ASSEMBLY, No. 2640

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

216th LEGISLATURE

INTRODUCED FEBRUARY 20, 2014

 


 

Sponsored by:

Assemblywoman† VALERIE VAINIERI HUTTLE

District 37 (Bergen)

Assemblywoman† GABRIELA M. MOSQUERA

District 4 (Camden and Gloucester)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

†††† Authorizes issuance of restraining orders for situations in which domestic violence statutes do not apply.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

†††† As introduced.

††


An Act concerning restraining order protections, supplementing Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes and repealing section 2 of P.L.1999, c.47.

 

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

 

†††† 1.††† a.† A plaintiff may file a complaint with the Superior Court in conformity with the Rules of Court alleging that he is a victim of any of the offenses set forth in subsection b. of this section and requesting that the court issue a temporary restraining order against the defendant which limits the contact of the defendant and the plaintiff.

†††† b.††† A temporary restraining order may be issued by the court upon an allegation that the defendant committed any of the following offenses:

†††† (1)†† Assault N.J.S.2C:12-1

†††† (2)†† Terroristic threats N.J.S.2C:12-3

†††† (3)†† Kidnapping N.J.S.2C:13-1

†††† (4)†† Criminal restraint N.J.S.2C:13-2

†††† (5)†† False imprisonment N.J.S.2C:13-3

†††† (6)†† Sexual assault N.J.S.2C:14-2

†††† (7)†† Criminal sexual contact N.J.S.2C:14-3

†††† (8)†† Lewdness N.J.S.2C:14-4

†††† (9)†† Criminal mischief N.J.S.2C:17-3

†††† (10) Burglary N.J.S.2C:18-2

†††† (11) Criminal trespass N.J.S.2C:18-3

†††† (12) Harassment† N.J.S.2C:33-4

†††† (13) Stalking P.L.1992, c.209 (C.2C:12-10)

†††† c.††† In any case in which the alleged victim is a child under the age of 18 years or is developmentally disabled as defined in section 3 of P.L.1977, c.200 (C.5:5-44.4), or the alleged victim is 18 years of age or older and has a mental disease or defect which renders the victim temporarily or permanently incapable of understanding the nature of the victimís conduct, including, but not limited to, being incapable of providing consent, the complaint may be filed by the alleged victim's parent or guardian on behalf of the alleged victim.

†††† d.††† A complaint seeking a temporary restraining order may be filed with the Superior Court in conformity with the Rules of Court.† The plaintiff may seek emergency, ex parte relief.† A decision shall be made by the judge regarding the emergency relief forthwith.† If it appears that the plaintiff is in danger of the defendant committing any of the offenses listed in subsection b. of this section, the judge shall issue a temporary restraining order pursuant to subsection f. of this section.

†††† e.††† A conviction of an offense shall not be a prerequisite for the grant of a temporary or permanent restraining order under this act.

†††† f.†††† A temporary restraining order issued under this act shall limit the contact of the defendant and the plaintiff and in addition may grant all of the relief specified in section 2 of P.L.††† , c.†† (C.†† ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill).

†††† g.††† A hearing shall be held in the Superior Court within 10 days of the issuance of any temporary restraining order which was issued on an emergency, ex parte basis.† A copy of the complaint shall be served on the defendant in conformity with the Rules of Court.† At the hearing the standard for issuing a permanent restraining order shall be by a preponderance of the evidence.

†††† h.††† If the court rules that a permanent restraining order shall be issued, the order shall remain in effect until the plaintiff, or the parent or guardian of the plaintiff in the case of a plaintiff who is a child, is developmentally disabled or has mental disease or defect pursuant as described in subsection c. of this section, requests that the restraining order be dismissed and the court finds just cause to do so.

†††† i.†††† The provisions of this act are in addition to, and not in lieu of, the provisions of section 1 of P.L.1992, c.209 (C.2C:12-10.1) which provide that a judgment of conviction for stalking shall operate as an application for a permanent restraining order limiting the contact of the defendant and the victim.

 

†††† 2.††† a. A permanent restraining order issued pursuant to subsections g. and h. of section 1 of P.L.††† , c.†† (C.†††††† ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill) may grant the following specific relief:

†††† (1)†† An order restraining the defendant from entering the residence, property, school, or place of employment of the plaintiff and requiring the defendant to stay away from any specified place that is named in the order and is frequented regularly by the plaintiff.

†††† (2)†† An order restraining the defendant from making contact with the plaintiff, including an order forbidding the defendant from personally or through an agent initiating any communication likely to cause annoyance or alarm including, but not limited to, personal, written, or telephone contact with the plaintiff, the plaintiff's employers, employees, or fellow workers, or others with whom communication would be likely to cause annoyance or alarm to the plaintiff.

†††† b.††† Notice of permanent restraining orders issued pursuant to this act shall be sent by the clerk of the court or other person designated by the court to the appropriate chiefs of police, members of the State Police and any other appropriate law enforcement agency or court.

†††† c.††† Any permanent restraining order issued pursuant to this act shall be in effect throughout the State, and shall be enforced by all law enforcement officers.

†††† d.††† A violation by the defendant of an order issued pursuant to this act shall constitute an offense under subsection a. of N.J.S.2C:29-9 and each order shall so state.† Violations of these orders may be enforced in a civil or criminal action initiated by the plaintiff or by the court, on its own motion, pursuant to applicable court rules.† Nothing in this act shall preclude the filing of a criminal complaint based on the same act which is the basis for the violation of the restraining order.

 

†††† 3.††† The Supreme Court may adopt Rules of Court to implement the purposes of this act.

 

†††† 4.††† Section 2 of P.L.1999, c.47 (C.2C:12-10.2) is repealed.

 

†††† 5.††† This act shall take effect on the first day of the third month next following enactment.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

†††† This bill would authorize the issuance of restraining orders in situations for which the domestic violence statutes are inapplicable because the victim lacks a prior or existing spousal, household, or dating relationship with the offender.

†††† Under the ďPrevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1991,Ē P.L.1991, c.261 (C.2C:25-17 et seq.), a court may issue restraining orders to protect victims who have had particular specified relationships with the defendant: the victim must either be a spouse, former spouse, or present or former household member of the defendant; have a child in common or anticipate, due to an existing pregnancy, having a child in common with the defendant; or have had a dating relationship with the defendant.

†††† This bill would allow victims in other situations -- for example, where the victim does not know the defendant, or where the defendant is a casual acquaintance or co-worker -- to obtain restraining orders as well.

†††† Under the bill, a person could file a complaint (including a complaint for ex parte relief) with the Superior Court alleging to be a victim of any of the enumerated offenses listed in the bill, such as assault, sexual assault, harassment or stalking, and request the issuance of a temporary restraining order against the defendant.† In any case in which the alleged victim was a child under the age of 18 years or developmentally disabled, or the alleged victim was 18 years of age or older and had a mental disease or defect which rendered the victim temporarily or permanently incapable of understanding the nature of the victimís conduct, including, but not limited to, being incapable of providing consent, the complaint could be filed by the alleged victim's parent or guardian.

†††† A decision on a filed complaint seeking a temporary restraining order would be made by the judge regarding the emergency relief forthwith.† If it appeared that the alleged victim was in danger of the defendant committing any of the offenses specified in the complaint, the judge would issue a temporary restraining order.† The defendantís conviction for an offense would not be a prerequisite for the grant of the temporary restraining order.

†††† With respect to any temporary order issued on an ex parte basis, a hearing would be held in the Superior Court within 10 days of the issuance of that order.† A copy of the complaint would be served on the defendant in conformity with the Rules of Court.† At the hearing the standard for issuing a permanent restraining order would be by a preponderance of the evidence.

†††† If the court ruled that a permanent restraining order should be issued, the order would remain in effect until the plaintiff, or the parent or guardian of the plaintiff in the case of a plaintiff who was a child, developmentally disabled, or had a mental disease or defect as described above, requested that the restraining order be dismissed and the court found just cause to do so.

†††† A permanent restraining order issued under the bill could grant the following specific relief:

†††† (1) An order restraining the defendant from entering the residence, property, school, or place of employment of the plaintiff and requiring the defendant to stay away from any specified place that is named in the order and is frequented regularly by the plaintiff; and

†††† (2)† An order restraining the defendant from making contact with the plaintiff, including an order forbidding the defendant from personally or through an agent initiating any communication likely to cause annoyance or alarm including, but not limited to, personal, written, or telephone contact with the plaintiff, the plaintiff's employers, employees, or fellow workers, or others with whom communication would be likely to cause annoyance or alarm to the plaintiff.

†††† The bill provides that notice of permanent restraining orders would be sent by the court to the appropriate law enforcement authorities and be enforceable by all law enforcement officers.

†††† A defendantís violation of a restraining order would constitute a fourth degree contempt offense under subsection a. of N.J.S.2C:29-9.† A crime of the fourth degree is ordinarily punishable by a term of imprisonment of up to 18 months, a fine of up to $10,000, or both.† Violations of orders could be enforced in a civil or criminal action initiated by the victim or by the court, on its own motion, pursuant to applicable court rules.† The bill also specifies that an action of contempt enforcement would not preclude the filing of a criminal complaint based on the same act which was the basis for the violation of the restraining order.

†††† Finally, the bill repeals section 2 of P.L.1999, c.47 (C.2C:12-10.2), which would no longer be necessary.† This statute currently authorizes the parent or guardian of a child under the age of 18 years or developmentally disabled, or a person 18 years of age or older who has a mental disease or defect to apply for temporary and permanent restraining orders in situations where the defendant is accused of stalking that child or disabled person.† The provisions of this bill would encompass such situations, obviating the need to maintain the separate statute.