NEW JERSEY STATE LEGISION – THE BIG TWO
THE VICTIM’S RIGHTS AMENDMENT
NJ Constitution, Article 1, paragraph 22, effective December 5, 1991.
“A victim of crime shall be treated with fairness, compassion and respect by the criminal justice system. A victim of a crime shall not be denied the right to be present at public judicial proceedings except when, prior to completing testimony, as a witness, the victim is properly sequestered in accordance with law or the Rules Governing the Courts of the State of New Jersey. A victim of a crime shall be entitled to those rights and remedies as may be provided by the Legislature. For the purposes of this paragraph, victim of a crime means: a). A person who has suffered physical or psychological injury or has incurred loss of or damage to personal or real property as a result of a crime or an incident involving another person operating a motor vehicle while under the influence or drugs or alcohol; and b). the spouse, parent, legal guardian, grandparent, child or sibling of the decedent in the case of a criminal homicide.”
CRIME VICTIMS BILL OF RIGHTS
The Legislature finds and declares that crime victims and witnesses are entitled to the following rights:
a. To be treated with dignity and compassion by the criminal justice system;
b. To be informed about the criminal justice process;
c. To be free from intimidation;
d. To have inconveniences associated with participation in the criminal justice process minimized to the fullest extent possible;
e. To make at least one telephone call provided the call is reasonable in both length and location called;
f. To medical assistance if, in the judgment of the law enforcement agency, medical assistance appears necessary;
g. To be notified if presence in court is not needed;
h. To be informed about available remedies, financial assistance and social services;
i. To be compensated for their loss whenever possible;
j. To be provided a secure, but not necessarily separate, waiting area during court proceedings;
k. To be advised of case progress and final disposition;
l. To the prompt return of property when no longer needed as evidence;
m. To submit a written statement about the impact of the crime to a representative of the county prosecutor’s office which shall be considered prior to the prosecutor’s final decision concerning whether formal criminal charges will be filed;
n. To make, prior to sentencing, an in-person statement directly to the sentencing court concerning the impact of the crime.
This statement is to be made in addition to the statement permitted for inclusion in the presentence report by N.J.S.2C:44-6.
In any homicide prosecution the victim’s survivor may display directly to the sentencing court at the time of this statement a photograph of the victim taken before the homicide; and
o. No crime victim shall be required to pay the maintenance, support, rehabilitation or other costs arising from the imprisonment or commitment of a victimizer as a result of the crime.”
IMPORTANT PASSED NEW JERSEY LEGISLATION AFFECTING CRIME VICTIMS 1971 TO THE PRESENT
Jump to Year: 1971 | 1985 | 1987 | 1988 | 1991 | 1993 | 1994 | 1995 | 1996 | 1997 | 1999 | 2000 | 2001 | 2002 | 2003 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007
1971Victim Compensation - Passage of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Act.
This law established the Violent Crimes Compensation Board (VCCB) s part of the Executive Branch of the State Government. The law provides for compensation to victims of crime and, in the case of death, to their survivors. Note, see the new law enacted August 1, 2007 abolishing the VCCB, and establishing the new Victims of Crime Compensation Agency (VCCA).
1985Office of Victim Witness Advocacy Established.
Under the authority of the State Attorney General the State Office of Victim Witness Advocacy was established.
Office of County Victim-Witness Advocacy Established.
Drunk Driving Victims' Bill of Rights.
1987Attorney General's Interim Standards.
The 1985 law establishing the Crime Victims Bill of Rights called for the Attorney General to implement standards to ensure that the rights of crime victims are enforced On April 24, 1987, Attorney General Cary Edwards established interim standards to ensure rights of crime victims.
1988Attorney General's General Standards
On April 21, 1988, the Attorney General established general standards which followed the language of the statute as to the enumerated rights to be protected.
1991New Jersey Victims Rights Amendment
See full text above.
Crime Victims' Bill of Rights expanded
See full text above.
Section (m) permits a victim to submit a written impact statement to be considered prior to the prosecutor's final decision as to whether to file formal charges.
Section (n) permits an in person impact statement prior to sentencing.
On November 12, 1991, Governor Florio signed into law the Prevention of Domestic Violence Law intended to assure the victims of domestic violence the maximum protection from abuse the law can provide. N.J.S.A. 2C:25-17 et. seq.
Increased monetary assessments imposed upon individuals sentenced.
Provided for a sentence of restitution to the victim in addition to a sentence of imprisonment or probation in certain circumstances.
At the initiation of Governor Florio on January 25, 1993, the Clemency Bill was enacted to make the process public of granting pardons to convicted criminals by requiring that on or before March 1 of each year, the Governor shall report to the Legislature each reprieve, pardon and commutation granted, stating the name of the convicted person, the crime for which the person was convicted, the sentence imposed, its date, the date of the pardon, reprieve or commutation and the reasons for granting same.
The Parole Act of 1979 was amended to provide that the Parole Board shall notify the family of a murder victim of the killer’s parole hearing and the family members shall be afforded the opportunity to testify in person or to submit written statements to the Board.
On January 4, 1993, the New Jersey Anti-Stalking Law went into effect. It is intended to protect victims who are repeatedly followed and threatened and is modeled after the 1990 California statute. The law provided that a person is guilty of the crime of stalking if he purposely and repeatedly follows or harasses another person and makes a credible threat with the intent to place that person in reasonable fear of death or serious bodily injury.
1994The Domestic Violence Act
This law was further amended in 1994 to provide the following:
1. Additional notification to victims under certain circumstances. N.J.S.A. 2C:25-26.1.
2. The establishment of a Domestic Crisis Team. N.J.S.A. 2C:25-20
3. The addition of stalking as an incidence of domestic violence. N.J.S.A. 2C:25-19.
Consisting of nine legislative bills, signed into law by the governor on October 31, 1994. The law, named after sexual assault and murder victim, Megan Kanka, has various provisions. However, the section involving community notification has received the most attention.
The provisions of the law provide for:
1. An aggravating factor in the imposition of the death penalty if the victim was under the age of fourteen years.
2. Terms of life imprisonment for sexual assaults on children.
3. The maintenance of a central registry for sex offenders.
4. Notification to police of released sex offenders.
5. Notification to community of releases sex offenders.
6. Lifetime supervision of compulsive sex offenders.
7. DNA testing of convicted sex offenders.
8. Civil commitment of dangerous criminals.
9. No good time credits for sex offenders who refuse treatment.
The police and community notification provisions of Megan's Law provide:
A. That convicted sex offenders, after their release, must register with the local police department in the municipality in which they intend to reside;
B. That the county prosecutor will determine the level of risk (low, moderate or high) that the offender poses to the community by placing the individual in a classification of tier 1, 2 or 3. The extent in which the individual is placed, tier 3 requiring substantial public notification;
C. That the law applies to all convicted offenders who are required to register pursuant to the law including offenders convicted or adjudicated delinquent of certain crimes, those released from custody since October 31, 1994, those who are on probation or parole as of October 31, 1994 and those offenders who have been found to be repetitive and compulsive by ADTC or a court regardless of the date of conviction or adjudication.
The Attorney General was directed by the Legislature to develop standards to implement the notification provisions. With the assistance of a public advisory commissioner, these standards were implemented.
Victim Services for Sexual Assault Victims
This statute, requiring the Attorney General’s standards to insure the rights of crime victims was amended to provide counseling assistance in applying for compensation through appropriate services to a victim of sexual assault. The services may also be provided to any victims of crimes where risk of disease transmission is indicated.
Rape Shield Law
Amended existing law to restrict the admissibility of the victim’s prior sexual conduct.
N. J. Campus Sexual Assault Victim's Bill of Rights Act
1995Victim Impact Statement (Death Penalty Cases)
Amended the murder statute by providing that the prosecution is permitted to offer testimony by the relatives of the murder victim as to the impact of the death of the victim on them under certain circumstances.
Amended law to give crime victims or their family members the right to access to offender information and to make a victim impact statement in juvenile proceedings at the time of the disposition of the matter by the court.
Judgment against Juvenile after End of Disposition Period
If the court orders restitution, VCCB assessment or other penalty, it shall be reduced to judgment and docketed with the Superior Court at the conclusion of the disposition period.
Truth in Sentencing Law
Amended to clarify statements on the record made by the court at the time of sentencing.
Statute of Limitations (Sexual Assault Victims-Civil)
Statute amended to increase the statute of limitations relating to sexual assault by providing that the statute does not begin to run until at least two years after the discovery of the offense by the victim.
Rape Shield Law
Amended to further restrict the admissibility of the victim’s manner of dress.
Persistent Offender Accountability Act
Also referred to as “Three Strikes and You're In” provides that a person convicted of violent crimes on three or more occasions shall be sentenced to a mandatory term of life imprisonment.
Parental Responsibility for Acts of Juveniles
This Act, which created the Juvenile Justice Commission, expands parental responsibility by providing that a parent or guardian who has failed or neglected to exercise reasonable supervision or control of a juvenile who has been adjudicated a delinquent, may be ordered to make restitution for the victim’s loss.
1996Death by Auto
Existing law amended to make it a second degree crime with a three year minimum if a driver was drunk or suspended. A companion law revoked registration privileges for DWI conviction or second conviction within 10 years for driving while suspended.
Statute of limitations (crime of sexual assault eliminated)
Prompted by the death of Susan Negersmith.
Stalking definition broadened
Added individuals who purposefully engage in activity that causes a reasonable person to fear death or bodily harm and individuals who knowingly, recklessly or negligently place another in fear of death or bodily injury; allows for permanent restraining orders against stalkers.
Amends the murder statute to provide for life in prison without parole for anyone committing sexual assault of a child while in the commission of a murder. Prompted by the death of Joan Dallesandro.
Stalking and Harassment
Upgrades the crimes of stalking or harassment to the next degree if committed against the same victim or while an inmate serving a term of imprisonment or while on parole or probation as the result of a conviction for an indictable offense.
Protecting victim’s information from inmate and to prohibit inmate’s access to certain information concerning victims.
Notice to Victims and Prosecutors – Department of Corrections
Amended laws to require Department of Corrections to provide notice of certain inmate custody status reviews to the prosecutors and the victims of the inmates’ crimes.
Amended the New Jersey Stalking Law to provide for a temporary restraining order for children and certain adults who are the victims of stalking.
Established criminal and enhanced penalties for street gang activity and criminal penalties for recruiting gang members.
Death Penalty/Domestic Violence
Adds violation of domestic violence restraining order to the list of aggravating factors in the death penalty statute
Changed the retreat doctrine regarding the use of deadly force with respect to victims of domestic violence assaulted by cohabitant spouses or cohabitant household members in a shared dwelling.
Crime Victim’s Bill of Rights/Homicide Victim’s Photo at sentencing
Amended to permit the victim’s survivor or survivors in any homicide prosecution to present a photograph of the victim taken before the homicide at the sentencing phase of the prosecution. This bill was inspired by the case involving 16 year old murder victim Nielsa Mason.
Victim Attending at Executions
Permits immediate family to be present at the condemned persons execution; victim’s family’s names who witness the execution are not to be disclosed.
Parole Hearings – Videotapes of Victim’s testimony
Permits victims to submit videotaped statements, for use in parole hearings, as opposed to appearing in person or submitting a written statement.
2000The Tony Pompelio Commemorative Scholarship Fund
Introduced in 1989 and each year thereafter Governor Whitman finally signed into this bill into law , on December 7, 2000, to benefit the children of crime victims. Essentially,. created a special fund which allowed the children of crime victims the opportunity to attend college through the commemoration of the death of Tony Pompelio, a crime victim, by establishing a scholarship fund. This new law established a Board of Trustees to administer the fund consisting solely of crime victims or family members of a crime victim. The law also set forth guidelines for awarding the scholarships as well as qualifications for applicants and eligibility restrictions.
To date there has been no money appropriated by the Legislature for this fund. Private scholarships to crime victims have been given by the New Jersey Crime Victims’ Law Center over the past decade through fundraising events.
2001Endangering an injured victim
Amended to allow stalking victims who are protected by a temporary restraining order to register to vote without publicly disclosing their street address. The law also defined that any person who makes public any information with respect to the stalking victim concerning mailing address, post office box or other contact point of the victim or the victim’s family is guilty of a crime of the fourth degree.
The Domestic Violence Victims Fund Signed into law by Acting Governor DiFrancesco on August 2, 2001, P.L. 2001, c. 195, established civil penalties on domestic violence offenders. set forth civil penalties to be imposed for certain domestic violence offenders to be determined, at the court’s discretion, taking into account the nature and degree of injury to the victim as well as the offender’s ability to pay. [N.J..A. 30:14-15] established the Domestic Violence Victims Fund which is the fund responsible for collecting the civil penalties imposed on domestic violence offenders. The law defines what the monies
In response to the horrific events suffered by this country on September 11, 2001, Acting Governor DiFrancesco, signed into law two terrorism-related bills. P.L. 2001, c 247 amended to change the presumption of death after 5 years absence to a presumption of death after exposure to a specific catastrophic event which has resulted in a loss of life to persons known or unknown. Thus, the 5 year presumption of death may be waived when the Governor certifies a specific event as a catastrophic event resulting in loss of life.
New Jersey Terrorism Victims’ New Jersey Terrorism Victims’ Assistance Act of 2001 created the New Jersey Terrorism Victims’ Assistance Act of 2001. This Act allows the Governor to waive waiting periods, grant extensions of time or approve payment of benefits to any person who suffered personal injury, death, loss of a family member, loss of or damage to real or personal property, or business interruption as a result of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack. This act took effect on October 4, 2001 and expired on December 31, 2001.
2002Sexual Assault Awareness Month
A joint resolution designating the month of April in each year as Sexual Assault Awareness Month in New Jersey was adopted and subsequently. This resolution was codified at and signed into law by Governor McGreevey on November 22, 2002.
New Jersey Terrorism Victims’ Assistance Act of 2001
On June 18, 2002, Governor McGreevey signed into law the September 11th, 2001 Anti-Terrorism Act. This Act defines terrorism, the degree, the sentence to be imposed if found guilty, and the crimes encompassed by this section.
Assault on Youth
Upgrades assault charge - amends N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1 by upgrading the disorderly persons charge of simple assault to the crime of aggravated assault when committed at a youth sports event. Criminalization of the desecration of human remains.
2003Sexual Assault Victims – Consult with Prosecutor on Plea Negotiations
Criminal Code amended to provide that whenever there is a prosecution for a violation of N.J.S.A.2C:14-2, the victim of the sexual assault shall be provided an opportunity to consult with the prosecuting authority prior to the conclusion of any plea negotiations.
Driving While Fatigued - Reckless offense under the vehicular homicide statute
Established as law, driving while fatigued and made it a reckless offense under the vehicular homicide statute.
Bail – Requirement of Posting Full Cash Bail
Statute clarified that a court may require the posting of full cash bail in cases including serious crimes, became law.
Upgrades penalties for identity theft and allows for a civil action for the victims of identify theft.
Criminal Memorabilia Law
Requires proceeds of the sale of criminal memorabilia to be deposited into the escrow account for victims.
Sex Offenders – Lifetime Community Supervision
Clarifies that lifetime community supervision for sex offenders is parole supervision and sex offenders are subject to all of the requirements and expectations of the parolees for the rest of their life.
Domestic Violence/Stalking – Possession of Firearms
Prohibits anyone convicted of stalking or anyone subjected to a domestic violence restraining order from possessing a firearm.
Drunk Driving – Municipal Prosecutions
Requires municipal prosecutors to review motor vehicle abstracts of DWI offenders prior to sentencing.
2005Sexual Assault Victims – Emergency Contraception for Victims
Requires hospitals and satellite emergency departments to provide care to sexual assault victims as well as provide information about emergency contraception.
Honoring Holocaust Survivors and American Soldiers
Joint Resolution No. 6 2005
On May 5, 2005, Acting Governor Codey approved a resolution honoring Holocaust victims and survivors as well as the United States soldiers who liberated the concentration camps over 60 years ago.
2006Human Trafficking – Crime Established and Victim Compensation Provided
Established the crime of human trafficking, and authorized victim compensation and services.
Charitable Immunity – Civil Actions – Abolished
Abolishes the defense of charitable immunity in civil actions.
Prosecutions – Death and Serious Bodily Injury Cases
In motor vehicle matters involving death or serious bodily injury, the Superior Court has exclusive jurisdiction.
2007Megan’s Law – Address Verification Required Prior to Release
Address verification of offender is required prior to release from custody.
Identity Theft – Prohibition of Discrimination by Creditors against Victims
Prohibits discrimination by creditors against victims of identity theft.
Intensive Supervision – Restrictions on Entry into ISP Program
Pretrial Intervention – Restrictions on Entry into PTI Program