Sen. Fasano Applauds Final Passage of Bill Addressing Rash in Juvenile Car Thefts 

June 5, 2019

Senate Bill 504 Establishes a Diversionary Program, Seeks to Identify Cause of Uptick in Crime, Broadens Court’s Ability to Detain


Senate Republican Leader Len Fasano (R-North Haven) applauded the General Assembly’s passage of a bipartisan bill that seeks to address a rash in crime involving juvenile car thefts that has resulted in injury and death in towns and cities across the state. The bill was approved by the Senate earlier in the legislative session and passed by the House of Representatives today.


“This legislation will help our state address a serious public safety issue from multiple fronts,” said Sen. Fasano. “It will help us answer important questions about why this uptick in crime is happening and what we can do to best help young people and steer them away from criminal activity. It also broadens the ability of courts to detain a juvenile who has multiple offenses. I am very thankful and deeply appreciative of the hard work so many people put in to developing this bill and ensuring all perspectives and ideas were brought to the table.”


As amended, Senate Bill 504 establishes a diversionary program to provide wraparound services and resources to rehabilitate and redirect youthful offenders charged with auto theft. It also allows courts detain a juvenile if they have two prior offenses, therefore granting courts the ability to detain repeat offenders.


Under existing law, the court may only order a child to be detained after he or she is arrested for an alleged crime on certain grounds. This bill expands the circumstances in which a child can be deemed a safety risk by the court and thus detained. Under this bill, this includes if a juvenile has had two prior offenses. The two prior offenses can be any offense or felony, and does not have to be a prior car theft.


The bill also requires the state examine what could be causing the uptick in crime. It also allows for juveniles to participate in a diversionary program up to two times. Upon completion of the diversionary program, the court may dismiss charges. The bill also requires the Judicial Branch to annually examine data relating to the juveniles who participate in the program to analyze outcomes.


The bill now awaits the governor’s signature.