SENATE, No. 401

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

217th LEGISLATURE

 

PRE-FILED FOR INTRODUCTION IN THE 2016 SESSION

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator  PETER J. BARNES, III

District 18 (Middlesex)

 

Co-Sponsored by:

Senator Rice

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Provides for Attorney General to handle investigation and prosecution of crime involving death caused by law enforcement officer while in performance of officer’s duties; requires officer indictment by State grand jury.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     Introduced Pending Technical Review by Legislative Counsel.

  


An Act concerning the prosecution of certain crimes, and amending P.L.1970, c.74 and N.J.S.2B:22-2.

 

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

 

     1.    Section 11 of P.L.1970, c.74 (C.52:17B-107) is amended to read as follows:

     11.  a.  (1)  Whenever in the opinion of the Attorney General the interests of the State will be furthered by so doing, the Attorney General may [(1)] (a) supersede a county prosecutor in any investigation, criminal action or proceeding, [(2)] (b) participate in any investigation, criminal action or proceeding, or [(3)] (c) initiate any investigation, criminal action or proceeding. 

     (2)   Whenever a death results from the action of a police officer or other law enforcement officer in the performance of the officer’s duties, the Attorney General shall supersede the county prosecutor of the county in which the action occurred for the purpose of conducting, personally or by a designated deputy or assistant attorney general, any investigation, criminal action or proceeding concerning the officer’s action.  The Attorney General or designee shall present evidence concerning the officer’s action only to an impaneled State grand jury, either one regularly impaneled or one requested to be impaneled by the Attorney General or the Director of the Division of Criminal Justice pursuant to N.J.S.2B:22-1 for this specific purpose, in order to determine if the evidence supports the return of an indictment against the officer. Any further investigation, criminal action or proceeding, following an indictment, shall be conducted under the law as any other investigation, criminal action or proceeding resulting from a State grand jury indictment.  

     In such instances of supersession, except as provided in paragraph (2) of this subsection, the Attorney General or designated deputy or assistant attorney general may appear for the State in any court or tribunal for the purpose of conducting such investigations, criminal actions or proceedings as shall be necessary to promote and safeguard the public interests of the State and secure the enforcement of the laws of the State.

     b.    The Attorney General may in his discretion act for any county prosecutor in representing the interests of the State in any and all appeals and applications for post-conviction remedies. 

(cf:  P.L.1970, c.74, s.11)

 

     2.    N.J.S.2B:22-2 is amended to read as follows:

     2B:22-2.     a.  (1)  A State grand jury shall have the same powers and duties and shall function in the same manner as a county grand jury except that its jurisdiction shall extend throughout the State.  The law applicable to county grand juries shall apply to State grand juries to the extent that it is consistent with the specific provisions relating to State grand juries.

     (2)   In addition to the powers and duties set forth in paragraph (1) of this subsection, a State grand jury shall be the only grand jury to examine evidence, and return indictments and take other action with respect to an investigation, criminal action or proceeding concerning a death resulting from the action of a police officer or other law enforcement officer in the performance of the officer’s duties, as presented by the Attorney General or a designated deputy or assistant attorney general pursuant to paragraph (2) of subsection a. of section 11 of P.L.1970, c.74 (C.52:17B-107).

     b.    The Supreme Court may promulgate rules to govern particularly the procedures of State grand juries.

(cf:  N.J.S.2B:22-2)

 

     3.    This act shall take effect immediately and shall apply to any death resulting from the action of a police officer or other law enforcement officer that occurs on or after the effective date.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill provides, whenever there was a death from the action of a police officer or other law enforcement officer in the performance of the officer’s duties, for the Attorney General to supersede the local county prosecutor, utilizing existing supersession authority, and conduct, personally or by a designated deputy or assistant attorney general, any investigation, criminal action or proceeding concerning the officer’s action.  The Attorney General or designee would present evidence concerning the officer’s action only to an impaneled State grand jury, not a county grand jury, in order to determine if the evidence supports the return of an indictment against the officer.  Any further investigation, criminal action or proceeding, following an indictment, would be conducted under the law as any other investigation, criminal action or proceeding resulting from a State grand jury indictment.