ASSEMBLY, No. 2066

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

217th LEGISLATURE

PRE-FILED FOR INTRODUCTION IN THE 2016 SESSION

 


 

Sponsored by:

Assemblyman† REED GUSCIORA

District 15 (Hunterdon and Mercer)

Assemblywoman† AMY H. HANDLIN

District 13 (Monmouth)

Assemblywoman† ANNETTE QUIJANO

District 20 (Union)

Assemblywoman† GABRIELA M. MOSQUERA

District 4 (Camden and Gloucester)

 

Co-Sponsored by:

Assemblymen Caputo, Giblin, Mukherji and Assemblywoman Lampitt

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

†††† Establishes publicly accessible domestic violence Internet registry.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

†††† Introduced Pending Technical Review by Legislative Counsel.

††


An Act creating a publicly accessible domestic violence Internet registry for certain offenses, amending P.L.1999, c.421 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.††† Section 1 of P.L.1999, c.421 (C.2C:25-34) is amended to read as follows:

†††† 1.††† The Administrative Office of the Courts shall establish and maintain a central registry of all persons who have had domestic violence restraining orders entered against them, all persons who have been charged with a crime or offense involving domestic violence, [and] all persons who have been charged with a violation of a court order involving domestic violence and all persons convicted of a domestic violence-related homicide, sexual assault or aggravated assault or a conspiracy or attempt to commit a domestic violence-related homicide, sexual assault or aggravated assault.† [All] Except as provided in section 2 of P.L.†† †, c. ††††(C.††† ††††) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), records made pursuant to this section shall be kept confidential and shall be released only to:

†††† a.†††† A public agency authorized to investigate a report of domestic violence;

†††† b.††† A police or other law enforcement agency investigating a report of domestic violence, or conducting a background investigation involving a person's application for a firearm permit or employment as a police or law enforcement officer or for any other purpose authorized by law or the Supreme Court of the State of New Jersey;

†††† c.†††† A court, upon its finding that access to such records may be necessary for determination of an issue before the court;

†††† d.††† A surrogate, in that person's official capacity as deputy clerk of the Superior Court, in order to prepare documents that may be necessary for a court to determine an issue in an adoption proceeding; or

†††† e.†††† The Division of Child Protection and Permanency in the Department of Children and Families when the division is conducting a background investigation involving:

†††† (1)†† an allegation of child abuse or neglect, to include any adult member of the same household as the individual who is the subject of the abuse or neglect allegation; or

†††† (2)†† an out-of-home placement for a child being placed by the Division of Child Protection and Permanency, to include any adult member of the prospective placement household.

†††† Any individual, agency, surrogate, or court which receives from the Administrative Office of the Courts the records referred to in this section shall keep the records and reports, or parts thereof, confidential and shall not disseminate or disclose such records and

reports, or parts thereof; provided that nothing in this section shall prohibit a receiving individual, agency, surrogate or court from disclosing records and reports, or parts thereof, in a manner consistent with and in furtherance of the purpose for which the records and reports or parts thereof were received.

†††† Any individual who disseminates or discloses a record or report, or parts thereof, of the central registry, for a purpose other than investigating a report of domestic violence, conducting a background investigation involving a person's application for a firearm permit or employment as a police or law enforcement officer, making a determination of an issue before the court, conducting a background investigation as specified in subsection e. of this section, or for any other purpose other than that which is authorized by law or the Supreme Court of the State of New Jersey, shall be guilty of a crime of the fourth degree.

(cf: P.L.2012, c.16, s.9)

 

†††† 2.††† (New section) Development, maintenance of system on the domestic violence Internet registry.

†††† a.†††† Pursuant to the provisions of this section, the Administrative Office of the Courts in conjunction with the Superintendent of State Police and the Attorney General shall develop and maintain a system for making the information set forth in this section, maintained in the central domestic violence registry established pursuant to section 1 of P.L.1999, c.421 (C.2C:25-34), publicly available by means of Internet technology.

†††† b.††† The public may, without limitation, obtain access to the Internet registry to view an individual record, any part of, or the entire domestic violence Internet registry concerning all persons who have had domestic violence restraining orders entered against them for aggravated assault.

†††† c.†††† In the case of a person convicted of a homicide, sexual assault or aggravated assault involving domestic violence, the public may, without limitation, obtain access to the domestic violence Internet registry to view an individual record, any part of, or the entire domestic violence Internet registry including: the defendantís name and any aliases the defendant has used or under which the defendant may be or may have been known; any aggravated assault offenses involving domestic violence for which the defendant was convicted, the date and location of disposition; a brief description of any such offense, a general description of the defendantís modus operandi, if any; the defendantís age, race, sex, date of birth, height, weight, hair, eye color and any distinguishing scars or tattoos; a photograph of the defendant and the date on which the photograph was entered into the registry; the make, model, color, year and license plate number of any vehicle operated by the defendant; and the zip code, municipality and county in which the defendant resides.

 

†††† 3.† (New section) Responsibilities of Attorney General.

†††† The Attorney General shall:

†††† a.†††† Ensure that the system for publicly accessing the domestic violence Internet registry established pursuant to section 2 of †††††††††††P.L.†† †, c.†† †(C.†† †††††) (pending before the Legislature as this bill) contains warnings that any person who uses the information contained therein to threaten, intimidate or harass another, or who otherwise misuses that information may be criminally prosecuted;

†††† b.††† Ensure that the domestic violence Internet registry contains an explanation of its limitations, including statements advising that a positive identification of an individual whose record has been made available may be confirmed only by fingerprints; that some information contained in the registry may be outdated or inaccurate; and that the domestic violence Internet registry is not a comprehensive listing of every person who has ever had domestic violence restraining orders entered against them, committed a domestic violence-related homicide, sexual assault or aggravated assault, or a conspiracy or attempt to commit one of these acts in New Jersey;

†††† c.†††† Strive to ensure the information contained in the domestic violence Internet registry is accurate, and that the data therein is revised and updated as appropriate in a timely and efficient manner; and

†††† d.††† Provide as part of the system for publicly accessing the domestic violence Internet registry information designed to inform and educate the public about domestic violence as well as pertinent and appropriate information concerning domestic violence and personal safety, with appropriate links to relevant web sites operated by the State of New Jersey.

 

†††† 4.† (New section) Immunity for failure to investigate, disclose information.

†††† No action shall be brought against any person for failure to investigate or disclose any information from the domestic violence Internet registry that is compiled or made available to the public pursuant to section 2 of P.L. †††c. †††(C.† ††††††) (pending before the Legislature as this bill).

 

†††† 5.††† (New section) Authorized use of disclosed information; prohibited uses.

†††† a.† Any information disclosed pursuant to P.L. †††, c.†† †(C.† ††††††) (pending before the Legislature as this bill) may be used in any manner by any person or by any public, governmental or private entity, organization or official, or any agent thereof, for any lawful purpose consistent with the enhancement of public safety.

†††† b.††† Any person who uses information disclosed pursuant to †††††††††P.L.††† , c.††† (C.††††††† ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill) to commit a crime shall be guilty of a crime of the third degree.† Any person who uses information disclosed pursuant to P.L. †, c. (C.† ††††) (pending before the Legislature as this bill) to commit a disorderly persons or petty disorderly persons offense shall be guilty of a disorderly persons offense and shall be fined not less than $500 or more than $1,000, in addition to any other penalty or fine imposed.

†††† c.†††† Whenever there is reasonable cause to believe that any person or group of persons is engaged in a pattern or practice of misuse of the information disclosed pursuant to P.L.†† †, c. (C.††† ††††) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), the Attorney General, or any county or municipal prosecutor having jurisdiction, or any person aggrieved by the misuse of that information is authorized to bring a civil action in the appropriate court requesting preventive relief, including an application for a permanent or temporary injunction, restraining order, or other order against the person or group of persons responsible for the pattern or practice of misuse. The foregoing remedies shall be independent of and in addition to any other remedies or procedures that may be available under other provisions of law.

†††† d.††† Evidence that a person obtained information about a defendant from the domestic violence Internet registry within one year prior to committing a criminal offense against that defendant shall give rise to an inference that the person used information in violation of subsection b. of this section.

 

†††† 6.††† This act shall take effect immediately.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

†††† This bill requires the Administrative Office of the Courts in conjunction with the State Police and the Attorney General to develop and maintain a system to make certain domestic violence registry information publicly available over the Internet.† Under the bill, the public would be able to gain access through the Internet to all available information concerning an individual record, any part of, or the entire domestic violence Internet registry concerning all persons who have had domestic violence restraining orders entered against them for aggravated assault.

†††† In the case of a person convicted of homicide, sexual assault or aggravated assault involving domestic violence the public may, without limitation, obtain access to the domestic violence Internet registry to view an individual record, any part of, or the entire domestic violence Internet registry including: the defendantís name and any aliases the defendant has used or under which the defendant may be or may have been known; any aggravated assault offense involving domestic violence for which the defendant was convicted; the date and location of disposition; a brief description of any such offense, a general description of the defendantís modus operandi, if any; the defendantís age, race, sex, date of birth, height, weight, hair, eye color and any distinguishing scars or tattoos; a photograph of the defendant and the date on which the photograph was entered into the registry; the make, model, color, year and license plate number of any vehicle operated by the defendant; and the street address, zip code, municipality and county in which the defendant resides.

†††† The bill requires the Attorney General to ensure that the publicly accessing the domestic violence Internet registry contains (1) warnings that any person who uses the information to threaten, intimidate or harass another, or who misuses the information may be criminally prosecuted, and (2) an explanation of the registry's limitations.† The Attorney General is further required to strive to ensure that the information contained in the Internet registry is accurate, and that the registry is revised and updated as appropriate in a timely and efficient manner.

†††† The bill also provides that no action is to be brought against any person for failure to investigate or disclose any information from the registry that is compiled or made available to the public through the domestic violence Internet registry.† The bill provides that any information disclosed from the domestic violence Internet registry may be used in any manner by any person or by any public, governmental or private entity, organization or official, or any agent thereof, for any lawful purpose consistent with the enhancement of public safety. A person who uses that information to commit a crime is guilty of a crime of the third degree. A person who uses that information to commit a disorderly persons or petty disorderly persons offense is guilty of a disorderly persons offense and would be fined at least $500 but not more than $1,000, in addition to the other applicable penalties.† Whenever there is reasonable cause to believe that any person or group of persons is engaged in a pattern or practice of misuse of the information disclosed pursuant to the bill, the Attorney General, or any county or municipal prosecutor having jurisdiction, or any person aggrieved by the misuse of that information is authorized to bring a civil action in the appropriate court requesting preventive relief, including an application for a permanent or temporary injunction, restraining order, or other order against any person responsible for the pattern or practice of misuse. These remedies would be independent of and in addition to any other remedies or procedures that may be available under other provisions of law.