New council hopes to close gaps in CT’s domestic violence laws

Connecticut’s new Family Domestic Violence Criminal Justice Response and Enhancement Advisory Council has a long name but a simple goal: save lives by closing gaps in the law.
The group, which met for first time Wednesday, hopes to keep victims from falling through the cracks.
Julie Minogue was afraid for her life.
“I’m scared he’s going to kill me,” she wrote in a November 2022 affidavit seeking a restraining order.
Weeks later, Minogue’s worst fears came true. Milford police say her boyfriend, Ewen Dewitt, murdered her with an ax in front of their 3 year-old son.
Weeks before her death, Minogue alerted police to 220 threatening text messages from Dewitt. But an arrest warrant was never served on him, because police and prosecutors failed to follow up with each other.
“She was doing every single thing that she could,” Danielle Pollack with the National Family Violence Law Center told News 12 Connecticut. “She was seeking help. She was going to law enforcement; she was going to the courts.”
Minogue’s murder spurred state lawmakers to create the new domestic violence council. Crisis counselors, police, court officials and legislators are aiming to identify critical weaknesses in existing law.
“The goal is that everyone is around the table – that we're all talking about some of these harder issues,” said Meghan Scanlon, president of the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
The group is looking at several areas:
  • Speeding up communication between police and prosecutors
  • Expanded GPS monitoring for domestic abusers
  • Additional specialized domestic violence courts
  • More programming to rehabilitate domestic abusers
The panel is also looking at guns. People subject to a restraining order are required to turn them over within 24 hours, but tracking and enforcing that law is a challenge.
Also, the group is looking at new ways to train police officers, who often sent into dangerous situations.
“Unfortunately, in recent months and years, we've just seen law enforcement ambushed with horrific consequences,” said state Sen. John Kissel (R-Enfield), the ranking member on the General Assembly’s Judiciary Committee.
The advisory council will recommend new laws, but legislators already took some action this year.
A new law requires all courts in the state to offer electronic monitoring by 2025. Three already have it, including Bridgeport. On Wednesday, court officials said three more judicial districts will have GPS monitoring in place by late November. The law also bans alimony for domestic abusers.
Lawmakers abandoned proposals to end “coerced debt” incurred in a victim’s name, as well as a bill to make domestic abusers convicted of murder ineligible for release.