TESTIMONY OF THE DIVISION OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE
IN SUPPORT OF:
H.B. NO. 7222 (RAISED) AN ACT CONCERNING THE DUTIES OF THE OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL.
JOINT COMMITTEE ON JUDICIARY
March 15, 2019
The Division of Criminal Justice supports the concept of statutorily empowering the Office of the Attorney General to undertake a civil action to redress the interests of the state in serious civil rights violations. While there is ample precedent in the federal system for a two-pronged approach involving both criminal and civil proceedings when civil rights violations occur, that system differs materially from the one that exists in Connecticut.
In the federal system, both criminal and civil enforcement are under the jurisdiction of the United States Attorney General. In Connecticut, our Office of the Attorney General has civil jurisdiction, while the Division of Criminal Justice has the sole authority and responsibility for investigating and prosecuting criminal matters. In our system, a clearly prescribed, complimentary and mutually beneficial approach to potentially overlapping criminal and civil jurisdiction is, therefore, essential.
The Division and the Office of the Attorney General have a long history of working together to address areas of common concern. One excellent example is our Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, which works hand-in-hand with the Office of the Attorney General (and the Department of Social Services and appropriate federal agencies, as well) to investigate, prosecute and litigate, through both criminal and civil actions, waste, fraud and abuse in the Medicaid program. We are working with the Attorney General in the same fashion to address the concerns raised in H.B. No. 7222.
In conclusion, the Division respectfully requests the Committee’s JOINT FAVORABLE SUBSTITUTE REPORT for H.B. No. 7222 to clearly recognize the challenges that are posed by the uniqueness of Connecticut’s two-agency approach to civil and criminal enforcement of our laws. We thank the Committee for affording this opportunity to provide input on this matter and would be happy to provide any additional information the Committee might require or to answer any questions that you might have.