SENATE, No. 1214

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

219th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED FEBRUARY 3, 2020

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator  SHIRLEY K. TURNER

District 15 (Hunterdon and Mercer)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Requires counseling for certain domestic violence offenders.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

  


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.

     c.     (1) When a defendant is found guilty of a crime or offense involving domestic violence, the court shall inform the defendant that the defendant is prohibited from purchasing, owning, possessing, or controlling a firearm pursuant to section 6 of P.L.1979, c.179 (C.2C:39-7) and from receiving or retaining a firearms purchaser identification card or permit to purchase a handgun pursuant to N.J.S.2C:58-3.  The court shall order the defendant to arrange for the immediate surrender to a law enforcement officer of any firearm that has not already been seized or surrendered and any firearms purchaser identification card or permit to purchase a handgun possessed by the defendant.  No later than five business days after the order is entered, however, the defendant may arrange to sell any surrendered firearm to a licensed retail dealer of firearms who shall be authorized to take possession of that purchased firearm from the law enforcement agency to which it was surrendered no later than 10 business days after the order is entered. Any card or permit issued to the defendant shall be deemed immediately revoked.  The court shall establish a process for notifying the appropriate authorities of the conviction requiring the revocation of the card or permit.  A law enforcement officer accepting a surrendered firearm shall provide the defendant with a receipt listing the date of surrender, the name of the defendant, and any item that has been surrendered, including the serial number, manufacturer, and model of the surrendered firearm.  The defendant shall provide a copy of this receipt to the prosecutor within 48 hours of service of the order, and shall attest under penalty that any firearms owned or possessed at the time of the order have been transferred in accordance with this section and that the defendant currently does not possess any firearms. The defendant alternatively may attest under penalty that he did not own or possess a firearm at the time of the order and currently does not possess a firearm.  If the court, upon motion of the prosecutor, finds probable cause that the defendant has failed to surrender any firearm, card, or permit, the court may order a search for and removal of these items at any location where the judge has reasonable cause to believe these items are located.  The judge shall state with specificity the reasons for and the scope of the search and seizure authorized by the order.

     (2)   A law enforcement officer who receives a firearm that is surrendered, but not purchased and taken possession of by a licensed retail dealer of firearms within 10 business days of when the order is entered pursuant to paragraph (1) of this subsection, may dispose of the surrendered firearm in accordance with the provisions of N.J.S.2C:64-6.  A firearm purchased by a licensed retail dealer from a defendant shall become part of the inventory of the dealer.

(cf: P.L.2016, c.91, s.1)

 

     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.