LEGISLATIVE FISCAL ESTIMATE

[First Reprint]

ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE SUBSTITUTE FOR

ASSEMBLY, Nos. 783 and 2831

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

216th LEGISLATURE

 

DATED: NOVEMBER 18, 2014

 

 

SUMMARY

 

Synopsis:

Revises grades and sentencing determinations for certain controlled dangerous substances.

Type of Impact:

General Fund expenditure.

Agencies Affected:

Department of Corrections, Judiciary

 

 

Office of Legislative Services Estimate

Fiscal Impact

Year 3

Year 4

Year 5

 

State Cost

Indeterminate Increase See comments below

 

 

 

 

         The committee substitute makes various changes to the grading scheme for the manufacturing, distributing, dispensing or the possession with intent to manufacture, distribute and dispense heroin, heroin mixtures and certain other controlled dangerous substances.

         The Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) states that Judiciary does not collect information which would identify the specific substance that a defendant was convicted of manufacturing, distributing or dispensing, or the specific amount of the substance in question. As a result, the Judiciary cannot estimate the number of defendants or the number of cases that would be impacted by the proposed legislation and cannot provide an estimate of this bills fiscal impact.

         Information provided informally by the Department of Corrections (DOC) on the Assembly Committee Substitute prior to the enactment of floor amendments indicates that inmate population would increase by approximately 179 additional inmates by the fifth year after enactment of this bill. At an annual cost of $43,181 to house a State sentenced prison inmate, the DOC estimates that costs would begin to accrue in the third year following enactment, and continue to grow until full implementation in the fifth year. Costs would total $3,393,164, in the third year following enactment, increase to $5,552,214 in the fourth year, and $7,711,264 during the fifth and succeeding years following enactment.

         The Office of Legislative Services (OLS) notes the DOC estimate is based on the committee substitute prior to the adoption of floor amendments. Because the amendments changes the grading scheme for the manufacturing, distributing, dispensing, or the possession with intent to manufacture, distribute and dispense heroin, heroin mixtures and certain other controlled dangerous substances, the actual cost of enacting this bill may be higher than the amount estimated by the DOC by an undetermined amount.

 

 

BILL DESCRIPTION

 

The First Reprint of the Assembly Committee Substitute for Assembly Bill Nos. 783 and 2831 of 2014 makes various changes to the grading scheme for the manufacturing, distributing, dispensing or the possession with intent to manufacture, distribute and dispense heroin, heroin mixtures and certain other controlled dangerous substances.

Grading Scheme Crimes of the First Degree: Under the amendments, it would be a crime of the first degree to manufacture, distribute, or dispense, or to possess with intent to manufacture, distribute, or dispense:

         heroin or its analog in a quantity of 20 ounces or more including any adulterants or dilutants, or 10,000 or more units;

         a heroin mixture in a quantity of 10 ounces or more including any adulterants, dilutants, or controlled dangerous substances (CDS) other than heroin or the analogs of such substances or 5,000 or more units; or

         a substance classified as a narcotic drug in Schedule I or II, or the analog of any such substance, in a quantity of 20 ounces or more including any adulterants or dilutants or 10,000 or more units.

A defendant convicted of this first degree crime would be sentenced to a mandatory term of imprisonment which would include a minimum term of between one-third and one-half of the sentence imposed or 10 years, whichever is greater, during which the defendant would be ineligible for parole. If the defendant is subject to an extended term pursuant to subsection f. of N.J.S.2C:43-6, the minimum term would be one-third to one-half of the sentence imposed or 15 years, whichever is greater. A fine of up to $500,000 could be imposed.

Under the substitute, it would also a crime of the first degree to manufacture, distribute, or dispense, or to possess with intent to manufacture, distribute, or dispense:

         heroin or its analog in a quantity of two ounces or more, but less than 20 ounces including any adulterants or dilutants, or 1,000 or more, but less than 10,000 units;

         a heroin mixture in a quantity of one ounce or more, but less than 10 ounces including any adulterants, dilutants, or CDS other than heroin or the analogs of such substances or 500 or more, but less than 5,000 units;

         a substance classified as a narcotic drug in Schedule I or II, or the analog of any such substance, in a quantity of two ounces or more, but less than 20 ounces including any adulterants or dilutants, or 1,000 or more, but less than 10,000 units; or

         any other substance referred to in subsubparagraph (iv) of subparagraph (b) of paragraph (1) of subsection b. (coca leaves and any salt, compound, derivative, or preparation of coca leaves and substances that are chemically equivalent), in a quantity of five ounces or more including any adulterants or dilutants.

A defendant convicted of this first degree crime would be sentenced to a mandatory term of imprisonment which would include the imposition of a minimum term fixed at, or between, one-third and one-half of the sentence imposed, during which the defendant would be ineligible for parole. A fine of up to $500,000 could be imposed.

Grading Scheme Crimes of the Second Degree: Under the substitute, it would be a crime of the second degree to manufacture, distribute, or dispense, or to possess with intent to manufacture, distribute, or dispense:

         heroin or its analog in a quantity of one-half ounce or more, but less than two ounces including any adulterants or dilutants or 250 or more, but less than 1,000 units;

         a heroin mixture in a quantity of one-quarter ounce or more, but less than one ounce including any adulterants, dilutants, or CDS other than heroin or the analogs of such substances or 125 or more, but less than 500 units; or

         any other substance referred to in subsubparagraph (iv) of subparagraph (b) of paragraph (1) of subsection b. (coca leaves and any salt, compound, derivative, or preparation of coca leaves and substances that are chemically equivalent), in a quantity of one-half ounce or more but less than five ounces including any adulterants or dilutants.

Grading Scheme Crimes of the Third Degree: Under the substitute, it would be a crime of the third degree to manufacture, distribute, or dispense, or to possess with intent to manufacture, distribute, or dispense:

         heroin or its analog in a quantity of less than one-half ounce including any adulterants or dilutants or less than 250 units;

         a heroin mixture in a quantity of less than one-quarter ounce including any adulterants, dilutants, or CDS other than heroin or the analogs of such substances or less than 125 units, or

         any other substance referred to in subsubparagraph (iv) of subparagraph (b) of paragraph (1) of subsection b. (coca leaves and any salt, compound, derivative, or preparation of coca leaves and substances that are chemically equivalent), in a quantity less than one-half ounce including any adulterants or dilutants.

Grading Scheme Other Crimes of the Second Degree: It would be a crime of the second degree, to manufacture, distribute, or dispense, or to possess with intent to manufacture, distribute, or dispense, a substance classified as a narcotic drug in Schedule I or II other than those specifically covered in N.J.S.2C:35-5, or the analog of such substance, in a quantity of one-half ounce or more but less than two ounces including any adulterants or dilutants, or 250 or more units but fewer than 1,000 units.

Grading Scheme Other Crimes of the Third Degree: It would be a crime of the third degree to manufacture, distribute, or dispense, or to possess with intent to manufacture, distribute, or dispense, a substance classified as a narcotic drug in Schedule I or II other than those specifically covered in N.J.S.2C:35-5, or the analog of such substance, in a quantity of less than one-half ounce including any adulterants or dilutants, or fewer than 250 units. The fine of $75,000 set out in current law for this crime would be unchanged.

Criminal Sentencing in General: A crime of the first degree is generally punishable by a term of imprisonment of ten to 20 years or a fine of up to $200,000, or both; a crime of the second degree, by a term of five to ten years or a fine up to $150,000, or both; and a crime of the third degree, by a term of three to five years or a fine up to $15,000, or both.


FISCAL ANALYSIS

 

EXECUTIVE BRANCH

 

Department of Corrections

While no formal information was provided by the Executive Branch, informal information was provided by the Department of Corrections.

 

Judicial Branch

Information provided by the AOC indicates that that during calendar year 2013, 46 defendants were convicted of a first degree offense under N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5b(1); 117 defendants were convicted of a second degree offense under N.J.S.A.2C:35-5b(2); and 567 defendants were convicted of a third degree offense under N.J.S.A.2C:35-5b(3). Of the total 730 defendants, 714 pled guilty and 16 were convicted after a trial.

The AOC states that the governing statute, N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5b, currently consolidates the manufacture, distribution or dispensing of heroin with that of other substances, such as cocaine, 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine and 3,4-methylenedioxyamphetamine. Unfortunately, the Judiciary does not collect information which would identify the specific substance that a defendant was convicted of manufacturing, distributing or dispensing, or the specific amount of the substance in question. As a result, the Judiciary cannot estimate the number of defendants or the number of cases that would be impacted by the proposed legislation and cannot provide an estimate of this bills fiscal impact.

 

OFFICE OF LEGISLATIVE SERVICES

 

Information provided informally by the DOC on the Assembly Committee Substitute prior to the adoption of floor amendments indicates that the inmate population would increase by approximately 179 additional inmates. At an annual cost of $43,181 to house a State sentenced prison inmate, the DOC estimated that costs would begin to accrue in the third year following enactment, and continue to grow until full implementation in the fifth year. Costs would total $3,393,164, in the third year following enactment, increase to $5,552,214 in the fourth year, and $7,711,264 during the fifth and succeeding years following enactment.

The OLS notes the DOC estimate is based on the committee substitute prior to the adoption of floor amendments. Because the amendments change the grading scheme for the manufacturing, distributing, dispensing or the possession with intent to manufacture, distribute and dispense heroin, heroin mixtures and certain other controlled dangerous substances, the actual cost of enacting this bill may be higher than the amount estimated by the DOC by an undetermined amount.

 

Section:

Judiciary

Analyst:

Anne Raughley

Principal Fiscal Analyst

Approved:

David J. Rosen

Legislative Budget and Finance Officer

 

This fiscal estimate has been prepared pursuant to P.L.1980, c.67 (C.52:13B-6 et seq.).