SENATE, No. 215

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

216th LEGISLATURE

 

PRE-FILED FOR INTRODUCTION IN THE 2014 SESSION

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator  DIANE B. ALLEN

District 7 (Burlington)

Senator  THOMAS H. KEAN, JR.

District 21 (Morris, Somerset and Union)

Senator  STEVEN V. OROHO

District 24 (Morris, Sussex and Warren)

 

 

Co-Sponsored by:

Senators Singer, Kyrillos, A.R.Bucco, Cardinale, Weinberg, Van Drew, Connors, Bateman, Beck, Sweeney, Cunningham, Addiego, Beach, Doherty, Greenstein, Holzapfel, O'Toole, Pennacchio, Stack and Thompson

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Enacts the “Jessica Lunsford Act”: imposes mandatory term of 25 years to life for aggravated sexual assault against a child under 13 and increases penalties for harboring certain sex offenders.

 

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     Introduced Pending Technical Review by Legislative Counsel

  


An Act concerning certain sexual offenders, designated the “Jessica Lunsford Act,” and amending N.J.S.2C:14-2 and N.J.S.2C:29-3.

 

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

 

     1.    N.J.S.2C:14-2 is amended to read as follows:

     2C:14-2.  Sexual assault.  a. An actor is guilty of aggravated sexual assault if he commits an act of sexual penetration with another person under any one of the following circumstances:

     (1) The victim is less than 13 years old;

     (2) The victim is at least 13 but less than 16 years old; and

     (a) The actor is related to the victim by blood or affinity to the third degree, or

     (b) The actor has supervisory or disciplinary power over the victim by virtue of the actor's legal, professional, or occupational status, or

     (c) The actor is a resource family parent, a guardian, or stands in loco parentis within the household;

     (3) The act is committed during the commission, or attempted commission, whether alone or with one or more other persons, of robbery, kidnapping, homicide, aggravated assault on another, burglary, arson or criminal escape;

     (4) The actor is armed with a weapon or any object fashioned in such a manner as to lead the victim to reasonably believe it to be a weapon and threatens by word or gesture to use the weapon or object;

     (5) The actor is aided or abetted by one or more other persons and the actor uses physical force or coercion;

     (6) The actor uses physical force or coercion and severe personal injury is sustained by the victim;

     (7) The victim is one whom the actor knew or should have known was physically helpless, mentally incapacitated, or had a mental disease or defect which rendered the victim temporarily or permanently incapable of understanding the nature of his conduct, including, but not limited to, being incapable of providing consent.

     Aggravated sexual assault is a crime of the first degree.

     A person convicted under paragraph (1) of this subsection shall be sentenced to a specific term of years which shall be fixed by the court and shall be between 25 years and life imprisonment of which the person shall serve 25 years before being eligible for parole, unless a longer term of parole ineligibility is otherwise provided pursuant to this Title.

     b.    An actor is guilty of sexual assault if he commits an act of sexual contact with a victim who is less than 13 years old and the actor is at least four years older than the victim.

     c.     An actor is guilty of sexual assault if he commits an act of sexual penetration with another person under any one of the following circumstances:

     (1) The actor uses physical force or coercion, but the victim does not sustain severe personal injury;

     (2) The victim is on probation or parole, or is detained in a hospital, prison or other institution and the actor has supervisory or disciplinary power over the victim by virtue of the actor's legal, professional or occupational status;

     (3) The victim is at least 16 but less than 18 years old and:

     (a) The actor is related to the victim by blood or affinity to the third degree; or

     (b) The actor has supervisory or disciplinary power of any nature or in any capacity over the victim; or

     (c) The actor is a resource family parent, a guardian, or stands in loco parentis within the household;

     (4) The victim is at least 13 but less than 16 years old and the actor is at least four years older than the victim.

     Sexual assault is a crime of the second degree.

(cf: P.L.2011, c.232, s.4)

 

     2.  N.J.S.2C:29-3 is amended to read as follows:

     2C:29-3.  Hindering Apprehension or Prosecution. a. A person commits an offense if, with purpose to hinder the detention, apprehension, investigation, prosecution, conviction or punishment of another for an offense or violation of Title 39 of the Revised Statutes or a violation of chapter 33A of Title 17 of the Revised Statutes he:

     (1)   Harbors or conceals the other;

     (2)   Provides or aids in providing a weapon, money, transportation, disguise or other means of avoiding discovery or apprehension or effecting escape;

     (3)   Suppresses, by way of concealment or destruction, any evidence of the crime, or tampers with a witness, informant, document or other source of information, regardless of its admissibility in evidence, which might aid in the discovery or apprehension of such person or in the lodging of a charge against him;

     (4)   Warns the other of impending discovery or apprehension, except that this paragraph does not apply to a warning given in connection with an effort to bring another into compliance with law;

     (5)   Prevents or obstructs, by means of force, intimidation or deception, anyone from performing an act which might aid in the discovery or apprehension of such person or in the lodging of a charge against him;

     (6)   Aids such person to protect or expeditiously profit from an advantage derived from such crime; or

     (7)   Gives false information to a law enforcement officer or a civil State investigator assigned to the Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor established by section 32 of P.L.1998, c.21 (C.17:33A-16).

     An offense under paragraph (5) of subsection a. of this section is a crime of the second degree, unless the actor is a spouse, domestic partner, partner in a civil union, parent or child to the person aided who is the victim of the offense, in which case the offense is a crime of the fourth degree.  Otherwise, the offense is a crime of the third degree if the conduct which the actor knows has been charged or is liable to be charged against the person aided would constitute a crime of the second degree or greater, unless the actor is a spouse, domestic partner, partner in a civil union, parent or child of the person aided, in which case the offense is a crime of the fourth degree.  The offense is a crime of the fourth degree if such conduct would constitute a crime of the third degree. Otherwise it is a disorderly persons offense.

     Notwithstanding any other provisions of this subsection, a person who violates this subsection, with the purpose to hinder the detention, apprehension, investigation, prosecution, conviction or punishment of another for an offense set forth in subsection a., d., or e. of section 2 of P.L.1994, c.133 (C.2C:7-2), commits a crime of the fourth degree.  Notwithstanding the term of imprisonment provided under N.J.S.2C:43-6 and the provisions of subsection e. of N.J.S.2C:44-1, the sentence imposed shall include a fixed minimum sentence of not less than six months during which the defendant shall not be eligible for parole.

     b.    A person commits an offense if, with purpose to hinder his own detention, apprehension, investigation, prosecution, conviction or punishment for an offense or violation of Title 39 of the Revised Statutes or a violation of chapter 33A of Title 17 of the Revised Statutes, he:

     (1)   Suppresses, by way of concealment or destruction, any evidence of the crime or tampers with a document or other source of information, regardless of its admissibility in evidence, which might aid in his discovery or apprehension or in the lodging of a charge against him; or

     (2)   Prevents or obstructs by means of force or intimidation anyone from performing an act which might aid in his discovery or apprehension or in the lodging of a charge against him; or

     (3)   Prevents or obstructs by means of force, intimidation or deception any witness or informant from providing testimony or information, regardless of its admissibility, which might aid in his discovery or apprehension or in the lodging of a charge against him; or

     (4)   Gives false information to a law enforcement officer or a civil State investigator assigned to the Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor established by section 32 of P.L.1998, c.21 (C.17:33A-16).

     An offense under paragraph (3) of subsection b. of this section is a crime of the second degree.  Otherwise, the offense is a crime of the third degree if the conduct which the actor knows has been charged or is liable to be charged against him would constitute a crime of the second degree or greater.  The offense is a crime of the fourth degree if such conduct would constitute a crime of the third degree.  Otherwise it is a disorderly persons offense.

(cf:  P.L.2008, c.81, s.2)

 

     3.  This act shall take effect immediately.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill, designated the “Jessica Lunsford Act,” requires mandatory terms of imprisonment for persons convicted of aggravated sexual assault against a child under the age of 13, for a specific term of years fixed by the sentencing court, between 25 years and life imprisonment, of which 25 years or more must be served before parole eligibility.

     Under paragraph (1) of subsection a. of N.J.S.2C:14-2, a person is guilty of aggravated sexual assault, a crime of the first degree, if he commits an act of sexual penetration with a victim under the age of 13.  A crime of the first degree is ordinarily punishable by a term of imprisonment of 10 to 20 years, a fine of up to $200,000 or both.  Under the bill, the person would be sentenced to a specific term of years fixed by the court.  The term would be between 25 years and life imprisonment, of which the person must serve 25 years before being eligible for parole.  However, if there is a longer term of parole ineligibility otherwise provided by law, that person would be sentenced to the longer term.

     The bill, also provides that it is a crime of the fourth degree for a person to hinder the apprehension or prosecution of a sex offender who has not registered or verified his address with the appropriate law enforcement agency.  A crime of the fourth degree is punishable by up to 18 months imprisonment, a fine of up to $10,000, or both.  In addition the bill requires the person to be sentenced to a mandatory minimum term of not less than six months of imprisonment during which the person would not be eligible for parole.

     According to the sponsors, this bill is modeled on provisions of Florida’s “Jessica Lunsford Act,” Chapter No. 2005-28. Jessica, a nine-year-old Florida resident, was kidnapped, raped, and murdered by a registered sex offender. The Florida enactment imposed a mandatory term of imprisonment of 25 years for sex crimes against children, imposed penalties for harboring or concealing a sex offender, and required satellite monitoring to track the location of sex offenders after release.