program shall be established by a certificate to that effect signed by the executive director of the council.

(c)  For the purposes of this section:

(1)  “Law enforcement officer” means a member of the department of public safety who exercises law enforcement powers, a member of the state police, a municipal police officer, a constable who exercises law enforcement powers, a motor vehicle inspector, an employee of the department of liquor control who exercises law enforcement powers, an investigator employed by the secretary of state, board of medical practice investigators employed by the department of health, attorney general or a state’s attorney, a fish and game warden, a sheriff, or deputy sheriff who exercises law enforcement powers, or a railroad police officer commissioned pursuant to 30 V.S.A. chapter 45, subchapter 8.

(2)  “Full-time law enforcement officer” means a law enforcement officer with duties of a predictable and continuing nature which require more than 32 hours per week and more than 25 weeks per year.

(3)  “Part-time law enforcement officer” means a law enforcement officer who is not employed full time.

(d)  The council may determine whether a particular position is full time or part time.  Any requirements in this section shall be optional for any elected official.

Sec. 4.  24 V.S.A. § 363 is amended to read:

§ 363.  DEPUTY STATE’S ATTORNEYS

A state’s attorney may appoint as many deputy state’s attorneys as necessary for the proper and efficient performance of his or her office, and with the approval of the governor, fix their pay not to exceed that of the state’s attorney making the appointment, and may remove them at pleasure.  Deputy state’s attorneys shall be compensated only for periods of actual performance of the duties of such office.  Deputy state’s attorneys shall be reimbursed for their necessary expenses incurred in connection with their official duties when approved by the state’s attorneys and the commissioner of finance.  Deputy state’s attorneys shall exercise all the powers and duties of the state’s attorneys except the power to designate someone to act in the event of their own disqualification.  Deputy state’s attorneys may not enter upon the duties of the office until they have taken the oath or affirmation of allegiance to the state and the oath of office required by the constitution, and until such oath together with their appointment is filed for record with the county clerk.  In case of a vacancy in the office of state’s attorney, the appointment of the deputy shall expire upon the appointment of a new state’s attorney.  All deputy state’s attorneys shall be attorneys at law admitted to practice before the supreme court of Vermont at the time of appointment.

Sec. 5.  24 V.S.A. § 1936a is amended to read:

§ 1936a.  CONSTABLES; POWERS AND QUALIFICATIONS

(a)  A town may vote at a special or annual town meeting:

(1)  to prohibit constables from exercising any law enforcement authority; or

(2)  to prohibit constables from exercising any law enforcement authority without having successfully completed a course of training under chapter 151 of Title 20.

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Sec. 6.  EFFECTIVE DATE

Secs. 3 and 5 of this act shall take effect July 1, 2010.



Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont


www.leg.state.vt.us