ASSEMBLY JUDICIARY COMMITTEE

 

STATEMENT TO

 

ASSEMBLY, No. 5277

 

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

 

DATED: †DECEMBER 18, 2017

 

††††† The Assembly Judiciary Committee reports favorably Assembly Bill No. 5277.

†††† This bill addresses an omission in recently enacted legislation that would inadvertently change the law to render the Stateís lifetime parole supervision sentencing law inapplicable to certain convicted sex offenders to whom it currently applies. The enactment takes effect February 1, 2018.

†††† Section 2 of P.L.1994, c.130 (C.2C:43-6.4), the lifetime parole supervision law, requires a judge imposing a sentence on any person who has been convicted of certain enumerated sex crimes to include a special sentence of parole supervision for life.† The law also provides that the court, upon motion of the prosecutor, shall impose this special sentence for other enumerated sex crimes unless the court finds on the record that the special sentence is not needed to protect the community or deter the defendant from future criminal activity.

†††† P.L.2017, c.141, which is effective on February 1, 2018, made numerous changes to the Stateís child pornography law. The changes include establishing more precisely graded child pornography distribution crimes based on the number of items involved.† The new law divides subparagraph (b) of paragraph (5) of subsection b. of N.J.S.2C:24-4, which involves distribution and possession of items depicting the sexual exploitation of a child, into three sub-subparagraphs based on the number of items involved.†

†††† Prior to the enactment of P.L.2017, c.141, all violations of paragraph (5) of subsection b. of N.J.S.2C:24-4 had been included in the enumerated crimes that allowed a judge to impose parole supervision for life upon motion of the prosecutor. That enactment, among other provisions, specified that certain child pornography possession crimes delineated in subparagraph (b) of paragraph (5) of subsection b. involving large quantities of items are included in the category for which a judge is required to impose a sentence that includes parole supervision for life without a prosecutorís motion.† In making this change, the legislation inadvertently omitted adding a reference to subparagraph (a) of paragraph (5) of N.J.S.2C:24-4.†

†††† This omission will have the effect of preventing judges from imposing lifetime parole supervision on certain child pornography distributors, upon motion of the prosecutor. These child pornography distributors currently would otherwise be subject to sentencing under the lifetime parole supervision law.†

†††† Any impact of this omission would be avoided if this bill is enacted before the February 1, 2018 effective date of P.L.2017, c.141.