Senator SHIRLEY K. TURNER
District 15 (Mercer)
Clarifies the intent of the Legislature that the attempt or conspiracy to commit certain offenses may constitute acts of domestic violence.
CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT
An Act concerning domestic violence and amending P.L.1991, c.261.
Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
1. Section 3 of P.L.1991, c.261 (C.2C:25-19) is amended to read as follows:
3. As used in this act:
a. "Domestic violence" means the occurrence of one or more of the following acts inflicted upon a person protected under this act by an adult or an emancipated minor or the attempt or conspiracy to commit any of the following acts:
(1) Homicide N.J.S.2C:11-1 et seq.
(2) Assault N.J.S.2C:12-1
(3) Terroristic threats N.J.S.2C:12-3
(4) Kidnapping N.J.S.2C:13-1
(5) Criminal restraint N.J.S.2C:13-2
(6) False imprisonment N.J.S.2C:13-3
(7) Sexual assault N.J.S.2C:14-2
(8) Criminal sexual contact N.J.S.2C:14-3
(9) Lewdness N.J.S.2C:14-4
(10) Criminal mischief N.J.S.2C:17-3
(11) Burglary N.J.S.2C:18-2
(12) Criminal trespass N.J.S.2C:18-3
(13) Harassment N.J.S.2C:33-4
(14) Stalking P.L.1992, c.209 (C.2C:12-10)
When one or more of these acts is inflicted by an unemancipated minor upon a person protected under this act, the occurrence shall not constitute "domestic violence," but may be the basis for the filing of a petition or complaint pursuant to the provisions of section 11 of P.L.1982, c.77 (C.2A:4A-30).
b. "Law enforcement agency" means a department, division, bureau, commission, board or other authority of the State or of any political subdivision thereof which employs law enforcement officers.
c. "Law enforcement officer" means a person whose public duties include the power to act as an officer for the detection, apprehension, arrest and conviction of offenders against the laws of this State.
d. "Victim of domestic violence" means a person protected under this act and shall include any person who is 18 years of age or older or who is an emancipated minor and who has been subjected to domestic violence by a spouse, former spouse, or any other person who is a present or former household member. "Victim of domestic violence" also includes any person, regardless of age, who has been subjected to domestic violence by a person with whom the victim has a child in common, or with whom the victim anticipates having a child in common, if one of the parties is pregnant. "Victim of domestic violence" also includes any person who has been subjected to domestic violence by a person with whom the victim has had a dating relationship.
e. "Emancipated minor" means a person who is under 18 years of age but who has been married, has entered military service, has a child or is pregnant or has been previously declared by a court or an administrative agency to be emancipated.
(cf: P.L.1994, c.94, s.1)
2. This act shall take effect immediately.
This bill would amend the definition of “domestic violence” to include the attempt or conspiracy to commit any of the enumerated offenses which constitute domestic violence.
This bill is in response to a recent Appellate Division decision where the court vacated a $100 domestic violence surcharge assessed against a defendant who was convicted of attempted murder. In State v. Joseph Allen Lee, Docket No. A-4977-07T4 (Decided January 19, 2010), the court held that the $100 domestic violence surcharge under N.J.S.A.2C:25-29.4 for persons convicted of an act of domestic violence does not apply to the defendant who was convicted of attempted murder because attempted murder is not included in the enumerated crimes and offenses in N.J.S.A.2C:25-19. The court noted that penal statutes, including those statutes imposing penalties as part of a sentence, are to be strictly construed, and therefore the Legislature’s decision not to include attempted murder within N.J.S.A.2C:25-19 in the list of enumerated crimes was dispositive. The court stated that the Legislature can prospectively take action if it desires to do so.
It is the sponsor’s intent to take such action to clarify the Legislature’s intent by amending the definition of “domestic violence” in N.J.S.A.2C:25-19 to include the attempt or conspiracy to commit any of the enumerated offenses as constituting domestic violence. In doing so, it is the intent of the sponsor to address the concerns raised by the court and to insure that in the future any person convicted of attempt or conspiracy to commit any of the enumerated offenses constituting “domestic violence” would be assessed the $100 domestic violence surcharge pursuant to N.J.S.A.2C:25-29.4. The statute provides that “a person convicted of an act of domestic violence, as the term is defined by subsection a. of section 3 of P.L.1991, c.261 (C.2C:25-19), shall be subject to a surcharge in the amount of $100 payable to the Treasurer of the State of New Jersey for use by the Department of Human Services to fund grants for domestic violence prevention, training and assessment.”