Assemblyman RONALD S. DANCER
District 12 (Burlington, Middlesex, Monmouth and Ocean)
Expands pretrial risk assessment to include acquittals for reasons of insanity.
CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT
An Act concerning pretrial risk assessments and amending P.L.2014, c.31.
Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
1. Section 6 of P.L.2014, c.31 (C.2A:162-20) is amended to read as follows:
6. In determining in a pretrial detention hearing whether no amount of monetary bail, non-monetary conditions or combination of monetary bail and conditions would reasonably assure the eligible defendant's appearance in court when required, the protection of the safety of any other person or the community, or that the eligible defendant will not obstruct or attempt to obstruct the criminal justice process, the court may take into account information concerning:
a. The nature and circumstances of the offense charged;
b. The weight of the evidence against the eligible defendant, except that the court may consider the admissibility of any evidence sought to be excluded;
c. The history and characteristics of the eligible defendant, including:
(1) the eligible defendant's character, physical and mental condition, family ties, employment, financial resources, length of residence in the community, community ties, past conduct, history relating to drug or alcohol abuse, criminal history, and record concerning appearance at court proceedings; [and]
(2) whether, at the time of the current offense or arrest, the eligible defendant was on probation, parole, or on other release pending trial, sentencing, appeal, or completion of sentence for an offense under federal law, or the law of this or any other state; and
(3) whether, at the time of the current offense or arrest, the eligible defendant was previously charged with a crime for which the eligible defendant was acquitted by reason of insanity pursuant to N.J.S.2C:4-1;
d. The nature and seriousness of the danger to any other person or the community that would be posed by the eligible defendant's release, if applicable;
e. The nature and seriousness of the risk of obstructing or attempting to obstruct the criminal justice process that would be posed by the eligible defendant's release, if applicable; and
f. The release recommendation of the pretrial services program obtained using a risk assessment instrument under section 11 of P.L.2014, c.31 (C.2A:162-25).
(cf: P.L.2014, c.31, s.6)
2. Section 11 of P.L.2014, c.31 (C.2A:162-25) is amended to read as follows:
11. a. The Administrative Director of the Courts shall establish and maintain a Statewide Pretrial Services Program which shall provide pretrial services to effectuate the purposes of sections 1 through 11 of P.L.2014, c.31 (C.2A:162-15 et seq.).
b. The Pretrial Services Program shall, after an eligible defendant is temporarily detained pursuant to subsection a. of section 2 of P.L.2014, c.31 (C.2A:162-16) following the issuance of a complaint-warrant, conduct a risk assessment on that eligible defendant for the purpose of making recommendations to the court concerning an appropriate pretrial release decision, including whether the eligible defendant shall be: released on the eligible defendant's own personal recognizance or on execution of an unsecured appearance bond; released on a non-monetary condition or conditions as set forth under subsection b. of section 3 of P.L.2014, c.31 (C.2A:162-17); released on monetary bail, other than an unsecured appearance bond; released on a combination of monetary bail and non-monetary conditions set forth under section 3 of P.L.2014, c.31 (C.2A:162-17); or any other conditions necessary to effectuate the purposes of sections 1 through 11 of P.L.2014, c.31 (C.2A:162-15 et seq.). The risk assessment shall be completed and presented to the court so that the court can, without unnecessary delay, but in no case later than 48 hours after the eligible defendant's commitment to jail, make a pretrial release decision on the eligible defendant pursuant to section 3 of P.L.2014, c.31 (C.2A:162-17).
c. The pretrial risk assessment shall be conducted using a risk assessment instrument approved by the Administrative Director of the Courts that meets the requirements of this subsection.
(1) The approved risk assessment instrument shall be objective, standardized, and developed based on analysis of empirical data and risk factors relevant to the risk of failure to appear in court when required and the danger to the community while on pretrial release. The risk assessment instrument shall not be required to include factors specifically pertaining to the risk for obstructing or attempting to obstruct the criminal justice process.
(2) The approved risk assessment instrument shall gather demographic information about the eligible defendant including, but not limited to, race, ethnicity, gender, financial resources, and socio-economic status. Recommendations for pretrial release shall not be discriminatory based on race, ethnicity, gender, or socio-economic status.
(3) The approved risk assessment instrument shall gather information concerning whether the eligible defendant was previously charged with a crime for which the defendant was acquitted by reason of insanity pursuant to N.J.S.2C:4-1.
d. In addition to the pretrial risk assessments made pursuant to this section, the Pretrial Services Program shall monitor appropriate eligible defendants released on conditions as ordered by the court.
(cf: P.L.2014, c.31, s.11)
3. This act shall take effect on the first day of the third month following enactment.
This bill amends P.L.2014, c.31 (C.2A:162-15 et. al.), also known as the Criminal Justice Reform Act, to expand the “Public Safety Assessment” (PSA) or risk assessment instrument to include in the review of an eligible defendant’s criminal history any acquittals by reason of insanity.
Under the Criminal Justice Reform Act, the Statewide Pretrial Services Program in the Administrative Office of the Courts is responsible for developing a PSA or risk assessment instrument designed to assist the court in identifying risks concerning a defendant’s risk of failure to appear in court or danger to the community. This bill amends the Criminal Justice Reform Act to require the PSA to take into account whether an eligible defendant was previously acquitted of a crime by reason of insanity.
The bill also amends section 11 of P.L.2014, c.31 (C.2A:162-25), which established the Statewide Pretrial Services Program, to require that the risk assessment instrument gather information concerning whether the eligible defendant has previously been charged with a crime for which the defendant was acquitted by reason of insanity.