State v. Boswell
Connecticut General Statutes §54-142d, read in context with the definition of offense in C.G.S. §53a-24, requires the court, upon a defendant's petition, to order erasure and destruction of records related to a crime that has been decriminalized, regardless of whether other crimes have the same name or are listed in the same statute. Zachery Boswell pleaded guilty under the Alford doctrine to sexual assault in the second degree (statutory rape) under C.G.S. §53a-71(a). C.G.S. §53a-71(a) then provided, relevantly, that "[a] person is guilty of sexual assault in the second degree when such person engages in sexual intercourse with another person and…(1) [s]uch other person is thirteen years of age or older but under sixteen years of age and the actor is more than two years older than such other person…" Boswell was two years and five months older than the victim. In 2007, the legislature amended C.G.S. §53a-71(a)(1), raising the age difference from two years to three years. Boswell filed a petition for destruction of the record of his statutory rape charge pursuant to C.G.S. §54-142d. The court denied the petition but terminated Boswell's probation. The court articulated that the underlying facts of the case did not support the claim that the sexual act was consensual. Boswell appealed claiming that the court erred in failing to follow the mandatory command of C.G.S. §54-142d to order destruction of records of an offense when that offense has been decriminalized. The Appellate Court agreed and reversed the judgment as to the denial of the defendant's petition. The state conceded that the court was not permitted to rely on the underlying conduct alleged but was confined to considering the offense for which the defendant was convicted. The sole issue was whether, under C.G.S. §54-142d, offenses include only entire statutes or subdivisions, or instead, also include specific acts once deemed illegal, but then legalized by changes in the text of specific statutes. The Appellate Court concluded that the plain language of C.G.S. §54-142d, read in context with the definition of offense in C.G.S. §53a-24, requires the court, upon a defendant's petition, to order erasure and destruction of records related to a crime that has been decriminalized, regardless of whether other crimes have the same name or are listed in the same statute.