ASSEMBLY, No. 2093

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

215th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED JANUARY 17, 2012

 


 

Sponsored by:

Assemblyman  BENJIE E. WIMBERLY

District 35 (Bergen and Passaic)

Assemblywoman  L. GRACE SPENCER

District 29 (Essex)

Assemblywoman  SHAVONDA E. SUMTER

District 35 (Bergen and Passaic)

 

Co-Sponsored by:

Assemblyman Gusciora

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Creates crime of victimization of persons with disabilities and senior citizens.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

  


An Act concerning senior citizens and persons with a disability and supplementing Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes.

 

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

 

     1.    a.  Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, a person is guilty of the crime of victimization against a senior citizen or a person with a disability if he commits, attempts to commit, conspires with another to commit or threatens the immediate commission of an offense specified in chapters 11 through 18 of Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes against a senior citizen or a person with a disability.  If the victim of an underlying offense is a senior citizen or a person with a disability, the actor shall be strictly liable for the victimization offense and it shall not be a defense that the actor did not know that the victim was a senior citizen or a person with a disability, nor shall it be a defense that the actor believed that the victim was not a senior citizen or a person with a disability, even if the mistaken belief was reasonable.

     b.    Grading.  Victimization is a crime of the fourth degree if the underlying offense referred to in subsection a. of this section is a disorderly persons offense or petty disorderly persons offense.  Otherwise, victimization is a crime one degree higher than the most serious underlying crime referred to in subsection a. of this section, except that when the underlying crime is a crime of the first degree, victimization is a first degree crime and the defendant upon conviction thereof may, notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph (1) of subsection a. of N.J.S.2C:43-6, be sentenced to an ordinary term of imprisonment between 10 years and 30 years, with a presumptive term of 20 years.

     c.    In any prosecution under subsection a. of this section when the underlying crime was solely a third degree violation of N.J.S.2C:18-2, it is an affirmative defense that the property entered was an unoccupied motor vehicle or other unoccupied structure.  In any prosecution under subsection a. of this section when the underlying crime was solely a violation of N.J.S.2C:17-3, it is an affirmative defense that no person other than the actor was present at the time the offense was committed.

     d.    Notwithstanding the provisions of N.J.S.2C:1-8 or any other provision of law to the contrary, a conviction of victimization shall not merge with a conviction of any of the underlying offenses referred to in subsection a. of this section, nor shall any conviction for the underlying offense merge with a conviction for victimization.  The court shall impose separate sentences upon a conviction for victimization and a conviction of any underlying offense.

     e.    For the purposes of this section:


     "Person with a disability" means a person who by reason of a pre-existing medically determinable physical or mental impairment is substantially incapable of exercising normal physical or mental power of resistance, and includes, but is not limited to, a person determined disabled pursuant to the federal Social Security Act or any other governmental retirement or benefits program that uses substantially the same criteria for determining eligibility; and

     "Senior citizen" means a person 60 years of age or older.

 

     2.    This act shall take effect immediately.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill creates the separate crime of victimization of a senior citizen or a person with a disability, which would be graded one degree higher than the offense that was committed.

     A person would be guilty of victimization if the person commits, attempts to commit, conspires with another to commit or threatens the immediate commission of an offense specified in chapters 11 through 18 of Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes (criminal homicide; assault, reckless endangerment and terroristic threats; kidnapping and related offenses, coercion; sexual offenses; robbery; bias intimidation; arson, criminal mischief and other property destruction; and burglary and other criminal intrusion) against a senior citizen or a person with a disability.  If the victim of an underlying offense is a senior citizen or a person with a disability, the actor would be strictly liable for the victimization offense and it would not be a defense that the actor did not know that the victim was a senior citizen or a person with a disability.

     Under the provisions of the bill, victimization is a crime of the fourth degree if the underlying offense is a disorderly persons  offense or petty disorderly persons offense.  Otherwise, it is a crime one degree higher than the most serious underlying crime, except that when the underlying crime is a crime of the first degree, victimization is a first degree crime and the defendant, upon conviction thereof, may be sentenced to an ordinary term of imprisonment between 10 years and 30 years, with a presumptive term of 20 years.

     The bill also provides that when the underlying crime was solely a third degree violation of N.J.S.A.2C:18-2 (burglary), it is an affirmative defense that the property entered was an unoccupied motor vehicle or other unoccupied structure.  In a prosecution when the underlying crime was solely a violation of N.J.S.A.2C:17-3 (criminal mischief), it is an affirmative defense that no person other than the actor was present at the time the offense was committed.  In addition, a conviction of victimization would not merge with a conviction of any of the underlying offenses. The court would impose separate sentences upon a conviction for victimization and a conviction of any underlying offense.

     A "person with a disability" is defined as a person who by reason of a pre-existing medically determinable physical or mental impairment is substantially incapable of exercising normal physical or mental power of resistance, and includes, but is not limited to, a person determined disabled pursuant to the federal Social Security Act or any other governmental retirement or benefits program that uses substantially the same criteria for determining eligibility.  A "senior citizen" is defined as a person 60 years of age or older.