SENATE, No. 136

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

217th LEGISLATURE

PRE-FILED FOR INTRODUCTION IN THE 2016 SESSION

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator FRED H. MADDEN, JR.

District 4 (Camden and Gloucester)

Senator JEFF VAN DREW

District 1 (Atlantic, Cape May and Cumberland)

 

Co-Sponsored by:

Senator A.R.Bucco

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

Increases mandatory minimum term of imprisonment for certain repeat sex offenders.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

Introduced Pending Technical Review by Legislative Counsel.


An Act concerning criminal sentencing and amending N.J.S.2C:14-6.

 

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

 

1. N.J.S.2C:14-6 is amended to read as follows:

a. If a person is convicted of a second or subsequent offense under sections [2C:14-2] N.J.S.2C:14-2, N.J.S.2C:14-3, or [2C:14-3a.] subsection b. of N.J.S.2C:14-4, the sentence imposed under those sections for the second or subsequent offense shall, unless the person is sentenced pursuant to the provisions of [2C:43-7] N.J.S.2C:43-7, include a fixed minimum sentence of not less than [5 years] 85 percent of the maximum term of imprisonment applicable to the degree of the offense pursuant to subsection a. of N.J.S.2C:43-6 during which the defendant shall not be eligible for parole. [The] Except as otherwise provided in subsection b. of this section, the court may not suspend or make any other non-custodial disposition of any person sentenced as a second or subsequent offender pursuant to this section. For the purpose of this section an offense is considered a second or subsequent offense, if the actor has at any time been convicted under sections [2C:14-2] N.J.S.2C:14-2, N.J.S.2C:14-3, or [2C:14-3a.] subsection b. of N.J.S.2C:14-4 or under any similar statute of the United States, this [state] State, or any other state for an offense that is substantially equivalent to sections [2C:14-2] N.J.S.2C:14-2, N.J.S.2C:14-3, or [2C:14-3a.] subsection b. of N.J.S.2C:14-4. In the event of a conflict between this section and any other mandatory minimum sentencing provision, the greater mandatory minimum term of imprisonment shall apply.

b. (1) The court may reduce the term of imprisonment required by subsection a. of this section if the defendant pleads guilty to a negotiated agreement that the court finds is in the best interest of the victim, in which event the court shall not impose a lesser term than the term expressly provided for under the terms of the agreement. Absent an agreement, the court may impose a term less than the maximum term of imprisonment upon a finding that imposition of the maximum term would be a serious injustice that overrides the need to deter the defendant and others from that conduct, provided if the court makes that finding, the court shall impose the greatest term of imprisonment that does not constitute a serious injustice. The court shall state with specificity its reasons for imposing a term less than the maximum term of imprisonment.

(2) If, in the absence of a negotiated agreement, the court imposes a term less than the maximum term of imprisonment, the sentence shall not become final for 10 days in order to permit the appeal of that sentence by the prosecution.

c. The Attorney General shall develop guidelines to ensure that the prosecution and plea negotiation of second or subsequent sex offenses subject to sentencing under this section are conducted in a uniform manner throughout the State.

(cf: N.J.S.2C:14-6)

 

2. This act shall take effect immediately.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

This bill requires that a person convicted of a second or subsequent sex offense be sentenced to an increased mandatory minimum term.

The provisions of the bill require that any person who is convicted of any second or subsequent crime of sexual assault, criminal sexual contact, or lewdness involving a minor be sentenced to not less than 85 percent of the maximum ordinary sentence applicable to the degree of the crime without eligibility for parole.

The bill permits the court to impose a reduced term of imprisonment of less than 85 percent of the term if the defendant pleads guilty to a negotiated agreement, or plea bargain, that the court finds is in the best interest of the victim, in which case the court may impose a term that is no less than the term set forth in the agreement. In the absence of an agreement, the court may impose a term that is less than the maximum term if the court finds that serious injustice would result which overrides the need to deter the defendant and others, in which case the court is required to impose the greatest term that would not constitute a serious injustice. The court is required to state with specificity its reasons for imposing any term that is less than the maximum term of imprisonment.

Under the bill, if the court imposes a sentence that is less than the maximum term of imprisonment, the sentence would not become final for a period of 10 days in order to permit the prosecution to appeal the sentence.

The bill further provides that the Attorney General is to develop guidelines to ensure that the prosecution and plea negotiation of second or subsequent sex offenses subject to sentencing under the bill are conducted in a uniform manner throughout the State.

Under current law, a person who is convicted of a second or subsequent crime of sexual assault or aggravated criminal sexual contact is subject to a mandatory minimum term of five years.

Under the bill, the following mandatory minimum terms of imprisonment would be imposed in second or subsequent convictions of the following crimes:

85 percent of 20 years for aggravated sexual assault under subsection a. of N.J.S.2C:14-2 (a crime of the first degree);

85 percent of 10 years for sexual assault under subsections b. or c. of N.J.S.2C:14-2 (a crime of the second degree);

85 percent of five years for aggravated criminal sexual contact under subsection a. of N.J.S.2C:14-3 (a crime of the third degree);

85 percent of 18 months for criminal sexual contact under subsection b. of N.J.S.2C:14-3 (a crime of the fourth degree); and

85 percent of 18 months for lewdness under subsection b. of N.J.S.2C:14-4 (a crime of the fourth degree).

The bill specifies that in the event of a conflict between a provision of the bill and another mandatory minimum sentencing provision, the greater mandatory minimum sentence will be imposed.