SENATE, No. 851

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

217th LEGISLATURE

PRE-FILED FOR INTRODUCTION IN THE 2016 SESSION

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator† BRIAN P. STACK

District 33 (Hudson)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

†††† Restricts bail for persons charged with violent crimes; establishes bail alternatives for non-violent offenders.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

†††† Introduced Pending Technical Review by Legislative Counsel.

††


An Act concerning bail, supplementing Title 2A of the New Jersey Statutes and amending P.L.1994, c.144.†

 

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

 

†††† 1.††† Section 1 of P.L.1994, c.144 (C.2A:162-12) is amended to read as follows:

†††† 1.††† a.† As used in this section:

†††† "Crime with bail restrictions" means a crime of the first or second degree charged under any of the following sections:

†††† (1)†† Murder††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 2C:11-3.

†††† (2)†† Manslaughter††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 2C:11-4.

†††† (3)†† Kidnapping†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 2C:13-1.

†††† (4)†† Sexual Assault††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 2C:14-2.

†††† (5)†† Robbery††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 2C:15-1.

†††† (6)†† Carjacking†††††††††††††††††† †††††† P.L.1993, c.221, s.1 (C.2C:15-2).

†††† (7)†† Arson and Related Offenses††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 2C:17-1.

†††† (8)†† Causing or Risking Widespread Injury or Damage††† 2C:17-2.

†††† (9)†† Burglary††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 2C:18-2.

†††† (10) Theft by Extortion††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 2C:20-5.

†††† (11) Endangering the Welfare of Children††††††††††††††††††††††† 2C:24-4.

†††† (12) Resisting Arrest; Eluding Officer†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 2C:29-2.

†††† (13) Escape†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 2C:29-5.

†††† (14) Corrupting or Influencing a Jury††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 2C:29-8.

†††† (15) Possession of Weapons for Unlawful Purposes†††††††† 2C:39-4.

†††† (16) Weapons Training for Illegal Activities

††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† P.L.1983, c.229, s.1 (C.2C:39-14).

†††† (17) Soliciting or Recruiting Gang Members

††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† P.L.1999, c.160, s.1 (C.2C:33-28)

†††† (18) Human Trafficking†††† P.L.2005, c.77, s.1 (C.2C:13-8).

†††† "Crime with bail restrictions" also includes any first or second degree drug-related crimes under chapter 35 of Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes and any first or second degree racketeering crimes under chapter 41 of Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes.

†††† "Crime with bail restrictions" also includes any crime or offense involving domestic violence, as defined in subsection a. of section 3 of P.L.1991, c. 261 (C.2C:25-19), where the defendant was subject to a temporary or permanent restraining order issued pursuant to the provisions of the "Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1991," P.L.1991, c.261 (C.2C:25-17 et al.) and is charged with a crime committed against a person protected under the order or where the defendant is charged with contempt pursuant to N.J.S.2C:29-9.

†††† b.††† Subject to the provisions of subsection c. of this section, a
person charged with a crime with bail restrictions may post the

required amount of bail only in the form of:

†††† (1)†† Full cash;

†††† (2)†† [A surety bond executed by a corporation authorized under chapter 31 of Title 17 of the Revised Statutes] (Deleted by amendment, P.L.†††† , c.††† .) (pending before the Legislature as this bill); or

†††† (3)†† A bail bond secured by real property situated in this State with an unencumbered equity equal to the amount of bail undertaken plus $20,000.

†††† c.†††† There shall be a presumption in favor of the court designating the posting of full United States currency cash bail to the exclusion of other forms of bail when a defendant is charged with an offense as set forth in subsection a. of this section and:

†††† (1)†† has two other indictable cases pending at the time of the arrest; or

†††† (2)†† has two prior convictions for a first or second degree crime or for a violation of section 1 of P.L.1987, c.101 (C.2C:35-7) or any combination thereof; or

†††† (3)†† has one prior conviction for murder, aggravated manslaughter, aggravated sexual assault, kidnapping or bail jumping; or

†††† (4)†† was on parole at the time of the arrest; or

†††† (5)†† was subject to a temporary or permanent restraining order issued pursuant to the provisions of the "Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1991," P.L.1991, c.261 (C.2C:25-17 et al.), was charged with a crime committed against a person protected under that order, including a charge of contempt pursuant to N.J.S.2C:29-9, and either: (a) is charged with commission of a domestic violence crime that resulted in serious bodily injury to the victim; or (b) has at least one prior conviction for a crime or offense involving domestic violence against the same victim or has previously violated a final restraining order protecting the same victim,

†††† unless the court finds on the record that another form of bail authorized in subsection b. of this section will ensure the defendant's presence in court when required.

†††† d.††† When bail is posted in the form of a bail bond secured by real property, the owner of the real property, whether the person is admitted to bail or a surety, shall also file an affidavit containing:

†††† (1)†† A legal description of the real property;

†††† (2)†† A description of each encumbrance on the real property;

†††† (3)†† The market value of the unencumbered equity owned by the affiant as determined in a full appraisal conducted by an appraiser licensed by the State of New Jersey; and

†††† (4)†† A statement that the affiant is the sole owner of the unencumbered equity.

†††† e.†††† Nothing herein is intended to preclude a court from releasing a person on the person's own recognizance when the court determines that such person is deserving.

(cf: P.L.2013, c.51, s.15)

 

†††† 2.††† (New section)† a.† For the purposes of this section, a non-violent offense means an offense that is not enumerated as a crime with bail restrictions as defined in subsection a. of section 1 of P.L.1994, c.144 (C.2A:162-12).

†††† b.††† If a court determines that releasing a person charged with a non-violent offense as defined in subsection a. of this section will not reasonably assure the appearance of the person as required for trial, the court may order the pretrial release of that person subject to the least restrictive conditions, or combination of conditions as an alternative to: pretrial detention, release on recognizance, or release on full cash, surety bond or a bail bond.

†††† The court may order the following least restrictive conditions, or combination of conditions, which may include that the person:

†††† (1)†† remain in the custody of a designated person, who agrees to assume supervision and to report any violation of a release condition to the court, if the designated person is able reasonably to assure the court that the person will appear for trial as required;

†††† (2)†† maintain employment, or, if unemployed, actively seek employment;

†††† (3)†† maintain or commence an educational program;
†††† (4)†† abide by specified restrictions on personal associations, place of abode, or travel;

†††† (5)†† avoid all contact with an alleged victim of the crime and with a potential witness who may testify concerning the offense;

†††† (6)†† report on a regular basis to a designated law enforcement agency, or other agency as determined by the court;

†††† (7)†† comply with a specified curfew;

†††† (8)†† refrain from possessing a firearm, destructive device, or other dangerous weapon;

†††† (9)†† refrain from the excessive use of alcohol, or the use of any controlled dangerous substance or controlled substance analog as defined in N.J.S.2C:35-2 without a prescription provided by a licensed medical practitioner;

†††† (10) undergo an available medical, psychological, or psychiatric treatment, including treatment for drug or alcohol dependency, and remain in a specified institution if required for that purpose;

†††† (11) return to custody of a law enforcement agency or other entity as determined by the court for specified hours following release for employment, schooling, or other limited purposes; and

†††† (12) satisfy any other condition that the court determines is reasonably necessary to assure the appearance of the person as required and to assure the safety of any other person and the community.

†††† c.†††† The court may revoke at any time a personís eligibility for pretrial release subject to a condition or combination of conditions under subsection b. of this section as an alternative to bail.† If any defendant violates the terms of release under the pretrial release conditions or provides false or misleading information to the court regarding his eligibility or compliance with the conditions, the personís eligibility for pretrial release as an alternative to bail shall be terminated immediately.† Upon arrest for any such violation, the person shall be returned to custody and shall appear before a court for a bail hearing within 12 hours following the arrest.†

 

†††† 3.††† (New section) The Supreme Court may adopt Rules of Court and the Administrative Director of the Courts may issue directives to effectuate the purposes of this act.

 

†††† 4.††† This act shall take effect immediately.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

†††† This bill limits the method by which a person charged with a violent crime is permitted to post bail, while granting defendants charged with non-violent crimes an alternative to pretrial detention, release on recognizance, or release on full cash, surety bond or a bail bond.

†††† Generally, the court may allow defendants to be released on bail after they post 10% of the amount of bail in cash.† Current law, however, provides that defendants charged with certain violent crimes of the first or second degree are ineligible for the 10% cash option and are subject to restrictions when posting bail. These restrictions include posting bail in the form of a full cash amount, a surety bond issued by a licensed corporation, or a bail bond secured by real property situated in the State with an unencumbered equity equal to the amount of bail plus $20,000.

†††† This bill removes the option of posting bail in the form of a surety bond provided by a licensed corporation.† The bill limits a defendant charged with a violent crime of the first or second degree to posting the bail in the full amount, or posting a bail bond secured by real property equal to the amount of bail plus $20,000.† Therefore, it is more difficult to be released on bail for defendants charged with violent first or second degree crimes under the provisions of the bill.†

†††† In addition, this bill provides a court with alternatives to setting bail for defendants charged with non-violent offenses to ensure the defendant appears for trial.†† The bill allows a court to release a defendant who fulfills pretrial conditions as an alternative to bail.† The court may order one or a combination of conditions requiring that a defendant:

†††† (1)†† remain in the custody of a designated person, who agrees to assume supervision and to report any violation of a release condition to the court, if the designated person is able reasonably to assure the court that the person will appear for trial as required;

†††† (2)†† maintain employment, or, if unemployed, actively seek employment;

†††† (3)†† maintain or commence an educational program;
†††† (4)†† abide by specified restrictions on personal associations, place of abode, or travel;

†††† (5)†† avoid all contact with an alleged victim of the crime and with a potential witness who may testify concerning the offense;

†††† (6)†† report on a regular basis to a designated law enforcement agency, or other agency as determined by the court;

†††† (7)†† comply with a specified curfew;

†††† (8)†† refrain from possessing a firearm, destructive device, or other dangerous weapon;

†††† (9)†† refrain from the excessive use of alcohol, or the use of any controlled dangerous substance or controlled substance analog without a prescription provided by a licensed medical practitioner;

†††† (10) undergo an available medical, psychological, or psychiatric treatment, including treatment for drug or alcohol dependency, and remain in a specified institution if required for that purpose;

†††† (11) return to custody of a law enforcement agency or other entity as determined by the court for specified hours following release for employment, schooling, or other limited purposes; and

†††† (12) satisfy any other condition that the court determines is reasonably necessary to assure the appearance of the person as required and to assure the safety of any other person and the community.

†††† The bill provides that a court may revoke at any time a defendantís eligibility for pretrial release subject to conditions as an alternative to bail.† If any defendant violates the terms of release under the pretrial release conditions or provides false or misleading information to the court regarding the personís eligibility or compliance with the conditions, the personís eligibility for pretrial release as an alternative to bail is terminated immediately.† Upon arrest, the bill requires that the defendant be returned to custody and appear before a court for a bail hearing within 12 hours following the arrest.