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Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

SF 105

1st Engrossment - 83rd Legislature (2003 - 2004) Posted on 12/15/2009 12:00am

KEY: stricken = removed, old language.
underscored = added, new language.

Current Version - 1st Engrossment

  1.1                          A bill for an act 
  1.2             relating to criminal justice; re-establishing the 
  1.3             office, powers, and duties of a crime victim 
  1.4             ombudsman; appropriating money; amending Minnesota 
  1.5             Statutes 2002, sections 611A.72; 611A.73, subdivisions 
  1.6             2, 6; 611A.74. 
  1.8      Section 1.  Minnesota Statutes 2002, section 611A.72, is 
  1.9   amended to read: 
  1.10     611A.72 [CITATION.] 
  1.11     Sections 611A.72 to 611A.74 may be cited as the "Crime 
  1.12  Victim Oversight Ombudsman Act."  
  1.13     [EFFECTIVE DATE.] This section is effective July 1, 2003. 
  1.14     Sec. 2.  Minnesota Statutes 2002, section 611A.73, 
  1.15  subdivision 2, is amended to read: 
  1.16     Subd. 2.  [APPROPRIATE AUTHORITY.] "Appropriate authority" 
  1.17  includes anyone who is the subject of a complaint under sections 
  1.18  611A.72 to 611A.74 to the commissioner ombudsman or anyone 
  1.19  within the agency who is in a supervisory position with regard 
  1.20  to one who is the subject of a complaint under sections 611A.72 
  1.21  to 611A.74. 
  1.22     [EFFECTIVE DATE.] This section is effective July 1, 2003. 
  1.23     Sec. 3.  Minnesota Statutes 2002, section 611A.73, 
  1.24  subdivision 6, is amended to read: 
  1.25     Subd. 6.  [COMMISSIONER OMBUDSMAN.] 
  1.26  "Commissioner" "Ombudsman" means the commissioner of public 
  2.1   safety crime victim ombudsman.  
  2.2      [EFFECTIVE DATE.] This section is effective July 1, 2003. 
  2.3      Sec. 4.  Minnesota Statutes 2002, section 611A.74, is 
  2.4   amended to read: 
  2.6      Subdivision 1.  [AUTHORITY UNDER THIS ACT CREATION.] The 
  2.7   office of crime victim ombudsman for Minnesota is created.  The 
  2.8   ombudsman shall be appointed by the governor, shall serve in the 
  2.9   unclassified service at the pleasure of the governor, and shall 
  2.10  be selected without regard to political affiliation.  No person 
  2.11  may serve as ombudsman while holding any other public office.  
  2.12  The ombudsman is directly accountable to the governor.  The 
  2.13  commissioner ombudsman shall have the authority under sections 
  2.14  611A.72 to 611A.74 to investigate decisions, acts, and other 
  2.15  matters of the criminal justice system so as to promote the 
  2.16  highest attainable standards of competence, efficiency, and 
  2.17  justice for crime victims in the criminal justice system.  
  2.18     Subd. 1b.  [ORGANIZATION OF OFFICE.] The ombudsman may 
  2.19  appoint employees necessary to discharge responsibilities of the 
  2.20  office.  The ombudsman may delegate to staff members any of the 
  2.21  ombudsman's authority or duties except the duties of formally 
  2.22  making recommendations to appropriate authorities and reports to 
  2.23  the office of the governor or to the legislature. 
  2.24     Subd. 2.  [DUTIES.] The commissioner ombudsman may 
  2.25  investigate complaints concerning possible violation of the 
  2.26  rights of crime victims or witnesses provided under this 
  2.27  chapter, the delivery of victim services by victim assistance 
  2.28  programs, the administration of the crime victims reparations 
  2.29  act, and other complaints of mistreatment by elements of the 
  2.30  criminal justice system or victim assistance programs.  
  2.31  The commissioner ombudsman shall act as a liaison, when 
  2.32  the commissioner ombudsman deems necessary, between agencies, 
  2.33  either in the criminal justice system or in victim assistance 
  2.34  programs, and victims and witnesses.  The commissioner ombudsman 
  2.35  may be concerned with activities that strengthen procedures and 
  2.36  practices which lessen the risk that objectionable 
  3.1   administrative acts will occur.  The commissioner ombudsman must 
  3.2   be made available through the use of a toll free telephone 
  3.3   number and shall answer questions concerning the criminal 
  3.4   justice system and victim services put to the commissioner 
  3.5   ombudsman by victims and witnesses in accordance with 
  3.6   the commissioner's ombudsman's knowledge of the facts or law, 
  3.7   unless the information is otherwise restricted.  The 
  3.8   commissioner ombudsman shall establish a procedure for referral 
  3.9   to the crime victim crisis centers, the crime victims 
  3.10  reparations board, and other victim assistance programs when 
  3.11  services are requested by crime victims or deemed necessary by 
  3.12  the commissioner ombudsman.  
  3.13     The commissioner's ombudsman's files are confidential data 
  3.14  as defined in section 13.02, subdivision 3, during the course of 
  3.15  an investigation or while the files are active.  Upon completion 
  3.16  of the investigation or when the files are placed on inactive 
  3.17  status, they are private data on individuals as defined in 
  3.18  section 13.02, subdivision 12.  
  3.19     Subd. 3.  [POWERS.] The commissioner ombudsman has those 
  3.20  powers necessary to carry out the duties set out in subdivision 
  3.21  2, including:  
  3.22     (a) The commissioner ombudsman may investigate, with or 
  3.23  without a complaint, any action of an element of the criminal 
  3.24  justice system or a victim assistance program included in 
  3.25  subdivision 2. 
  3.26     (b) The commissioner ombudsman may request and shall be 
  3.27  given access to information and assistance the commissioner 
  3.28  ombudsman considers necessary for the discharge of 
  3.29  responsibilities.  The commissioner ombudsman may inspect, 
  3.30  examine, and be provided copies of records and documents of all 
  3.31  elements of the criminal justice system and victim assistance 
  3.32  programs.  The commissioner ombudsman may request and shall be 
  3.33  given access to police reports pertaining to juveniles and 
  3.34  juvenile delinquency petitions, notwithstanding section 260B.171 
  3.35  or 260C.171.  Any information received by the 
  3.36  commissioner ombudsman retains its data classification under 
  4.1   chapter 13 while in the commissioner's ombudsman's possession.  
  4.2   Juvenile records obtained under this subdivision may not be 
  4.3   released to any person. 
  4.4      (c) The commissioner ombudsman may prescribe the methods by 
  4.5   which complaints are to be made, received, and acted upon; may 
  4.6   determine the scope and manner of investigations to be made; and 
  4.7   subject to the requirements of sections 611A.72 to 611A.74, may 
  4.8   determine the form, frequency, and distribution of commissioner 
  4.9   ombudsman conclusions, recommendations, and proposals.  
  4.10     (d) After completing investigation of a complaint, the 
  4.11  commissioner ombudsman shall inform in writing the complainant, 
  4.12  the investigated person or entity, and other appropriate 
  4.13  authorities of the action taken.  If the complaint involved the 
  4.14  conduct of an element of the criminal justice system in relation 
  4.15  to a criminal or civil proceeding, the commissioner's 
  4.16  ombudsman's findings shall be forwarded to the court in which 
  4.17  the proceeding occurred.  
  4.18     (e) Before announcing a conclusion or recommendation that 
  4.19  expressly or impliedly criticizes an administrative agency or 
  4.20  any person, the commissioner ombudsman shall consult with that 
  4.21  agency or person.  
  4.22     Subd. 4.  [NO COMPELLED TESTIMONY.] Neither the 
  4.23  commissioner ombudsman nor any member of the commissioner's 
  4.24  ombudsman's staff may be compelled to testify or produce 
  4.25  evidence in any judicial or administrative proceeding with 
  4.26  respect to matters involving the exercise of official 
  4.27  duties under sections 611A.72 to 611A.74 except as may be 
  4.28  necessary to enforce the provisions of this section.  
  4.29     Subd. 5.  [RECOMMENDATIONS.] (a) On finding a complaint 
  4.30  valid after duly considering the complaint and whatever material 
  4.31  the commissioner ombudsman deems pertinent, the commissioner 
  4.32  ombudsman may recommend action to the appropriate authority.  
  4.33     (b) If the commissioner ombudsman makes a recommendation to 
  4.34  an appropriate authority for action, the authority shall, within 
  4.35  a reasonable time period, but not more than 30 days, inform the 
  4.36  commissioner ombudsman about the action taken or the reasons for 
  5.1   not complying with the recommendation.  
  5.2      (c) The commissioner ombudsman may publish conclusions and 
  5.3   suggestions by transmitting them to the governor, the 
  5.4   legislature or any of its committees, the press, and others who 
  5.5   may be concerned.  When publishing an opinion adverse to an 
  5.6   administrative agency, the commissioner ombudsman shall include 
  5.7   any statement the administrative agency may have made to the 
  5.8   commissioner ombudsman by way of explaining its past 
  5.9   difficulties or its present rejection of the commissioner's 
  5.10  ombudsman's proposals.  
  5.11     Subd. 6.  [REPORTS.] In addition to whatever reports 
  5.12  the commissioner ombudsman may make from time to time, the 
  5.13  commissioner ombudsman shall biennially report to the 
  5.14  legislature and to the governor concerning the exercise of the 
  5.15  commissioner's ombudsman functions under sections 611A.72 to 
  5.16  611A.74 during the preceding biennium.  The biennial report is 
  5.17  due on or before the beginning of the legislative session 
  5.18  following the end of the biennium.  
  5.19     [EFFECTIVE DATE.] This section is effective July 1, 2003. 
  5.20     Sec. 5.  [APPROPRIATION.] 
  5.21     $.......  in fiscal year 2004 and $.......  in fiscal year 
  5.22  2005 are appropriated from the general fund to the crime victim 
  5.23  ombudsman to carry out functions under the Crime Victim 
  5.24  Ombudsman Act.