ASSEMBLY, No. 875

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

214th LEGISLATURE

 

PRE-FILED FOR INTRODUCTION IN THE 2010 SESSION

 


 

Sponsored by:

Assemblywoman  NELLIE POU

District 35 (Bergen and Passaic)

Assemblyman  GORDON M. JOHNSON

District 37 (Bergen)

 

Co-Sponsored by:

Assemblywoman Quijano

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Authorizes the issuance of restraining orders in situations where the domestic violence statutes do not apply; repeals section 2 of P.L.1999, c.47.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     Introduced Pending Technical Review by Legislative Counsel

  


An Act concerning restraining orders, supplementing Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes and repealing section 2 of P.L.1999, c.47.

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.  a.  A plaintiff may file a complaint with the Superior Court in conformity with the rules of court alleging that he is a victim of any of the offenses set forth in subsection b. of this section and requesting that the court issue a temporary restraining order against the defendant which limits the contact of the defendant and the plaintiff.

     b.  A temporary restraining order may be issued by the court upon an allegation that the defendant committed any of the following offenses:

     (1)  Assault  N.J.S.2C:12-1

     (2)  Terroristic threats  N.J.S.2C:12-3

     (3)  Kidnapping  N.J.S.2C:13-1

     (4)  Criminal restraint  N.J.S.2C:13-2

     (5)  False imprisonment  N.J.S.2C:13-3

     (6)  Sexual assault  N.J.S.2C:14-2

     (7)  Criminal sexual contact  N.J.S.2C:14-3

     (8)  Lewdness  N.J.S.2C:14-4

     (9)  Criminal mischief  N.J.S.2C:17-3

     (10)  Burglary  N.J.S.2C:18-2

     (11)  Criminal trespass  N.J.S.2C:18-3

     (12)  Harassment  N.J.S.2C:33-4

     (13)  Stalking  P.L.1992, c.209 (C.2C:12-10)

     c.  In any case where the alleged victim is a child under the age of 18 years or is developmentally disabled as defined in section 3 of P.L.1977, c.200 (C.5:5-44.4) or where the alleged victim is 18 years of age or older and is mentally defective as defined in N.J.S.2C:14-1, the complaint may be filed by the alleged victim's parent or guardian on his behalf.

     d.  A complaint seeking a temporary restraining order may be filed with the Superior Court in conformity with the rules of court.  The plaintiff may seek emergency, ex parte relief.  A decision shall be made by the judge regarding the emergency relief forthwith.  If it appears that the plaintiff is in danger of the defendant committing any of the offenses listed in subsection b. of this section, the judge shall issue a temporary restraining order pursuant to subsection f. of this section.

     e.  A conviction of an offense shall not be a prerequisite for the grant of a temporary or permanent restraining order under this act.

     f.  A temporary restraining order issued under this act shall limit the contact of the defendant and the plaintiff and in addition may grant all of the relief specified in section 2 of P.L.   , c.   (C.    ) (now pending before the Legislature as this bill).

     g.  A hearing shall be held in the Superior Court within 10 days of the issuance of any temporary restraining order which was issued on an emergency, ex parte basis.  A copy of the complaint shall be served on the defendant in conformity with the rules of court.  At the hearing the standard for issuing a permanent restraining order shall be by a preponderance of the evidence.

     h.  If the court rules that a permanent restraining order shall be issued, the order shall remain in effect until the plaintiff or, in the case of a plaintiff who is a child, is developmentally disabled or is mentally defective pursuant to subsection c. of this section, the parent or guardian of the plaintiff, requests that the restraining order be dismissed and the court finds just cause to do so.

     i.  The provisions of this act are in addition to, and not in lieu of, the provisions of section 3 of P.L.1996, c.39 (C.2C:12-10.1) which provide that a judgment of conviction for stalking shall operate as an application for a permanent restraining order limiting the contact of the defendant and the victim.

 

     2.    a. A permanent restraining order issued pursuant to subsections g. and h. of section 1 of P.L.     ,  c.      (C.    ) (now pending before the Legislature as section 1 of this bill) may grant the following specific relief:

     (1)   An order restraining the defendant from entering the residence, property, school, or place of employment of the plaintiff and requiring the defendant to stay away from any specified place that is named in the order and is frequented regularly by the plaintiff.

     (2)   An order restraining the defendant from making contact with the plaintiff, including an order forbidding the defendant from personally or through an agent initiating any communication likely to cause annoyance or alarm including, but not limited to, personal, written, or telephone contact with the plaintiff, the plaintiff's employers, employees, or fellow workers, or others with whom communication would be likely to cause annoyance or alarm to the plaintiff.

     b.    Notice of permanent restraining orders issued pursuant to this act shall be sent by the clerk of the court or other person designated by the court to the appropriate chiefs of police, members of the State Police and any other appropriate law enforcement agency or court.

     c.     Any permanent restraining order issued pursuant to this act shall be in effect throughout the State, and shall be enforced by all law enforcement officers.

     d.    A violation by the defendant of an order issued pursuant to this act shall constitute an offense under subsection a. of N.J.S.2C:29-9 and each order shall so state.  Violations of these orders may be enforced in a civil or criminal action initiated by the plaintiff or by the court, on its own motion, pursuant to applicable court rules.  Nothing in this act shall preclude the filing of a criminal complaint based on the same act which is the basis for the violation of the permanent restraining order.

 

     3.    The Supreme Court may adopt Rules of Court to implement the purposes of this act.

 

     4.    Section 2 of P.L.1999, c.47 (C.2C:12-10.2) is hereby repealed.

 

     5.    This act shall take effect on the 90th day following enactment.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill authorizes the issuance of restraining orders in situations where the the domestic violence statutes are inapplicable because the victim lacks a prior relationship with the offender.

     Under the "Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1991," (N.J.S.A.2C:25-17 et al.), the court may issue restraining orders to protect victims who have had particular specified relationships with the defendant: the victim must either be a spouse, former spouse, or present or former household member of the defendant; have a child in common or anticipate having a child in common with the defendant, if one of the parties is pregnant; or have had a dating relationship with the defendant.

     This bill would allow victims in other situations -- for example, where the victim does not know the defendant, or where the defendant is a casual acquaintance or co-worker -- to obtain restraining orders as well.

     Under the bill, a person may file a complaint with the Superior Court  alleging that he or she is a victim of any of the offenses listed in the bill and requesting the issuance of a temporary restraining order  against the defendant.  The offenses listed in the bill which could trigger the issuance of a temporary restraining order are assault; terroristic threats;  kidnapping; criminal restraint; false imprisonment; sexual assault;  criminal sexual contact; lewdness; criminal mischief; burglary; criminal trespass; harassment, and stalking.

     In any case where the alleged victim is a child under the age of 18 years or is developmentally disabled as defined in section 3 of P.L.1977, c.200 (C.5:5-44.4) or where the alleged victim is 18 years of age or older and is mentally defective as defined in N.J.S.2C:14-1, the complaint may be filed by the alleged victim's parent or guardian on his behalf.


     Under the bill, a complaint seeking a temporary restraining order may be filed with the Superior Court in conformity with the rules of court.  The alleged victim may seek emergency, ex parte relief.  A decision would be made by the judge regarding the emergency relief forthwith.  If it appears that the alleged victim is in danger of the defendant committing any of the offenses listed in the bill, the judge would issue a temporary restraining order.  Conviction of an offense would not be a prerequisite for the grant of a temporary or permanent restraining order.

     The temporary restraining order issued under the bill would limit the contact of the defendant and the alleged victim.  A hearing would be held in the Superior Court within 10 days of the issuance of any temporary restraining order which was issued on an emergency, ex parte basis.  A copy of the complaint would be served on the defendant in conformity with the rules of court.  At the hearing the standard for issuing a permanent restraining order would be by a preponderance of the evidence.

     If the court rules that a permanent restraining order should be issued, the order would remain in effect until the plaintiff or, in the case of a plaintiff who is a child, is developmentally disabled or is mentally defective, the plaintiff's parent or guardian, requests that the restraining order be dismissed and the court finds just cause to do so.

     A permanent restraining order issued under the bill could grant the following specific relief:

     (1)   An order restraining the defendant from entering the residence, property, school, or place of employment of the plaintiff and requiring the defendant to stay away from any specified place that is named in the order and is frequented regularly by the plaintiff.

     (2)   An order restraining the defendant from making contact with the plaintiff, including an order forbidding the defendant from personally or through an agent initiating any communication likely to cause annoyance or alarm including, but not limited to, personal, written, or telephone contact with the plaintiff, the plaintiff's employers, employees, or fellow workers, or others with whom communication would be likely to cause annoyance or alarm to the plaintiff.

     The bill provides that notice of permanent restraining orders would be sent by the court to the appropriate law enforcement authorities and be enforced by all law enforcement officers.

     A violation by the defendant of a restraining order issued pursuant to this act would constitute an offense under subsection a. of N.J.S.2C:29-9, Contempt, a crime of the fourth degree.  (A crime of the fourth degree is punishable by a term of imprisonment of up to 18 months or a fine of up to $10,000 or both.)  Violations of these orders may be enforced in a civil or criminal action initiated
by the victim or by the court, on its own motion, pursuant to applicable court rules.

     The bill also specifies that it shall not preclude the filing of a criminal complaint based on the same act which is the basis for the violation of the permanent restraining order.

     The bill repeals N.J.S.A.2C:12-10.2, which would no longer be necessary under the bill.  This statute authorizes the parent or guardian of a child or developmentally disabled person to apply for a temporary and permanent restraining order in situations where the defendant is accused of stalking.  The provisions of this bill would encompass such situations.