[First Reprint]

ASSEMBLY, No. 2380

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

215th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED FEBRUARY 6, 2012

 


 

Sponsored by:

Assemblyman  GORDON M. JOHNSON

District 37 (Bergen)

Assemblyman  ROBERT SCHROEDER

District 39 (Bergen and Passaic)

Assemblywoman  HOLLY SCHEPISI

District 39 (Bergen and Passaic)

Assemblywoman  BETTYLOU DECROCE

District 26 (Essex, Morris and Passaic)

Assemblyman  RUBEN J. RAMOS, JR.

District 33 (Hudson)

 

Co-Sponsored by:

Assemblyman Chiusano, Assemblywoman McHose, Assemblymen Wolfe, Webber, Assemblywoman N.Munoz, Assemblymen A.M.Bucco, Wimberly, Senators Weinberg, Van Drew, Madden, Greenstein, Bateman, Oroho, Holzapfel, Lesniak, Pennacchio, Beach and Stack

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Alex DeCroce’s Law; enhances crime victims’ rights under the “Crime Victim’s Bill of Rights.”

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As reported by the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee on March 5, 2012, with amendments.

  


An Act concerning crime victims rights, designated as Alex DeCroce’s Law, and amending 1and supplementing1 P.L.1985, c.249.

 

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

 

     1.    Section 3 of P.L.1985, c.249 (C.52:4B-36) is amended to read as follows: 

     3.    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, harassment or abuse by 1[anyone involved in the criminal justice process] any person1 including the defendant 1[and anyone] or any other person1 acting in support of or on behalf of the defendant 1, due to the involvement of the victim or witness in the criminal justice process1;

     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] reasonably related to the incident 1in accordance with the provisions of the “Criminal Injuries Compensation Act of 1971,” P.L.1971, c.317 (C.52:4B-1 et seq.)1;

     g.     To be notified in a timely manner, if practicable, if presence in court is not needed or if any scheduled court proceeding has been adjourned or cancelled;

     h.     To be informed about available remedies, financial assistance and social services;

     i.      To be compensated for [their] loss sustained by the victim 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 and to confer with the prosecutor’s representative 1[on such occasions in order to keep] so that1 the victim 1may be kept1 adequately informed;

     l.      To the prompt return of property when no longer needed as evidence;

     m.    To submit a written statement 1, within a reasonable amount of time,1 about the impact of the crime to a representative of the [county prosecutor’s office] prosecuting agency which shall be considered prior to the prosecutor’s final decision concerning whether formal criminal charges will be filed 1[or whether the prosecutor shall accept a negotiated plea or request by the defendant to enter into a pretrial intervention program] whether the prosecutor will consent to a request by the defendant to enter into a pre-trial program, and whether the prosecutor will make or agree to a negotiated plea1 ; 1[and]1

     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 1[.

     In any homicide prosecution a victim’s survivor shall be permitted to wear a button containing a picture of the victim during any judicial proceeding involving the accused, provided that the court determines that the wearing of such button by one or several individuals will not rise to such a level as to deprive the defendant of his Sixth Amendment right to a fair trial. The button shall not exceed four inches in diameter. If the victim’s survivor seeks to wear the button at trial, he shall give notice to the prosecution of such intent which shall be provided to the defendant and to the court no less than 30 days prior to the final trial date.  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 including, but not limited to, a still photograph, a computer generated presentation or video presentation of the victim.  The time, length and content of such presentation shall be within the sound discretion of the sentencing judge]1; [and]

     o.    1[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] To have the opportunity to consult with the prosecuting authority prior to the conclusion of any plea negotiations, and to have the prosecutor advise the court of the consultation and the victim’s position regarding the plea agreement, provided however that nothing herein shall be construed to alter or limit the authority or discretion of the prosecutor to enter into any plea agreement which the prosecutor deems appropriate1;

     p.    1[A crime victim shall have the right to] To1 be present at any judicial proceeding involving a crime or any juvenile proceeding involving a criminal offense 1[and to] , except as otherwise provided by Article I, paragraph 22 of the New Jersey Constitution; and

     q.    To1 be notified of any release or escape of the 1[accused and the right to an adjudicative decision by the court on each of the rights conferred herein when a motion has been filed to enforce such right pursuant to Article I, paragraph 22 of the New Jersey Constitution; and

     r.     The victim shall have express standing to enforce these rights in any court before which the proceedings are being held] defendant; and

     s.     To appear in any court before which a proceeding implicating the rights of the victim is being held, with standing to file a motion or present argument on a motion filed to enforce any right conferred herein or by Article I, paragraph 22 of the New Jersey Constitution, and to receive an adjudicative decision by the court on any such motion1.

(cf: P.L.2001, c.208, s.2)

 

     12.   (New section) Pursuant to Article I, paragraph 22 of the New Jersey Constitution, in any homicide prosecution:

     a.     A victim’s survivor may, at the time of making the in-person statement to the sentencing court authorized by subsection n. of section 3 of P.L.1985, c.249 (C.52:4B-36), display directly to the sentencing court a photograph of the victim taken before the homicide including, but not limited to, a still photograph, a computer-generated presentation, or a video presentation of the victim.  The time, length and content of such presentation shall be within the sound discretion of the sentencing judge; and

     b.    A victim’s survivor may, during any judicial proceeding involving the defendant, wear a button not exceeding four inches in diameter that contains a picture of the victim, if the court determines that the wearing of such button will not deprive the defendant of his right to a fair trial under the Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution and Article I of the New Jersey Constitution.  Other spectators at such judicial proceedings may also wear similar buttons if the court so determines.  If the victim’s survivor seeks to wear the button at trial, the victim’s survivor shall give notice to the defendant and to the court no less than 30 days prior to the final trial date.1

 

     13.   (New section) Pursuant to Article I, paragraph 22 of the New Jersey Constitution, 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.1

 

     1[2.] 4.1 This act shall take effect on the 60th day following enactment.