SENATE, No. 649

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

217th LEGISLATURE

 

PRE-FILED FOR INTRODUCTION IN THE 2016 SESSION

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator  SHIRLEY K. TURNER

District 15 (Hunterdon and Mercer)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Requires counseling for certain domestic violence offenders.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     Introduced Pending Technical Review by Legislative Counsel.

  


An Act concerning domestic violence and amending P.L.1991, c.261. 

 

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

 

     1.    Section 11 of P.L.1991, c.261 (C.2C:25-27) is amended to read as follows:

     11.  a.  When a defendant is found guilty of a crime or offense involving domestic violence and a condition of sentence restricts the defendant's ability to have contact with the victim, the victim's friends, co-workers, or relatives, or an animal owned, possessed, leased, kept, or held by either party or a minor child residing in the household, that condition shall be recorded in an order of the court and a written copy of that order shall be provided to the victim by the clerk of the court or other person designated by the court. In addition to restricting a defendant's ability to have contact with the victim, the victim's friends, co-workers, or relatives, or an animal owned, possessed, leased, kept, or held by either party or a minor child residing in the household, the court may require the defendant to receive professional counseling from either a private source or a source appointed by the court, but in either case conducted by a person who has demonstrated expertise in individual or group domestic violence counseling.  [and if] In any case where the court either suspends the imposition of a sentence or sentences the defendant to be placed on probation, in addition to any other provisions required by law or conditions ordered by the court, the court shall require the defendant to participate in, and complete, a program of professional counseling as a condition of the sentence. If the court [so] orders professional counseling, the court shall require the defendant to provide documentation of attendance at the professional counseling.  In any case where the court order contains a requirement that the defendant receive professional counseling, no application by the defendant to dissolve the restraining order shall be granted unless, in addition to any other provisions required by law or conditions ordered by the court, the defendant has completed all required attendance at such counseling.

     b.    In addition the court may enter an order directing the possession of an animal owned, possessed, leased, kept, or held by either party or a minor child residing in the household. Where a person has abused or threatened to abuse such animal, there shall be a presumption that possession of the animal shall be awarded to the non-abusive party.

(cf: P.L.2011, c.213, s.2)

     2.    This act shall take effect immediately and shall apply to offenses occurring on or after the effective date of this act. 

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill would require that defendants convicted of an offense involving domestic violence who are placed on probation or have their sentence suspended attend domestic violence counseling. Under current law a court may, in its discretion, require the defendant to receive professional counseling from either a private source or a source appointed by the court.

     Under this bill, in all cases of court-ordered domestic violence counseling under N.J.S.A.2C:25-27 the counselor would be required to have demonstrated expertise in individual or group domestic violence counseling.  In cases in which a defendant is found guilty of a crime or offense involving domestic violence and where the court suspends the imposition of a sentence or sentences a defendant to be placed on probation the court would be required to order the defendant to participate in, and complete, a program of professional counseling. This bill is modeled after similar laws in California, North Carolina and Minnesota.