The Vermont Statutes Online

Title 13: Crimes and Criminal Procedure

Chapter 167: CRIME VICTIMS

 

Sub-Chapter 1: Compensation To Victims Of Crime

§ 5351. Definitions

As used in this chapter:

(1) "Board" means the victims compensation board established under this chapter.

(2) "Dependent" means the victim's spouse or a person who is legally dependent for support upon a victim.

(3) "Crime" includes delinquent acts and an act of terrorism, as defined in section 2331 of Title 18, United States Code, committed outside the United States against a resident of this state.

(4) "Injury" means actual bodily harm or pregnancy, or emotional harm resulting from the crime.

(5) "Pecuniary loss" means, in the case of a victim, the amount of medical or medically-related expenses, loss of wages, and any other expenses which the board feels became necessary as a direct result of the crime. Medical or medically-related expenses may include, but are not limited to, the costs of individual or family psychological, psychiatric or mental health counseling and the costs of replacing or repairing eyeglasses, hearing aids, dentures or any prosthetic devices which were taken, lost or destroyed during the commission of the crime. In the case of a dependent, "pecuniary loss" means the cost of psychological, psychiatric or mental health counseling, funeral expenses for the victim and upon demonstration of financial hardship, temporary living expenses.

(6) "Unreimbursed pecuniary loss" means a pecuniary loss:

(A) which is not covered by medical, hospitalization or disability insurance or workers' compensation; and

(B) which has not been ordered by the court to be restored to the victim or dependent by the person who caused the loss; or

(C) which has been ordered by the court to be restored to the victim or dependent but has not been paid by the person who caused the loss.

(7) "Victim" means:

(A) a person who sustains injury or death as a direct result of the commission or attempted commission of a crime; or

(B) an intervenor who is injured or killed in an attempt to assist the person described in subdivision (A) of this subdivision (7) or the police; or

(C) a surviving immediate family member of a homicide victim, including a spouse, domestic partner, parent, sibling, child, grandparent, or other survivor who may suffer severe emotional harm as a result of the victim's death as determined on a case-by-case basis in the discretion of the board; or

(D) a resident of this state who is injured or killed as the result of a crime committed outside the United States.

(8) "Profits from crimes" means:

(A) any property obtained through or income generated from the commission of a crime in which the defendant was convicted;

(B) any property obtained by or income generated from the sale, conversion, or exchange of proceeds of a crime, including any gain realized by such sale, conversion, or exchange;

(C) any property that the defendant obtained or any income generated as a result of having committed the crime, including any assets obtained through the use of unique knowledge acquired during the commission of or in preparation for the commission of the crime, as well as any property obtained or income generated from the sale, conversion, or exchange of such property and any gain realized by such sale, conversion, or exchange; and

(D) any property defendant obtained or any income generated from the sale of tangible property the value of which is increased by the notoriety gained from the conviction of an offense by the person accused or convicted of the crime. (Added 1989, No. 214 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1991, No. 107, § 2; 1995, No. 22, § 1; 1997, No. 61, §§ 56a, 56b; 2003, No. 92 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. April 13, 2004; 2007, No. 173 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 2009, No. 55, § 1, eff. June 1, 2009.)


§ 5352. Victims compensation board

(a) A victims compensation board is established for the purpose of awarding compensation to victims of crimes and to their dependents. The board shall consist of five members appointed by the governor as follows: one physician licensed to practice in this state, one attorney admitted to practice in this state, one individual who is a crime victim and two public members. Each member shall serve for a term of three years. A vacancy shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointment for the remainder of the unexpired term.

(b) The board shall function independently. In order to maximize eligibility for federal reimbursement, the center for crime victims services shall coordinate the victims compensation program with other programs compensating victims of crime including offender restitution and counseling costs for victims of child sexual abuse.

(c) The board shall meet at least monthly to review and determine applications. Members of the board are entitled to compensation and expenses as provided under 32 V.S.A. § 1010.

(d) The board shall adopt rules under chapter 25 of Title 3 necessary to carry out the purposes of this chapter, including rules relating to evaluation and determination of awards under this chapter.

(e) The board may employ such staff as needed to carry out the provisions of this chapter. Staff retained by the board shall not be considered state employees. (Added 1989, No. 214 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1991, No. 263 (Adj. Sess.), § 3.)


§ 5353. Application for compensation

(a) A victim or a dependent of a victim shall, upon application, be eligible for compensation if:

(1) a law enforcement official has filed a report concluding that a crime was committed which resulted in the injury or death of the victim; and

(2) the crime was committed in this state; or

(3) the victim is a Vermont resident, the state in which the crime occurred does not have an eligible crime victim's compensation program and the applicant would have been eligible for compensation under this chapter if the crime had been committed in this state; or

(4) the victim is a Vermont resident who is injured or killed by an act of terrorism outside the United States, to the extent that compensation is not otherwise available under federal law.

(b) Victims of crimes subject to federal jurisdiction, and their dependents, shall be eligible for compensation on the same basis as victims of state crimes.

(c) The application for compensation shall be signed by the applicant and shall contain at least the following information which shall be provided subject to the penalties of perjury:

(1) A description of the date, nature and circumstances of the crime.

(2) A complete financial statement, including pecuniary losses and the extent to which the applicant has been or may be indemnified for these expenses from any source.

(3) When appropriate, a statement indicating the extent of any disability resulting from the injury.

(4) When reasonably available, copies of all law enforcement reports and reports from all health care providers who treated or examined the victim at the time of or after the crime or who treated or examined the dependent.

(5) The applicant's Social Security number for the purpose of making cash payment to the applicant in accordance with section 5356 of this title.

(d) In any case in which the person entitled to compensation under this chapter is a minor or is mentally incompetent or unable to apply because of his or her physical condition, the application may be made on the person's behalf by a parent, spouse, guardian or other person authorized to administer the estate.

(e) In any case in which a victim otherwise eligible for compensation under this chapter dies without making an application, the board may, upon application, award medical or medically-related expenses to the victim's estate.

(f) The board may award funeral expenses to the next of kin of a deceased victim who is not survived by a dependent.

(g) A victim or a dependent of a victim shall be eligible for compensation for pecuniary losses sustained as a result of a crime which occurred after July 1, 1987 if the losses occurred on or after July 1, 1990.

(h) A victim who is under the age of 18 at the time the application for compensation is filed shall be eligible for compensation for pecuniary losses sustained as a result of a crime, no matter when the crime occurred, if the losses occurred on or after July 1, 1990.

(i) A victim shall be eligible for compensation for pecuniary losses sustained as a result of a crime which occurred before July 1, 1987 if at the time of application the case is being investigated or is being prosecuted. (Added 1989, No. 214 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1991, No. 107, §§ 1, 3, 5; 1997, No. 147 (Adj. Sess.), § 53; 2005, No. 162 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. Jan. 1, 2007; 2007, No. 173 (Adj. Sess.), § 5.)


§ 5354. Review of applications

(a) The board shall review applications to determine whether compensation should be awarded under this chapter.

(b) If, in the opinion of the board, a report by an impartial medical expert relating to the applicant's health care history, the applicant's condition after the injury or the cause of the victim's death would be of material assistance, the board may order such an examination and report, at the board's expense.

(c) In making its determination, the board shall consider all relevant information presented to the board. (Added 1989, No. 214 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)


§ 5355. Approval or rejection of application

(a) After review of the evidence relevant to the application for compensation, the board shall approve the application if a preponderance of the evidence shows that as a direct result of the crime an injury occurred which resulted in a pecuniary loss to the victim or the dependent.

(b) An application for assistance shall be denied if any of the following apply:

(1) The application was not made within the period of time permitted for commencing prosecution of the crime. The board may extend the time for filing for good cause shown.

(2) The victim violated a criminal law of this state which caused or contributed to the victim's injuries or death.

(c) If the board intends to deny an application, the board shall send the applicant written notice of the decision personally or by certified mail. The notice shall include a statement of the reasons for the action and shall advise the applicant that the applicant may file a petition with the board for review of its preliminary decision within 30 days of the date on which the notice is mailed. After the hearing, the board shall affirm or reverse the preliminary denial, explaining the reasons therefor in writing.

(d) The decision of the board shall be final. (Added 1989, No. 214 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1991, No. 107, § 4.)


§ 5356. Amount of compensation

(a) If the application is approved, the board shall authorize cash payments, not to exceed $10,000.00, to or on behalf of the applicant, equal to the unreimbursed pecuniary loss directly resulting from the injury or death of the victim. Applications approved in any fiscal year shall not exceed funds appropriated and authorized in that fiscal year for this purpose.

(b) Funds available to the board for payments include fees collected and deposited by the court into the victims' compensation fund as described in section 7282 of this title and monies from inmate labor contributions from the prison industries enhancement program or from any other source.

(c) The board may reimburse health care facilities and health care providers as defined in section 9402 of Title 18 at 70 percent of the billed charges for compensation claims for uninsured crime victims who do not qualify for the hospital's patient assistance program, Medicaid, or Medicare. The health care facility or health care provider shall not bill any balance to the uninsured crime victim. (Added 1989, No. 214 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1995, No. 63, § 53; 2007, No. 173 (Adj. Sess.), § 2.)


§ 5357. Subrogation; lien; disposition of proceeds

The state shall be subrogated to the rights of the victim or dependent to whom cash payments are granted to the extent of the cash payments granted, less the amount of any fine imposed by the court on the perpetrator of the crime. Such subrogation rights shall be against the perpetrator of the crime or any person liable for the pecuniary loss. (Added 1989, No. 214 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)


§ 5358. Duties of law enforcement agency

Every law enforcement agency shall inform victims of crimes and their dependents of the provisions of this chapter and provide application forms to persons who desire to seek compensation. The board shall provide application forms and other information which local law enforcement agencies may require to comply with this section. (Added 1989, No. 214 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)


§ 5358a. Application information; confidentiality

(a) All documents reviewed by the Victims Compensation Board for purposes of approving an application for compensation shall be confidential and shall not be disclosed without the consent of the victim except as provided in this section and subsection 7043(c) of this title.

(b) For the purpose of requesting restitution, the amount of assistance provided by the Victims Compensation Board shall be established by copies of bills submitted to the Victims Compensation Board reflecting the amount paid by the Board and stating that the services for which payment was made were for uninsured pecuniary losses.

(c) The following shall be confidential and shall be redacted by the Victims Compensation Board for any purpose including restitution: the victim's residential address, telephone number, and other contact information and the victim's Social Security number. In cases involving stalking, sexual offenses, and domestic violence, the following information shall also be confidential and shall not be disclosed by the Victims Compensation Board for any purpose, including restitution, absent a court order:

(1) the victim's employer's name, telephone number, address, or any other contact information; and

(2) the victim's medical or mental health provider's name, telephone number, address, or any other contact information. (Added 2011, No. 145 (Adj. Sess.), § 6, eff. May 15, 2012.)


 

Sub-Chapter 2: Center For Crime Victims Services

§ 5359. Victims' compensation special fund

(a) There is created a fund to be known as the victims' compensation fund. This fund shall be administered by the victims' compensation board established by section 5352 of this title. The purpose of this fund shall be to support the activities and the operating costs of the victims' compensation board and the center for crime victims services.

(b) The victims' compensation fund shall consist of:

(1) Fees imposed by the court clerk and designated for deposit into the fund pursuant to section 7282 of this title.

(2) Restitution as ordered by the court pursuant to section 7043 of this title.

(3) Funds received from inmate labor contribution from the prison industries enhancement program or from any other source.

(4) Appropriations by the general assembly.

(c) Balances in the fund at the end of the fiscal year shall be carried forward and remain in the fund. (Added 2003, No. 57, § 13a, eff. June 4, 2003.)


 

Sub-Chapter 1: Compensation To Victims Of Crime

§ 5360. Domestic and sexual violence special fund

A Domestic and Sexual Violence Special Fund is established, to be managed in accordance with 32 V.S.A. chapter 7, subchapter 5 and administered by the Center for Crime Victims Services created in section 5361 of this title. The revenues of the Fund shall consist of that portion of the additional surcharge on penalties and fines imposed by section 7282 of this title deposited in the Domestic and Sexual Violence Special Fund and that portion of the town clerks' fee for issuing and recording civil marriage or civil union licenses in 32 V.S.A. § 1712(1) deposited in the Domestic and Sexual Violence Special Fund. The Fund may be expended by the Center for Crime Victims Services for budgeted grants to the Vermont Network against Domestic and Sexual Violence and for the Criminal Justice Training Council position dedicated to domestic violence training, pursuant to 20 V.S.A. § 2365(c). (Added 2011, No. 162 (Adj. Sess.), § E.220.1.)


 

Sub-Chapter 2: Center For Crime Victims Services

§ 5361. Center for crime victims services

(a) The center for crime victims services is created and shall be responsible for the following:

(1) Strengthen and coordinate programs serving crime victims.

(2) Promote the rights and needs of crime victims statewide.

(3) [Repealed.]

(4) Assist in the development and administration of other programs and services for crime victims and witnesses, as needed.

(5) Administer the federal Victims of Crime Act funds (VOCA).

(6) Serve as a clearinghouse for information regarding victims of crime.

(b) The center shall be governed by and attached to the victims compensation board for administrative support.

(c) The board may employ such staff as necessary to carry out its responsibilities under this chapter and chapter 165 of this title. (Added 1991, No. 263 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1993, No. 88 § 2; 2003, No. 57, § 2, eff. July 1, 2004.)


§ 5362. Restitution Unit

(a) A Restitution Unit is created within the Center for Crime Victim Services for purposes of ensuring that crime victims receive restitution when it is ordered by the Court.

(b) The Restitution Unit shall administer the Restitution Fund established under section 5363 of this title.

(c) The Restitution Unit shall have the authority to:

(1) Collect restitution from the offender when it is ordered by the Court under section 7043 of this title.

(2) Enforce a restitution obligation as a civil judgment under section 7043 of this title. The Restitution Unit shall enforce restitution orders issued prior to July 1, 2004 pursuant to the law in effect on the date the order is issued.

(3)(A) Share and access information, including information maintained by the National Criminal Information Center, consistent with Vermont and federal law, from the Court, the Departments of Corrections, of Motor Vehicles, of Taxes, and of Labor, and law enforcement agencies in order to carry out its collection and enforcement functions. The Restitution Unit, for purposes of establishing and enforcing restitution payment obligations, is designated as a law enforcement agency for the sole purpose of requesting and obtaining access to information needed to identify or locate a person, including access to information maintained by the National Criminal Information Center.

(B) Provide information to the Department of Corrections concerning supervised offenders, including an offender's restitution payment history and balance, address and contact information, employment information, and information concerning the Restitution Unit's collection efforts.

(C) The Restitution Unit is specifically authorized to collect, record, use, and disseminate Social Security numbers as needed for the purpose of collecting restitution and enforcing restitution judgment orders issued by the Court, provided that the Social Security number is maintained on a separate form that is confidential and exempt from public inspection and copying under the Public Records Act.

(4) Investigate and verify losses as determined by the Restitution Unit, including losses that may be eligible for advance payment from the Restitution Special Fund, and verify the amount of insurance or other payments paid to or for the benefit of a victim, and reduce the amount collected or to be collected from the offender or disbursed to the victim from the Crime Victims' Restitution Special Fund accordingly. The Restitution Unit, when appropriate, shall submit to the Court a proposed revised restitution order, with copies provided to the victim and the offender. No hearing shall be required.

(5) Adopt such administrative rules as are reasonably necessary to carry out the purposes set forth in this section.

(6)(A) Report offenders' payment histories to credit reporting agencies. The Unit shall not make a report under this subdivision (6) until after it has notified the offender of the proposed report by first class mail or other like means to give actual notice, and provided the offender a period not to exceed 20 days to contest the accuracy of the information with the Unit. The Unit shall immediately notify each credit bureau organization to which information has been furnished of any increases or decreases in the amount of restitution owed by the offender.

(B) Obtain offenders' credit reports from credit reporting agencies. The Unit shall not obtain a report under this subdivision (6) until after it has notified the offender by first class mail or other means likely to give actual notice of its intent to obtain the report.

(7) Enter into a repayment contract with a juvenile or adult accepted into a Diversion Program and to bring a civil action to enforce the contract when a Diversion Program has referred an individual pursuant to 3 V.S.A. § 164a.

(8) Contract with one or more sheriff's departments for the purposes of serving process, warrants, demand letters, and mittimuses in restitution cases, and contract with one or more law enforcement agencies or other investigators for the purpose of investigating and locating offenders and enforcing restitution judgment orders.

(9) Collect from an offender subject to a restitution judgment order all fees and direct costs, including reasonable attorney's fees, incurred by the Restitution Unit as a result of enforcing the order and investigating and locating the offender. (Added 2003, No. 57, § 3, eff. June 4, 2003; amended 2003, No. 92 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 2005, No. 51, § 2; amended 2005, No. 103 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. April 5, 2006; 2005, No. 162 (Adj. Sess.), § 4, eff. Jan. 1, 2007; 2007, No. 40, § 3; 2011, No. 145 (Adj. Sess.), § 3; 2013, No. 126 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)


§ 5363. Crime Victims' Restitution Special Fund

(a) There is hereby established in the State Treasury a fund to be known as the Crime Victims' Restitution Special Fund, to be administered by the Restitution Unit established by section 5362 of this title, and from which payments may be made to provide restitution to crime victims.

(b)(1) There shall be deposited into the Fund:

(A) all monies collected by the Restitution Unit pursuant to section 7043 and subdivision 5362(c)(7) of this title;

(B) All fees imposed by the clerk of court and designated for deposit into the Fund pursuant to section 7282 of this title;

(C) all monies donated to the Restitution Unit or the Crime Victims' Restitution Special Fund;

(D) such sums as may be appropriated to the Fund by the General Assembly.

(2) If a person donates funds, or if a restitution recipient has declined to accept payment of restitution, the donated or declined amounts shall be retained in the Crime Victims' Restitution Special Fund.

(3) If a victim who is entitled to receive an advance payment of restitution from the Crime Victims' Restitution Special Fund cannot be located, the Restitution Unit shall report the amount to the Treasurer within the time limits provided by 27 V.S.A. § 1247(d), and the Treasurer shall report it as unclaimed property. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, in no event shall the advance payments from the Restitution Special Fund to which the victim is entitled be subject to ultimate deposit in the General or Education Fund.

(c) The Restitution Unit shall make disbursements from the Restitution Special Fund only to pay restitution obligations arising under section 7043 of this title, to support the Restitution Unit, or pursuant to subsection (d) of this section.

(d)(1) The Restitution Unit is authorized to advance up to $5,000.00 to a victim or to a deceased victim's heir or legal representative if the victim:

(A) was first ordered by the court to receive restitution on or after July 1, 2004;

(B) is a natural person or the natural person's legal representative;

(C) has not been reimbursed under subdivision (2) of this subsection; and

(D) is a natural person and has been referred to the Restitution Unit by a diversion program pursuant to 3 V.S.A. § 164a.

(2) The Restitution Unit may make advances of up to $5,000.00 under this subsection to the following persons or entities:

(A) a victim service agency approved by the Restitution Unit if the agency has advanced monies which would have been payable to a victim under subdivision (1) of this subsection;

(B) a victim who is a natural person or the natural person's legal representative in a case where the defendant, before or after an adjudication of guilt, enters into a drug court contract requiring payment of restitution.

(3) An advance under this subsection shall not be made to the government or to any governmental subdivision or agency.

(4) An advance under this subsection shall not be made to a victim who:

(A) fails to provide the Restitution Unit with the documentation necessary to support the victim's claim for restitution;

(B) violated a criminal law of this State which caused or contributed to the victim's material loss; or

(C) has crime-related losses that are eligible for payment from the Victim Compensation Special Fund.

(5) An advance under this subsection shall not be made for the amount of cash loss included in a restitution judgment order.

(6) An advance under this subsection shall not be made for:

(A) jewelry or precious metals; or

(B) luxury items or collectibles identified in rules adopted by the Unit pursuant to subdivision 5362(c)(5) of this title.

(e) If the Restitution Unit collects in excess of $10,000.00 from an offender, the amount in excess of $10,000.00 shall first be paid to that offender's victims until the victims have received the full amount of restitution ordered. Any excess remaining after the victims have received the full amount of restitution ordered shall be divided between the Victims' Compensation Fund and the Crime Victims' Special Restitution Fund in proportion to the amount which each paid.

(f)(1) In no event shall the amount of restitution advanced to the victims of a single crime spree during a single fiscal year under this title exceed five percent of the balance of the Fund at the end of the prior fiscal year. If this section applies, an advance payment to a victim shall be reduced by the same percentage that the Restitution Unit reduces the total amount advanced to all victims in connection with the crime spree. Unless otherwise ordered by the Court, the Restitution Unit shall determine the offenders and crimes encompassed within a crime spree.

(2) A victim whose advance payment is reduced pursuant to this subsection shall be entitled to receive additional advance payments during subsequent fiscal years until the restitution order has been satisfied or the $10,000.00 cap has been reached, whichever occurs first.

(g) All balances in the Fund at the end of any fiscal year shall be carried forward and remain a part of the Fund. Disbursements from the Fund shall be made by the State Treasurer on warrants drawn by the Commissioner of Finance and Management.

(h) Notwithstanding anything in this section or any other provision of law to the contrary, revenue from the surcharge fees deposited into the Crime Victims' Restitution Special Fund shall be used to support the Restitution Unit and restitution for crime victims, and as otherwise authorized by the General Assembly. (Added 2003, No. 57, § 4, eff. June 4, 2003; amended 2003, No. 92 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; 2005, No. 51, § 3; 2007, No. 40, § 4, eff. July 1, 2012; 2011, No. 3, § 84, eff. Feb. 17, 2011; 2011, No. 55, § 13; 2011, No. 145 (Adj. Sess.), § 4; 2013, No. 126 (Adj. Sess.), § 2.)


§ 5364. Subrogation lien

The state shall be subrogated to the rights of the victim, assignee, heir, or dependent to whom restitution payments are made to the extent of the payments made. The state shall have a lien therefor and may commence an action or intervene in any action to protect and enforce such lien. Such subrogation rights shall be against any person liable for the pecuniary loss. (Added 2005, No. 51, § 4.)


§ 5365. Access to financial records

(a) As used in this section:

(1) "Depositor" means an owner of an account in a financial institution and includes "share account holders" of credit unions.

(2) "Financial institution" means a savings and loan association, a trust company, a savings bank, an industrial bank, a banking organization, a commercial bank, or a credit union organized under the laws of this state or authorized to do business in this state.

(3) "Offender" means a person who owes restitution.

(4) "Restitution" means an unsatisfied obligation to pay restitution that was ordered in connection with a criminal case and about which, prior to the issuance of the order, the offender had notice and an opportunity to contest the amount owed.

(5) "Restitution unit" means the state of Vermont restitution unit.

(b) Upon receipt of a duly authorized written request from the restitution unit to identify depository accounts held by an offender, a financial institution shall search its depositor records in order to identify accounts in which the offender has an ownership or beneficial interest.

(c) A financial institution shall notify the restitution unit of all accounts identified in response to a request filed under subsection (b) of this section. The notification shall contain the following information, if available to the financial institution through its search procedure, for each account identified:

(1) The full name, date of birth, and address that the offender provided for himself or herself to the financial institution.

(2) The offender's Social Security number.

(3) The offender's account number.

(4) The amount of deposits contained in the offender's account.

(5) Whether the offender is the sole owner of the account.

(d) The financial institution shall not provide notice in any form to a depositor identified by the restitution unit pursuant to this section. Failure to provide notice to a depositor shall not constitute a violation of the financial institution's duty of good faith to its customers.

(e) A financial institution may charge the restitution unit a fee for services provided under this section, provided that the fee shall not exceed the actual costs incurred by the financial institution.

(f) The information provided to each other by the financial institution and the restitution unit pursuant to this section shall be confidential and shall be used only for the purpose of collecting unpaid restitution. (Added 2007, No. 40, § 5.)


§ 5366. Delay in debt collection by health care provider

(a) When a person files a claim under this chapter, no health care provider that has been given notice of the claim shall conduct any debt collection activities relating to medical or dental treatment received by the person in connection with the claim until an award is made on the claim or until the claim is determined to be noncompensable pursuant to section 5355 of this title. The period during which the health care provider is prohibited from conducting debt collection activities under this section shall be excluded in determining the applicable limitations period for commencing an action to collect the debt.

(b) As used in this section:

(1) "Debt collection activities" means repeatedly calling or writing to the claimant and threatening to turn the matter over to a debt collection agency or to an attorney for collection, enforcement, or filing of other process. The term shall not include routine billing or inquiries about the status of the claim.

(2) "Health care provider" shall have the same meaning as in section 9402 of Title 18. (Added 2007, No. 173 (Adj. Sess.), § 3.)


 

Sub-Chapter 3: Sex Offender Registration; Law Enforcement Notification

§ 5401. Definitions

As used in this subchapter:

(1) "Address" means the actual location of the sex offender's dwelling, including the street address, if any.

(2) "Department" means the Department of Public Safety.

(3) "Local law enforcement agency" means the municipal police department or statutorily established college or university police department. If the municipality, college, or university has no police department, the law enforcement agency that serves the municipality, college, or university.

(4) "Mental abnormality" means a congenital or acquired condition that affects the emotional or volitional capacity of a person in a manner that predisposes the person to the commission of criminal sexual acts to a degree that makes the person a menace to the health and safety of other persons.

(5) "Minor" means a person under the age of 18 years.

(6) "Personality disorder" means a condition where a person exhibits personality traits which are inflexible and maladaptive and cause either significant functional impairment or subjective distress.

(7) "Predatory" means an act directed at a stranger, or a person with whom a relationship has been established or promoted for the primary purpose of victimization.

(8) "Release" means release from confinement or custody or placement into the community for any reason, including release on bail pending appeal, probation, parole, furlough, work release, early release, alternative sanctions, house arrest, daily interrupt, community placement or completion of sentence. It shall also mean probation or parole supervision of an out-of-state sex offender under an interstate agreement or compact.

(9) "Registry" means the Sex Offender Registry maintained by the Department of Public Safety.

(10) "Sex offender" means:

(A) A person who is convicted in any jurisdiction of the United States, including a state, territory, commonwealth, the District of Columbia, or military, federal, or tribal court of any of the following offenses:

(i) sexual assault as defined in 13 V.S.A. § 3252;

(ii)  aggravated sexual assault as defined in 13 V.S.A. § 3253;

(iii)   lewd and lascivious conduct as defined in 13 V.S.A. § 2601;

(iv)  sexual abuse of a vulnerable adult as defined in 13 V.S.A. § 1379;

(v) second or subsequent conviction for voyeurism as defined in 13 V.S.A. § 2605(b) or (c);

(vi) kidnapping with intent to commit sexual assault as defined in 13 V.S.A. § 2405(a)(1)(D);

(vii) aggravated sexual assault of a child in violation of section 3253a of this title;

(viii) human trafficking in violation of subdivisions 2652(a)(1)-(4) of this title;

(ix) aggravated human trafficking in violation of subdivision 2653(a)(4) of this title;

(x) a federal conviction in federal court for any of the following offenses:

(I) sex trafficking of children as defined in 18 U.S.C. § 1591;

(II) aggravated sexual abuse as defined in 18 U.S.C. § 2241;

(III) sexual abuse as defined in 18 U.S.C. § 2242;

(IV) sexual abuse of a minor or ward as defined in 18 U.S.C. § 2243;

(V) abusive sexual contact as defined in 18 U.S.C. § 2244;

(VI) offenses resulting in death as defined in 18 U.S.C. § 2245;

(VII) sexual exploitation of children as defined in 18 U.S.C. § 2251;

(VIII) selling or buying of children as defined in 18 U.S.C. § 2251A;

(IX) material involving the sexual exploitation of minors as defined in 18 U.S.C. § 2252;

(X) material containing child pornography as defined in 18 U.S.C. § 2252A;

(XI) production of sexually explicit depictions of a minor for import into the United States as defined in 18 U.S.C. § 2260;

(XII) transportation of a minor for illegal sexual activity as defined in 18 U.S.C. § 2421;

(XIII) coercion and enticement of a minor for illegal sexual activity as defined in 18 U.S.C. § 2422;

(XIV) transportation of minors for illegal sexual activity, travel with the intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a minor, and engaging in illicit sexual conduct in foreign places as defined in 18 U.S.C. § 2423;

(XV) transmitting information about a minor to further criminal sexual conduct as defined in 18 U.S.C. § 2425;

(XVI) trafficking in persons as defined in 18 U.S.C. sections 2251-2252(a), 2260, or 2421-2423 if the violation included sexual abuse, aggravated sexual abuse, or the attempt to commit aggravated sexual abuse; and

(xi) an attempt to commit any offense listed in this subdivision (A).

(B) A person who is convicted of any of the following offenses against a victim who is a minor, except that, for purposes of this subdivision, conduct which is criminal only because of the age of the victim shall not be considered an offense for purposes of the Registry if the perpetrator is under the age of 18 and the victim is at least 12 years old:

(i) any offense listed in subdivision (A) of this subdivision (10);

(ii) kidnapping as defined in 13 V.S.A. § 2405(a)(1)(D);

(iii) lewd and lascivious conduct with a child as defined in 13 V.S.A. § 2602.;

(iv) slave traffic as defined in 13 V.S.A. § 2635;

(v) sexual exploitation of children as defined in 13 V.S.A. chapter 64;

(vi) procurement or solicitation as defined in 13 V.S.A. § 2632(a)(6);

(vii) aggravated sexual assault of a child as defined in 13 V.S.A. § 3253a;

(viii) sex trafficking of children or sex trafficking by force, fraud, or coercion as defined in 13 V.S.A. § 2635a;

(ix) sexual exploitation of a minor as defined in 13 V.S.A. § 3258;

(x) an attempt to commit any offense listed in this subdivision (B).

(C) A person who takes up residence within this State, other than within a correctional facility, and who has been convicted in any jurisdiction of the United States, including a state, territory, commonwealth, the District of Columbia, or military, federal, or tribal court, for a sex crime the elements of which would constitute a crime under subdivision (A) or (B) of this subdivision (10) if committed in this State.

(D) A person 18 years of age or older who resides in this State, other than in a correctional facility, and who is currently or, prior to taking up residence within this State, was required to register as a sex offender in any jurisdiction of the United States, including a state, territory, commonwealth, the District of Columbia, or military, federal, or tribal court; except that, for purposes of this subdivision, conduct which is criminal only because of the age of the victim shall not be considered an offense for purposes of the registry if the perpetrator is under the age of 18 and the victim is at least 12 years old.

(E) A nonresident sex offender who crosses into Vermont and who is employed, carries on a vocation, or is a student.

(11) "Sexually violent offense" means sexual assault or aggravated sexual assault, as described in sections 3252 and 3253 of this title, or a comparable offense in another jurisdiction of the United States, or any attempt to commit sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault, or a comparable offense in another jurisdiction of the United States.

(12) "Sexually violent predator" means a person who is a sex offender, who has been convicted of a sexually violent offense, as defined in subdivision (11) of this section, and who suffers from a mental abnormality or personality disorder that makes the person likely to engage in predatory sexually violent offenses.

(13) "Employed, carries on a vocation" includes employment that is full-time or part-time for a period of time exceeding 14 days or for an aggregate period of time exceeding 30 days during any calendar year, whether financially compensated, volunteered, or for the purpose of governmental or educational benefit.

(14) "Student" means a person who is enrolled on a full-time or part-time basis in any public or private educational institution in Vermont, including any secondary school, trade or professional institution, or institution of higher learning.

(15) "Conviction" means a judgment of guilt following a verdict or finding of guilt, a plea of guilty, a plea of nolo contendere, an Alford Plea, or a judgment of guilt pursuant to a deferred sentence. A sex offender whose sentence is deferred shall have no duty to register after successful completion of the terms of the deferred sentence agreement for the duration specified in the agreement.

(16) "Risk" means the degree of dangerousness that a sex offender poses to others. "High-risk" means a high degree of dangerousness that a sex offender poses to others. Dangerousness includes the probability of a sexual reoffense. (Added 1995, No. 124 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1996; amended 1997, No. 57, § 7, eff. June 26, 1997; 2001, No. 49, § 2, eff. Sept. 1, 2001; 2003, No. 157 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; 2005, No. 79, § 5; 2005, No. 83, § 3; 2005, No. 192 (Adj. Sess.), § 24, eff. May 26, 2006; 2009, No. 1, § 13b, eff. March 4, 2009; 2009, No. 58, § 6; 2011, No. 31, § 1, eff. May 17, 2011; 2011, No. 55, § 9.)


§ 5402. Sex offender registry

(a) The department of public safety shall establish and maintain a sex offender registry, which shall consist of the information required to be filed under this subchapter.

(b) All information contained in the registry may be disclosed for any purpose permitted under the law of this state, including use by:

(1) local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies exclusively for lawful law enforcement activities;

(2) state and federal governmental agencies for the exclusive purpose of conducting confidential background checks;

(3) any employer, including a school district, who is authorized by law to request records and information from the Vermont criminal information center, where such disclosure is necessary to protect the public concerning persons required to register under this subchapter. The identity of a victim of an offense that requires registration shall not be released;

(4) a person identified as a sex offender in the registry for the purpose of reviewing the accuracy of any record relating to him or her. The identity of a victim of an offense that requires registration shall not be released; and

(5) probate courts for purposes of conducting checks on persons applying for changes of name under section 811 of Title 15.

(c) The departments of corrections and of public safety shall adopt rules, forms and procedures under chapter 25 of Title 3 to implement the provisions of this subchapter. (Added 1995, No. 124 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1996; amended 1999, No. 152 (Adj. Sess.), § 78a, eff. May 29, 2000; 2001, No. 49, § 3, eff. Sept. 1, 2001; 2009, No. 58, § 13.)


§ 5403. Reporting upon conviction

(a) Upon conviction and prior to sentencing, the court shall order the sex offender to provide the court with the following information, which the court shall forward to the department forthwith:

(1) name;

(2) date of birth;

(3) general physical description;

(4) current address;

(5) Social Security number;

(6) fingerprints;

(7) current photograph;

(8) current employment; and

(9) name and address of any postsecondary educational institution at which the sex offender is enrolled as a student.

(b) Within 10 days after sentencing, the court shall forward to the department the sex offender's conviction record, including offense, date of conviction, sentence and any conditions of release or probation. (Added 1995, No. 124 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1996; amended 2003, No. 157 (Adj. Sess.), § 3.)


§ 5404. Reporting upon release from confinement or supervision

(a) Upon receiving a sex offender from the court on a probationary sentence or any alternative sentence under community supervision by the department of corrections, or prior to releasing a sex offender from confinement or supervision, the department of corrections shall forward to the department the following information concerning the sex offender:

(1) an update of the information listed in subsection 5403(a) of this title;

(2) the address upon release and whether the offender will be living with a child under the age of 18;

(3) name, address, and telephone number of the local department of corrections office in charge of monitoring the sex offender; and

(4) documentation of any treatment or counseling received.

(b) The department of corrections shall notify the department within 24 hours of the time a sex offender changes his or her address or place of employment, or enrolls in or separates from any postsecondary educational institution, or begins residing with a child under the age of 18. In addition, the department of corrections shall provide the department with any updated information requested by the department.

(c) With respect to a sex offender residing with a child under the age of 18 under circumstances enumerated in subsection (a) or (b) of this section, the department of corrections shall communicate with the department for children and families. If placement in a home with a child is being considered by the department of corrections, the department of corrections shall notify the department for children and families, and the departments shall work together to determine whether such a placement is appropriate. If the department of corrections does not have a role in the placement of the offender in the community, but knows the offender will be residing with a person under the age of 18, the department of corrections shall notify the department for children and families at least 24 hours prior to releasing the offender from confinement.

(d) The information required to be provided by subsection (a) of this section shall also be provided by the department of corrections to a sex offender's parole or probation officer within three days of the time a sex offender is placed on probation or parole by the court or parole board.

(e) If it has not been previously submitted, upon receipt of the information to be provided to the department pursuant to subsection (a) of this section, the department shall immediately transmit the conviction data and fingerprints to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. (Added 1995, No. 124 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1996; amended 2001, No. 49, § 4, eff. Sept. 1, 2001; 2003, No. 157 (Adj. Sess.), § 4; 2009, No. 1, § 14.)


§ 5405. Court determination of sexually violent predators

(a) The general assembly finds that some sexual offenders should be subject to increased sex offender registry and community notification procedures. It is the intent of the general assembly that state's attorneys utilize the provisions in this section to petition the court to designate those offenders who pose a greater risk to the public as sexually violent predators to ensure that those offenders will be required to register as sex offenders for life, and that they will be among those offenders who are included on the state's internet sex offender registry.

(b) Within 15 days after the conviction of a sex offender, the state may file a petition with the court requesting that the person be designated as a sexually violent predator.

(c) The determination of whether a person is a sexually violent predator shall be made by the court at the time of sentencing.

(d) The court shall order a presentence investigation which shall include a psychosexual evaluation of the offender.

(e) In making a determination of whether the person is a sexually violent predator, the court shall examine the following:

(1) the person's criminal history;

(2) any testimony presented at trial, including expert testimony as to the person's mental state;

(3) the person's history of treatment for a personality disorder or mental abnormality connected with his or her criminal sexual behavior;

(4) any mitigating evidence, including treatment history, evidence of modified behavior, or expert testimony, which the convicted sex offender wishes to provide to the court prior to the determination; and

(5) any other relevant evidence.

(f) The standard of proof when the court makes such a determination shall be clear and convincing evidence that the convicted sex offender suffers from a mental abnormality or personality disorder that makes the person likely to engage in predatory sexually violent offenses.

(g) The court shall determine whether the offender was eligible to be charged as a habitual offender as provided in section 11 of this title or a violent career criminal as provided in section 11a of this title and shall make findings as to such.

(h) After making its determinations, the court shall issue a written decision explaining the reasons for its determinations and provide a copy of the decision to the department within 10 days.

(i) A person who is determined to be a sexually violent predator shall be subject to sex offender lifetime registration and community notification and inclusion on the Internet sex offender registry as provided in this subchapter. (Added 1995, No. 124 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1996; amended 2001, No. 49, § 5, eff. Sept. 1, 2001; 2005, No. 79, § 8.)


§ 5406. Department of corrections duty to provide notice

Upon receiving a sex offender from the court on a probationary sentence or any alternative sentence under community supervision by the department of corrections, or upon the release of a sex offender from a correctional facility, the department of corrections shall do each of the following:

(1) inform the sex offender of the duty to register and keep the registration current as provided in section 5407 of this title;

(2) inform the sex offender that if the sex offender changes residence to another state, the sex offender shall notify the department of the new address and shall also register with the designated law enforcement agency in the new state not later than three days after establishing residence in the new state, if the new state has a registration requirement;

(3) require the sex offender to read and sign a form stating that the duty of the sex offender to register under this section has been explained and is understood. The registration form shall be sent to the department without delay; and

(4) inform the sex offender that if he or she crosses into another state for purposes of employment, carrying on a vocation, or being a student, the sex offender must notify the department of the new address, and shall register with the designated law enforcement agency in the other state, if the other state has a registration requirement. (Added 1995, No. 124 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1996; amended 2001, No. 49, § 6, eff. Sept. 1, 2001.)