On January 20, 2012, Rep. Beth McCann and Sen. Steve King introduced HB 12-1151 – Concerning the Trafficking of Human Beings. This summary is published here courtesy of the Colorado Bar Association’s e-Legislative Report.
The bill repeals the interagency task force on trafficking in persons. A person is entitled to recover damages and to obtain injunctive relief from any person who commits trafficking in adults, trafficking in children, or coercion of involuntary servitude (a human trafficking crime). A conviction for a human trafficking crime is not a condition precedent to maintaining a civil action.
A building or part of a building, including the ground upon which it is situated and all fixtures and contents thereof, every vehicle, and any real property that is used for a human trafficking crime shall be deemed a class 1 public nuisance and thereby subject to seizure, confiscation, and forfeiture.
Each escort bureau shall provide to each employee of the escort bureau a written notice that includes a statement that human trafficking and coercion of involuntary servitude are prohibited and the name, telephone number, and internet web site address of a local, statewide, or national organization that provides assistance to victims of human trafficking and slavery.
Current law requires each massage parlor to display at all times in a prominent place on the licensed premises a printed card stating that it is illegal for any person under 18 years of age to be on the premises, or for any person to allow any person under 18 years of age to be on the premises, unless he or she is accompanied by his or her parent or has a physician’s prescription for massage services. The bill requires the card to also state that human trafficking crimes are prohibited and that courts may impose fines or imprisonment for violations of human trafficking crimes. The bill also requires each massage parlor to display a card that provides the name and contact information of a state or local organization that provides services or other assistance to victims of human trafficking.
A court shall order expunged all juvenile delinquency records in the custody of the court and any records in the custody of any other agency or official that pertain to a petitioner’s conviction for prostitution, soliciting for prostitution, keeping a place of prostitution, public indecency, soliciting for child prostitution, or any corresponding municipal code or ordinance if, at the hearing, the court finds that the petitioner has established by a preponderance of the evidence that, at the time he or she committed the offense, he or she had been sold, exchanged, bartered, or leased by another person for the purpose of performing the offense; or that he or she was coerced by another person to perform the offense. A person is eligible to petition for such an expungement order at any time.
A defendant may petition the district court of the district in which any conviction records pertaining to the defendant’s conviction for prostitution, soliciting for prostitution, keeping a place of prostitution, public indecency, or any corresponding municipal code or ordinance are located for the sealing of the conviction records, except for basic identifying information. If such a petition is filed, the court shall order the record sealed after the petition is filed, the filing fee is paid, and the defendant establishes by a preponderance of the evidence that, at the time he or she committed the offense, he or she had been sold, exchanged, bartered, or leased by another person for the purpose of performing the offense; or that he or she was coerced by another person to perform the offense.
An order entered to seal such conviction records shall be directed to each custodian who may have custody of any part of the conviction records that are the subject of the order. Whenever a court enters an order sealing such conviction records, the defendant shall provide the Colorado bureau of investigation (bureau) and each custodian of the conviction records with a copy of the order and shall pay to the bureau any costs related to the sealing of his or her criminal conviction records that are in the custody of the bureau. Thereafter, the defendant may request and the court may grant an order sealing the civil case in which the conviction records were sealed. An order sealing such conviction records shall not deny access to the criminal records of a defendant by any court, law enforcement agency, criminal justice agency, prosecuting attorney, or party or agency required by law to conduct a criminal history record check on an individual. An order sealing such conviction records does not vacate a conviction. A conviction sealed may be used by a criminal justice agency, law enforcement agency, court, or prosecuting attorney for any lawful purpose relating to the investigation or prosecution of any case, including but not limited to any subsequent case that is filed against the defendant, or for any other lawful purpose within the scope of his, her, or its duties. If a defendant is convicted of a new criminal offense after an order sealing such conviction records is entered, the court shall order the conviction records to be unsealed. A party or agency required by law to conduct a criminal history record check is authorized to use any sealed conviction for the lawful purpose for which the criminal history record check is required by law.
A petition to seal such conviction records shall include a listing of each custodian of the records to whom the sealing order is directed and any information that accurately and completely identifies the records to be sealed. Upon the entry of an order to seal the conviction records, the defendant and all criminal justice agencies may properly reply, upon an inquiry in the matter, that public conviction records do not exist with respect to the defendant. Inspection of the records included in an order sealing conviction records may thereafter be permitted by the court only upon petition by the defendant. Employers, state and local government agencies, officials, landlords, and employees shall not, in any application or interview or in any other way, require an applicant to disclose any information contained in sealed conviction records. An applicant need not, in answer to any question concerning conviction records that have been sealed, include a reference to or information concerning the sealed conviction records and may state that the applicant has not been criminally convicted.
The bar committee of the Colorado state board of law examiners (bar committee) is not precluded from making further inquiries into the fact of a sealed conviction that comes to the attention of the bar committee through other means. The bar committee has a right to inquire into the moral and ethical qualifications of an applicant, and the applicant does not have a right to privacy or privilege that justifies his or her refusal to answer a question concerning sealed conviction records that have come to the attention of the bar committee through other means.
The Department of Education may require a licensed educator or an applicant for an educator’s license who files a petition to seal a criminal record to notify the department of the pending petition to seal. The department has the right to inquire into the facts of the criminal offense for which the petition to seal is pending. The educator or applicant has no right to privacy or privilege that justifies his or her refusal to answer any questions concerning the arrest and criminal records information contained in the pending petition to seal.
Any member of the public may petition the court to unseal any file that has been previously sealed upon a showing that circumstances have come into existence since the original sealing, and, as a result, the public interest in disclosure now outweighs the defendant’s interest in privacy. The office of the state court administrator shall post on its web site a list of all petitions to seal conviction records that are filed with a district court. A district court may not grant a petition to seal conviction records until at least 30 days after the posting. After the expiration of 30 days following the posting, the petition to seal conviction records and information pertinent thereto shall be removed from the web site of the office of the state court administrator.
In regard to any conviction of a defendant resulting from a single case in which the defendant is convicted of more than one offense, records of the conviction for prostitution, soliciting for prostitution, keeping a place of prostitution, public indecency, or any corresponding municipal code or ordinance may be sealed only if the records of every conviction of the defendant resulting from that case may also be sealed.
Court orders sealing records do not limit the operations of the Colorado rules of civil procedure related to discovery, the Colorado rules of evidence, certain statutory provisions concerning witness testimony, or any state or federal court.
A person less than eighteen years of age who has been trafficked or coerced into involuntary servitude by an offender is eligible to receive restitution from the offender as part of the offender’s sentence for such an offense.
The amended bill has passed the House and is assigned to the Judiciary Committee in the Senate.
Summaries of other featured bills can be found here.