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National Crime Victim Law Institute

Annulli v. Warden, No. TSR-CV14-4005806-S (Conn. Super. Ct. Jan. 23, 2015).

March 12, 2015

James Clark and the Victim Rights Center of Connecticut, Inc., represented the victim in this case, arguing to protect the victim’s rights to protection and privacy during the habeas proceedings.

Mot. For Protective Orders for the Victim & Mem. of Decision, Annulli v. Warden, No. TSR-CV14-4005806-S (Conn. Super. Ct. Jan. 23, 2015).  Petitioner was convicted of sexual assault and subsequently petitioned for writ of habeas corpus.  During the habeas proceedings, the victim filed a motion for protective order asking the superior court to issue an order precluding petitioner and his agents from approaching the victim or her family and issuing any subpoenas on the victim and her family without prior judicial approval and only after a hearing in which petitioner demonstrated that the information sought was relevant to the claims in his petition.   In the victim’s motion, she described that despite a standing protective order prohibiting petitioner from contacting her, private investigators (presumably hired by petitioner’s counsel) went to the victim’s workplace and demanded to see her.  In granting the victim’s motion, the court found as an initial matter that victims’ rights were not implicated in the habeas proceeding as it was a civil, not criminal, proceeding.  The court reasoned, however, that victims of crime must be protected from their offenders, and that “receiving a subpoena to testify in a court proceeding involving the victimizer can be, simply in and of itself, an anxiety-producing situation.”  The court stated that it must balance the victim’s interest in putting the crime behind her and not being “reminded, bothered, harassed…through further questioning” with an offender’s right to petition for writ of habeas corpus.  In reaching the proper balance, the court relied on its “full authority to supervise discovery and pretrial investigation.”  The court also noted that there is already a protective order in place prohibiting petitioner from contacting the victim and that the victim is represented by counsel, who has previously made it clear that the victim is not to be contacted in connection with this matter.  The court then found that it would not be an onerous burden on petitioner to obtain judicial approval prior to issuing a subpoena or approaching the victim and granted the victim’s motion.