The Vermont Statutes Online
§ 1458. Definitions
For purposes of this chapter only:
(1) "Complainant" means a person who has suffered damage as a result of a hate-motivated crime.
(2) "Damage" includes destruction or defacement of personal or real property, personal injury, or the receipt of threats of violence. "Threats of violence" means verbal, electronic, or written communication, or course of conduct, or a combination thereof, that causes reasonable fear of injury to the complainant or the complainant's property.
(3) A "hate-motivated crime" occurs whenever a person engages in conduct prohibited by chapter 31 of this title or section 1063 of this title that causes damage to the person at whom the conduct was directed.
(4) "Hate-motivated crime injunction" or "order" means an injunction or other order issued under this chapter.
(5) "Plaintiff" means the Attorney General or a complainant.
(6) "Protected category" includes race, color, religion, national origin, sex, ancestry, age, service in the U.S. Armed Forces or the National Guard, disability as defined by 21 V.S.A. § 495d(5), sexual orientation, gender identity, and perceived membership in any such group. (Added 1999, No. 56, § 3; amended 2013, No. 96 (Adj. Sess.), § 54; 2021, No. 34, § 3, eff. May 18, 2021.)
§ 1459. Commencement of action and hearing
(a) The Superior Court shall have jurisdiction over proceedings under this chapter. The Vermont Rules of Civil Procedure and the Vermont Rules of Evidence shall apply.
(b) Proceedings under this chapter may be commenced in the county in which the complainant or the defendant resides, or in the county in which the incident occurred.
(c) A plaintiff may seek a hate-motivated crime injunction by filing a complaint under this chapter.
(d) A preliminary hearing upon the complaint shall be scheduled as soon as reasonably possible in consideration of the safety of the complainant. (Added 1999, No. 56, § 3.)
§ 1460. Juvenile defendants
(a) The general public shall be excluded from hearings held in the Civil Division of the Superior Court under this chapter where the defendant is under the age of 16. Only the parties, their counsel, the complainant, witnesses, and other persons accompanying a party for the party's assistance, and such other persons as the court finds to have a proper interest in the case, or in the work of the court, may be admitted by the court. In such a case, there shall be no publicity given by any person to any proceedings under the authority of this chapter except with the consent of the defendant and his or her parent or guardian. The records in such a case shall be subject to the confidentiality provision of 33 V.S.A. § 5117. Upon its own motion or the motion of a party, the court may open the hearing for good cause shown, in consideration of relevant factors, including the likelihood that a court would make a determination that charges against the defendant with respect to the underlying crime on which the hate-motivated crime injunction is based should be heard in the Criminal Division of the Superior Court pursuant to 33 V.S.A. chapter 52.
(b) If the defendant is 16 to 17 years of age, the hearing shall be open to the general public. However, upon its own motion or the motion of a party, the court may close the hearing for good cause shown. If the court orders the hearing to be closed, the confidentiality provisions of subsection (a) of this section shall apply.
(c) If a hate-motivated crime injunction is issued under this section, the court shall give notice of the contents of the order to the complainant, and to any school personnel or other appropriate persons the court finds to have a proper interest in the case and whose knowledge of the contents of the order is reasonably necessary to ensure the defendant's compliance with the order, regardless of whether the proceedings were open or closed to the general public. (Added 1999, No. 56, § 3; amended 2009, No. 154, § 238; 2013, No. 131 (Adj. Sess.), § 106.)
§ 1461. Relief
(a) If the court finds by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant has committed a hate-motivated crime against the complainant, or if the parties stipulate to an order, the court shall make such preliminary and final orders as it deems necessary to protect the complainant and the complainant's property and other appropriate persons who are in need of protection and such persons' property, including any of the following orders:
(1) an order to refrain from committing any crime against the complainant;
(2) an order restricting the defendant's ability to contact the complainant;
(3) an order prohibiting the defendant from coming within a fixed distance of the complainant, the complainant's residence or other designated locations where the complainant is likely to spend time;
(4) an order to refrain from committing a hate-motivated crime against the complainant, other appropriate persons who are in need of protection and members of any protected category.
(b) A preliminary order issued under this chapter shall remain in effect until a final order is issued or for a fixed period that the court deems appropriate, but in no event more than 120 days without a further order from the court. A final order shall be issued for a fixed period, but in no event more than two years without a further order from the court. The court may extend any order for such time as it deems necessary to protect the complainant, other appropriate persons who are in need of protection and members of any protected category. It shall not be necessary for the court to find that the defendant has committed a hate-motivated crime during the pendency of an order to extend the terms of the order; however, the court shall find that there is a reasonable basis for continued protection. The court may modify its order at any subsequent time upon motion by either party and a showing of good cause.
(c) Every preliminary or final order issued under this section shall bear the following language: VIOLATION OF THIS ORDER MAY BE PROSECUTED AS A CRIME PUNISHABLE BY A TERM OF IMPRISONMENT OR A FINE, OR BOTH, OR MAY BE PROSECUTED AS CRIMINAL CONTEMPT PUNISHABLE BY A TERM OF IMPRISONMENT OR A FINE, OR BOTH. (Added 1999, No. 56, § 3.)
§§ 1461-1467. Repealed. 1987, No. 234 (Adj. Sess.), § 3.
§ 1462. Service
Hate-motivated crime complaints, notices of hearing, and orders shall be served as soon as reasonably possible and in a manner that takes into consideration the safety of the complainant. (Added 1999, No. 56, § 3.)
§ 1463. Procedure
(a) Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, proceedings commenced under this chapter shall be in addition to any other available civil or criminal remedies.
(b) The Supreme Court shall establish procedures consistent with this chapter that provide prompt access to relief.
(c) Police departments, sheriffs' departments, and the State Police shall establish procedures for filing orders issued under this chapter and for making their personnel aware of the existence and contents of such orders.
(d) The court that issues an order under this chapter shall transmit a copy of the order to the Department of Public Safety relief from abuse database. (Added 1999, No. 56, § 3.)
§ 1464. Enforcement
(a) Law enforcement officers are authorized to enforce orders issued under this chapter. Enforcement may include making an arrest in accordance with the provisions of Rule 3 of the Vermont Rules of Criminal Procedure.
(b) A law enforcement officer may rely upon a copy of any order issued under this chapter which has been provided to the law enforcement officer by any source. (Added 1999, No. 56, § 3.)
§ 1465. Penalties
(a) Provided that notice was properly served, a person who violates a hate-motivated crime injunction issued under this chapter shall be imprisoned not more than one year or fined not more than $2,000.00, or both.
(b) A person who is convicted of a second or subsequent offense under this section shall be imprisoned not more than three years or fined not more than $10,000.00, or both.
(c) Nothing in this section shall be construed to diminish the inherent authority of the courts to enforce their lawful orders through contempt proceedings.
(d) Prosecution under this section shall not bar prosecution for any other crime, including any crime that may have been committed at the time of the violation of the hate-motivated crime injunction. (Added 1999, No. 56, § 3.)
§ 1466. Civil penalties
The Attorney General may seek the imposition of a civil penalty of not more than $5,000.00, plus costs and reasonable attorney's fees for each violation of section 1455 or 1456 of this title, including violations of any injunction issued pursuant to this chapter. (Added 1999, No. 56, § 3.)