ASSEMBLY, No. 3890

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

214th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED MARCH 7, 2011

 


 

Sponsored by:

Assemblyman  JOHN F. MCKEON

District 27 (Essex)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Requires mandatory incarceration for motor vehicle theft offenses.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

  


An Act concerning mandatory sentencing for automobile theft and amending N.J.S.2C:44-1 and P.L.1982, c.77.

 

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

 

     1.    N.J.S. 2C:44-1 is amended to read as follows:

     2C:44-1.  Criteria for Withholding or Imposing Sentence of Imprisonment. a. In determining the appropriate sentence to be imposed on a person who has been convicted of an offense, the court shall consider the following aggravating circumstances:

     (1)   The nature and circumstances of the offense, and the role of the actor therein, including whether or not it was committed in an especially heinous, cruel, or depraved manner;

     (2)   The gravity and seriousness of harm inflicted on the victim, including whether or not the defendant knew or reasonably should have known that the victim of the offense was particularly vulnerable or incapable of resistance due to advanced age, ill-health, or extreme youth, or was for any other reason substantially incapable of exercising normal physical or mental power of resistance;

     (3)   The risk that the defendant will commit another offense;

     (4)   A lesser sentence will depreciate the seriousness of the defendant's offense because it involved a breach of the public trust under chapters 27 and 30, or the defendant took advantage of a position of trust or confidence to commit the offense;

     (5)   There is a substantial likelihood that the defendant is involved in organized criminal activity;

     (6)   The extent of the defendant's prior criminal record and the seriousness of the offenses of which he has been convicted;

     (7)   The defendant committed the offense pursuant to an agreement that he either pay or be paid for the commission of the offense and the pecuniary incentive was beyond that inherent in the offense itself;

     (8)   The defendant committed the offense against a police or other law enforcement officer, correctional employee or fireman, acting in the performance of his duties while in uniform or exhibiting evidence of his authority; the defendant committed the offense because of the status of the victim as a public servant; or the defendant committed the offense against a sports official, athletic coach or manager, acting in or immediately following the performance of his duties or because of the person's status as a sports official, coach or manager;

     (9)   The need for deterring the defendant and others from violating the law;

     (10) The offense involved fraudulent or deceptive practices committed against any department or division of State government;

     (11) The imposition of a fine, penalty or order of restitution without also imposing a term of imprisonment would be perceived by the defendant or others merely as part of the cost of doing business, or as an acceptable contingent business or operating expense associated with the initial decision to resort to unlawful practices;

     (12)  The defendant committed the offense against a person who he knew or should have known was 60 years of age or older, or disabled; and

     (13) The defendant, while in the course of committing or attempting to commit the crime, including the immediate flight therefrom, used or was in possession of a stolen motor vehicle.

     b.    In determining the appropriate sentence to be imposed on a person who has been convicted of an offense, the court may properly consider the following mitigating circumstances:

     (1)   The defendant's conduct neither caused nor threatened serious harm;

     (2)   The defendant did not contemplate that his conduct would cause or threaten serious harm;

     (3)   The defendant acted under a strong provocation;

     (4)   There were substantial grounds tending to excuse or justify the defendant's conduct, though failing to establish a defense;

     (5)   The victim of the defendant's conduct induced or facilitated its commission;

     (6)   The defendant has compensated or will compensate the victim of his conduct for the damage or injury that he sustained, or will participate in a program of community service;

     (7)   The defendant has no history of prior delinquency or criminal activity or has led a law-abiding life for a substantial period of time before the commission of the present offense;

     (8)   The defendant's conduct was the result of circumstances unlikely to recur;

     (9)   The character and attitude of the defendant indicate that he is unlikely to commit another offense;

     (10) The defendant is particularly likely to respond affirmatively to probationary treatment;

     (11) The imprisonment of the defendant would entail excessive hardship to himself or his dependents;

     (12) The willingness of the defendant to cooperate with law enforcement authorities;

     (13) The conduct of a youthful defendant was substantially influenced by another person more mature than the defendant.

     c.     (1) A plea of guilty by a defendant or failure to so plead shall not be considered in withholding or imposing a sentence of imprisonment.

     (2)   When imposing a sentence of imprisonment the court shall consider the defendant's eligibility for release under the law governing parole, including time credits awarded pursuant to Title 30 of the Revised Statutes, in determining the appropriate term of imprisonment.

     d.    Presumption of imprisonment.  The court shall deal with a person who has been convicted of a crime of the first or second degree, or a crime of the third degree when the court finds that the aggravating factor in paragraph (5) of subsection a. applies, by imposing a sentence of imprisonment unless, having regard to the character and condition of the defendant, it is of the opinion that his imprisonment would be a serious injustice which overrides the need to deter such conduct by others. Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection e. of this section, the court shall deal with a person who has been convicted of theft of a motor vehicle or of the unlawful taking of a motor vehicle [and who has previously been convicted of either offense] by imposing a sentence of imprisonment which shall include a minimum term of four years during which the defendant shall not be eligible for parole [unless, having regard to the character and condition of the defendant, it is of the opinion that his imprisonment would be a serious injustice which overrides the need to deter such conduct by others].

     e.     The court shall deal with a person convicted of an offense other than a crime of the first or second degree, who has not previously been convicted of an offense, without imposing a sentence of imprisonment unless, having regard to the nature and circumstances of the offense and the history, character and condition of the defendant, it is of the opinion that his imprisonment is necessary for the protection of the public under the criteria set forth in subsection a., except that this subsection shall not apply if the court finds that the aggravating factor in paragraph (5) of subsection a. applies or if the person is convicted of any of the following crimes of the third degree: theft of a motor vehicle; unlawful taking of a motor vehicle; eluding; if the person is convicted of a crime of the third degree constituting use of a false government  document in violation of subsection c. of section 1 of P.L.1983, c.565 (C.2C:21-2.1); if the person is convicted of a crime of the third degree constituting distribution, manufacture or possession of an item containing personal identifying  information in violation of subsection b.of section 6 of P.L.2003, c.184 (C.2C:21-17.3); if the person is convicted of a crime of the third or fourth degree constituting bias intimidation in violation of N.J.S.2C:16-1; or if the person is convicted of a crime of the third degree under section 2 of P.L.1997, c.111 (C. 2C:12-1.1); or it the person is convicted of a crime of the third or fourth degree under the provisions of section 1 or 2 of P.L.2007, c.341 (C.2C:33-29 or 2C:33-30).

     f.     Presumptive Sentences. (1) Except for the crime of murder, unless the preponderance of aggravating or mitigating factors, as set forth in subsections a. and b., weighs in favor of a higher or lower term within the limits provided in N.J.S.2C:43-6, when a court determines that a sentence of imprisonment is warranted, it shall impose sentence as follows:

     (a)   To a term of 20 years for aggravated manslaughter or kidnaping pursuant to paragraph (1) of subsection c. of N.J.S.2C:13-1 when the offense constitutes a crime of the first degree;

     (b)   Except as provided in paragraph (a) of this subsection to a term of 15 years for a crime of the first degree;

     (c)   To a term of seven years for a crime of the second degree;

     (d)   To a term of four years for a crime of the third degree; and

     (e)   To a term of nine months for a crime of the fourth degree.

     In imposing a minimum term pursuant to 2C:43-6b., the sentencing court shall specifically place on the record the aggravating factors set forth in this section which justify the imposition of a minimum term.

     Unless the preponderance of mitigating factors set forth in subsection b. weighs in favor of a lower term within the limits authorized, sentences imposed pursuant to 2C:43-7a.(1) shall have a presumptive term of life imprisonment.  Unless the preponderance of aggravating and mitigating factors set forth in subsections a. and b. weighs in favor of a higher or lower term within the limits authorized, sentences imposed pursuant to 2C:43-7a.(2) shall have a presumptive term of 50 years' imprisonment; sentences imposed pursuant to 2C:43-7a.(3) shall have a presumptive term of 15 years' imprisonment; and sentences imposed pursuant to 2C:43-7a.(4) shall have a presumptive term of seven years' imprisonment.

     In imposing a minimum term pursuant to 2C:43-7b., the sentencing court shall specifically place on the record the aggravating factors set forth in this section which justify the imposition of a minimum term.

     (2)   In cases of convictions for crimes of the first or second degree where the court is clearly convinced that the mitigating factors substantially outweigh the aggravating factors and where the interest of justice demands, the court may sentence the defendant to a term appropriate to a crime of one degree lower than that of the crime for which he was convicted.  If the court does impose sentence pursuant to this paragraph, or if the court imposes a noncustodial or probationary sentence upon conviction for a crime of the first or second degree, such sentence shall not become final for 10 days in order to permit the appeal of such sentence by the prosecution.

     g.     Imposition of Noncustodial Sentences in Certain Cases.  If the court, in considering the aggravating factors set forth in subsection a., finds the aggravating factor in paragraph a.(2), a (5),  or a.(12) and does not impose a custodial sentence, the court shall specifically place on the record the mitigating factors which justify the imposition of a noncustodial sentence.

     h.     Except as provided in section 2 of P.L.1993, c.123 (C.2C:43-11), the presumption of imprisonment as provided in subsection d. of this section shall not preclude the admission of a person to the Intensive Supervision Program, established pursuant to the Rules Governing the Courts of the State of New Jersey.

(cf: P.L. 2007, c.341, s.4)

 

     2.    Section 24 of P.L. 1982, c. 77 (2A:4A-43) is amended to read as follows:

     24.  Disposition of delinquency cases.  a.  In determining the appropriate disposition for a juvenile adjudicated delinquent the court shall weigh the following factors:

     (1)   The nature and circumstances of the offense;

     (2)   The degree of injury to persons or damage to property caused by the juvenile's offense;

     (3)   The juvenile's age, previous record, prior social service received and out-of-home placement history;

     (4)   Whether the disposition supports family strength, responsibility and unity and the well-being and physical safety of the juvenile;

     (5)   Whether the disposition provides for reasonable participation by the child's parent, guardian, or custodian, provided, however, that the failure of a parent or parents to cooperate in the disposition shall not be weighed against the juvenile in arriving at an appropriate disposition;

     (6)   Whether the disposition recognizes and treats the unique physical, psychological and social characteristics and needs of the child;

     (7)   Whether the disposition contributes to the developmental needs of the child, including the academic and social needs of the child where the child has mental retardation or learning disabilities;

     (8)   Any other circumstances related to the offense and the juvenile's social history as deemed appropriate by the court;

     (9)   The impact of the offense on the victim or victims;

     (10) The impact of the offense on the community; and

     (11) The threat to the safety of the public or any individual posed by the child.

     b.    If a juvenile is adjudged delinquent, and except to the extent that an additional specific disposition is required pursuant to subsection e. or f. of this section, the court may order incarceration pursuant to section 25 of P.L.1982, c.77 (C.2A:4A-44) or any one or more of the following dispositions:

     (1)   Adjourn formal entry of disposition of the case for a period not to exceed 12 months for the purpose of determining whether the juvenile makes a satisfactory adjustment, and if during the period of continuance the juvenile makes such an adjustment, dismiss the complaint; provided that if the court adjourns formal entry of disposition of delinquency for a violation of an offense defined in chapter 35 or 36 of Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes the court shall assess the mandatory penalty set forth in N.J.S.2C:35-15 but may waive imposition of the penalty set forth in N.J.S.2C:35-16 for juveniles adjudicated delinquent;

     (2)   Release the juvenile to the supervision of the juvenile's parent or guardian;

     (3)   Place the juvenile on probation to the chief probation officer of the county or to any other suitable person who agrees to accept the duty of probation supervision for a period not to exceed three years upon such written conditions as the court deems will aid rehabilitation of the juvenile;

     (4)   Transfer custody of the juvenile to any relative or other person determined by the court to be qualified to care for the juvenile;

     (5)   Place the juvenile under the care and responsibility of the Department of Children and Families so that the commissioner may designate a division or organizational unit in the department pursuant to P.L.1951, c.138 (C.30:4C-1 et seq.) for the purpose of providing services in or out of the home.  Within 14 days, unless for good cause shown, but not later than 30 days, the Department of Children and Families shall submit to the court a service plan, which shall be presumed valid, detailing the specifics of any disposition order. The plan shall be developed within the limits of fiscal and other resources available to the department.  If the court determines that the service plan is inappropriate, given existing resources, the department may request a hearing on that determination;

     (6)   Place the juvenile under the care and custody of the Commissioner of Human Services for the purpose of receiving the services of the Division of Developmental Disabilities of that department, provided that the juvenile has been determined to be eligible for those services under P.L.1965, c.59, s.16 (C.30:4-25.4);

     (7)   Commit the juvenile, pursuant to applicable laws and the Rules of Court governing civil commitment, to the Department of Children and Families under the responsibility of the Division of Child Behavioral Health Services for the purpose of placement in a suitable public or private hospital or other residential facility for the treatment of persons who are mentally ill, on the ground that the juvenile is in need of involuntary commitment;

     (8)   Fine the juvenile an amount not to exceed the maximum provided by law for such a crime or offense if committed by an adult and which is consistent with the juvenile's income or ability to pay and financial responsibility to the juvenile's family, provided that the fine is specially adapted to the rehabilitation of the juvenile or to the deterrence of the type of crime or offense.  If the fine is not paid due to financial limitations, the fine may be satisfied by requiring the juvenile to submit to any other appropriate disposition provided for in this section;

     (9)   Order the juvenile to make restitution to a person or entity who has suffered loss resulting from personal injuries or damage to property as a result of the offense for which the juvenile has been adjudicated delinquent.  The court may determine the reasonable amount, terms and conditions of restitution.  If the juvenile participated in the offense with other persons, the participants shall be jointly and severally responsible for the payment of restitution. The court shall not require a juvenile to make full or partial restitution if the juvenile reasonably satisfies the court that the juvenile does not have the means to make restitution and could not reasonably acquire the means to pay restitution;

     (10)  Order that the juvenile perform community services under the supervision of a probation division or other agency or individual deemed appropriate by the court.  Such services shall be compulsory and reasonable in terms of nature and duration.  Such services may be performed without compensation, provided that any money earned by the juvenile from the performance of community services may be applied towards any payment of restitution or fine which the court has ordered the juvenile to pay;

     (11)  Order that the juvenile participate in work programs which are designed to provide job skills and specific employment training to enhance the employability of job participants.  Such programs may be without compensation, provided that any money earned by the juvenile from participation in a work program may be applied towards any payment of restitution or fine which the court has ordered the juvenile to pay;

     (12)  Order that the juvenile participate in programs emphasizing self-reliance, such as intensive outdoor programs teaching survival skills, including but not limited to camping, hiking and other appropriate activities;

     (13)  Order that the juvenile participate in a program of academic or vocational education or counseling, such as a youth service bureau, requiring attendance at sessions designed to afford access to opportunities for normal growth and development.  This may require attendance after school, evenings and weekends;

     (14)  Place the juvenile in a suitable residential or nonresidential program for the treatment of alcohol or narcotic abuse, provided that the juvenile has been determined to be in need of such services;

     (15)  Order the parent or guardian of the juvenile to participate in appropriate programs or services when the court has found either that such person's omission or conduct was a significant contributing factor towards the commission of the delinquent act, or, under its authority to enforce litigant's rights, that such person's omission or conduct has been a significant contributing factor towards the ineffective implementation of a court order previously entered in relation to the juvenile;

     (16)  (a)  Place the juvenile in a nonresidential program operated by a public or private agency, providing intensive services to juveniles for specified hours, which may include education, counseling to the juvenile and the juvenile's family if appropriate, vocational training, employment counseling, work or other services;

     (b)  Place the juvenile under the custody of the Juvenile Justice Commission established pursuant to section 2 of P.L.1995, c.284 (C.52:17B-170) for placement with any private group home or private residential facility with which the commission has entered into a purchase of service contract;

     (17)  Instead of or in addition to any disposition made according to this section, the court may postpone, suspend, or revoke for a period not to exceed two years the driver's license, registration certificate, or both of any juvenile who used a motor vehicle in the course of committing an act for which the juvenile was adjudicated delinquent. In imposing this disposition and in deciding the duration of the postponement, suspension, or revocation, the court shall consider the severity of the delinquent act and the potential effect of the loss of driving privileges on the juvenile's ability to be rehabilitated. Any postponement, suspension, or revocation shall be imposed consecutively with any custodial commitment;

     (18) Order that the juvenile satisfy any other conditions reasonably related to the rehabilitation of the juvenile;

     (19)  Order a parent or guardian who has failed or neglected to exercise reasonable supervision or control of a juvenile who has been adjudicated delinquent to make restitution to any person or entity who has suffered a loss as a result of that offense.  The court may determine the reasonable amount, terms and conditions of restitution; or

     (20)  Place the juvenile, if eligible, in an appropriate juvenile offender program established pursuant to P.L.1997, c.81 (C.30:8-61 et al.).

     c.  (1)  Except as otherwise provided in subsections e. and f. of this section, if the county in which the juvenile has been adjudicated delinquent has a juvenile detention facility meeting the physical and program standards established pursuant to this subsection by the Juvenile Justice Commission, the court may, in addition to any of the dispositions not involving placement out of the home enumerated in this section, incarcerate the juvenile in the youth detention facility in that county for a term not to exceed 60 consecutive days.  Counties which do not operate their own juvenile detention facilities may contract for the use of approved commitment programs with counties with which they have established agreements for the use of pre-disposition juvenile detention facilities. The Juvenile Justice Commission shall promulgate such rules and regulations from time to time as deemed necessary to establish minimum physical facility and program standards for the use of juvenile detention facilities pursuant to this subsection.

     (2)   No juvenile may be incarcerated in any county detention facility unless the county has entered into an agreement with the Juvenile Justice Commission concerning the use of the facility for sentenced juveniles. Upon agreement with the county, the Juvenile Justice Commission shall certify detention facilities which may receive juveniles sentenced pursuant to this subsection and shall specify the capacity of the facility that may be made available to receive such juveniles; provided, however, that in no event shall the number of juveniles incarcerated pursuant to this subsection exceed 50% of the maximum capacity of the facility.

     (3)   The court may fix a term of incarceration under this subsection where:

     (a)   The act for which the juvenile was adjudicated delinquent, if committed by an adult, would have constituted a crime or repetitive disorderly persons offense;

     (b)   Incarceration of the juvenile is consistent with the goals of public safety, accountability and rehabilitation and the court is clearly convinced that the aggravating factors substantially outweigh the mitigating factors as set forth in section 25 of P.L.1982, c.77 (C.2A:4A-44); and

     (c)   The detention facility has been certified for admission of adjudicated juveniles pursuant to paragraph (2).

     (4)   If as a result of incarceration of adjudicated juveniles pursuant to this subsection, a county is required to transport a predisposition juvenile to a juvenile detention facility in another county, the costs of such transportation shall be borne by the Juvenile Justice Commission.

     d.    Whenever the court imposes a disposition upon an adjudicated delinquent which requires the juvenile to perform a community service, restitution, or to participate in any other program provided for in this section other than subsection c., the duration of the juvenile's mandatory participation in such alternative programs shall extend for a period consistent with the program goal for the juvenile and shall in no event exceed one year beyond the maximum duration permissible for the delinquent if the juvenile had been committed to a term of incarceration.

     e.     In addition to any disposition the court may impose pursuant to this section or section 25 of P.L.1982, c.77 (C.2A:4A-44), the following orders shall be included in dispositions of the adjudications set forth below:

     (1)   An order of incarceration for a term of the duration authorized pursuant to this section or section 25 of P.L.1982, c.77 (C.2A:4A-44) or an order to perform community service pursuant to paragraph (10) of subsection b. of this section for a period of at least 60 days, if the juvenile has been adjudicated delinquent for an act which, if committed by an adult, would constitute the crime of [theft of a motor vehicle, or the crime of] unlawful taking of a motor vehicle in violation of subsection c. of N.J.S.2C:20-10, or the third degree crime of eluding in violation of subsection b. of N.J.S.2C:29-2;

     (2)   An order of incarceration for a term of the duration authorized pursuant to this section or section 25 of P.L.1982, c.77 (C.2A:4A-44) which shall include a minimum term of 60 days during which the juvenile shall be ineligible for parole, if the juvenile has been adjudicated delinquent for an act which, if committed by an adult, would constitute the crime of aggravated assault in violation of paragraph (6) of subsection b. of N.J.S.2C:12-1, the second degree crime of eluding in violation of subsection b. of N.J.S.2C:29-2, or theft of a motor vehicle, [in a case in which the juvenile has previously been adjudicated delinquent for an act, which if committed by an adult, would constitute unlawful taking of a motor vehicle or theft of a motor vehicle] except that, in the case of theft of a motor vehicle, the minimum term shall be one year;

     (3)   An order to perform community service pursuant to paragraph (10) of subsection b. of this section for a period of at least 30 days, if the juvenile has been adjudicated delinquent for an act which, if committed by an adult, would constitute the fourth degree crime of unlawful taking of a motor vehicle in violation of subsection b. of N.J.S.2C:20-10;

     (4)   An order of incarceration for a term of the duration authorized pursuant to this section or section 25 of P.L.1982, c.77 (C.2A:4A-44) which shall include a minimum term of 30 days during which the juvenile shall be ineligible for parole, if the juvenile has been adjudicated delinquent for an act which, if committed by an adult, would constitute the crime of unlawful taking of a motor vehicle in violation of N.J.S.2C:20-10 or the third degree crime of eluding in violation of subsection b. of N.J.S.2C:29-2, and if the juvenile has previously been adjudicated delinquent for an act which, if committed by an adult, would constitute either theft of a motor vehicle, the unlawful taking of a motor vehicle or eluding.

     f.     (1) The minimum terms of incarceration required pursuant to subsection e. of this section shall be imposed regardless of the weight or balance of factors set forth in this section or in section 25 of P.L.1982, c.77 (C.2A:4A-44), but the weight and balance of those factors shall determine the length of the term of incarceration appropriate, if any, beyond any mandatory minimum term required pursuant to subsection e. of this section.

     (2)   When a court in a county that does not have a juvenile detention facility or a contractual relationship permitting incarceration pursuant to subsection c. of this section is required to impose a term of incarceration pursuant to subsection e. of this section, the court may, subject to limitations on commitment to State correctional facilities of juveniles who are under the age of 11 or developmentally disabled, set a term of incarceration consistent with subsection c. which shall be served in a State correctional facility. When a juvenile who because of age or developmental disability cannot be committed to a State correctional facility or cannot be incarcerated in a county facility, the court shall order a disposition appropriate as an alternative to any incarceration required pursuant to subsection e.

     (3)   For purposes of subsection e. of this section, in the event that a "boot camp" program for juvenile offenders should be developed and is available, a term of commitment to such a program shall be considered a term of incarceration.

     g.     Whenever the court imposes a disposition upon an adjudicated delinquent which requires the juvenile to perform a community service, restitution, or to participate in any other program provided for in this section, the order shall include provisions which provide balanced attention to the protection of the community, accountability for offenses committed, fostering interaction and dialogue between the offender, victim and community and the development of competencies to enable the child to become a responsible and productive member of the community.

(cf: P.L.2006, c.47, s.18)

 

     3.    This act shall take effect immediately.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     At present, theft of a motor vehicle is graded as a crime of the third degree pursuant to N.J.S.A.2C:20-2.  A crime of the third degree is ordinarily punishable by up to five years imprisonment, a fine of up to $15,000, or both.  The unlawful taking of a means of conveyance, or joyriding, is graded as a crime of the third degree or fourth degree depending on the degree of risk involved in the commission of the offense.  Under existing sentencing guidelines, courts deal with third and fourth degree offenses without imposing a sentence of imprisonment, barring an exceptional circumstance. Thus, motor vehicle theft offenses do not ordinarily require mandatory sentencing unless, pursuant to an exception contained in the sentencing guidelines, there has been a prior conviction for a motor vehicle theft offense.  This bill would require mandatory sentencing for theft of a motor vehicle, under N.J.S.A.2C:20-2 and the unlawful taking a of motor vehicle in violation of N.J.S.A.2C:20-10, regardless of whether a previous conviction exists.  The mandatory sentence would include a minimum term of four years.

     In addition, juvenile offenders adjudicated delinquent for theft of a motor vehicle would be required to serve a minimum term of one year for theft of a motor vehicle regardless of whether a previous motor vehicle theft adjudication exists.