SENATE, No. 2562






Sponsored by:


District 15 (Hunterdon and Mercer)


District 14 (Mercer and Middlesex)

Senator† THOMAS H. KEAN, JR.

District 21 (Morris, Somerset and Union)






†††† Clarifies that law enforcement officer who knowingly chokes another person engages in use of deadly force.



†††† As introduced.


An Act concerning the use of deadly force by law enforcement officers and amending N.J.S.2C:3-11.


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


†††† 1.††† N.J.S.2C:3-11 is amended to read as follows:

†††† 2C:3-11.†††† Definitions.† In this chapter, unless a different meaning plainly is required:† a. "Unlawful force" means force, including confinement, which is employed without the consent of the person against whom it is directed and the employment of which constitutes an offense or actionable tort or would constitute such offense or tort except for a defense (such as the absence of intent, negligence, or mental capacity; duress, youth, or diplomatic status) not amounting to a privilege to use the force.† Assent constitutes consent, within the meaning of this section, whether or not it otherwise is legally effective, except assent to the infliction of death or serious bodily harm.

†††† b.††† "Deadly force" means force which the actor uses with the purpose of causing or which he knows to create a substantial risk of causing death or serious bodily harm.† Purposely firing a firearm in the direction of another person or at a vehicle, building, or structure in which another person is believed to be constitutes deadly force unless the firearm is loaded with less-lethal ammunition and fired by a law enforcement officer in the performance of the officer's official duties.† A law enforcement officer knowingly placing pressure on a personís throat, windpipe, or carotid artery, thereby hindering or preventing that personís ability to breathe, or interfering with the flow of blood from the personís heart to the brain, constitutes deadly force.††

†††† A threat to cause death or serious bodily harm, by the production of a weapon or otherwise, so long as the actor's purpose is limited to creating an apprehension that he will use deadly force if necessary, does not constitute deadly force.†

†††† c.†††† "Dwelling" means any building or structure, though movable or temporary, or a portion thereof, which is for the time being the actor's home or place of lodging except that, as used in 2C:3-7, the building or structure need not be the actor's own home or place of lodging.

†††† d.††† "Serious bodily harm" means bodily harm which creates a substantial risk of death or which causes serious, permanent disfigurement or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ or which results from aggravated sexual assault or sexual assault.

†††† e.†††† "Bodily harm" means physical pain, or temporary disfigurement, or impairment of physical condition.

†††† f.†††† "Less-lethal ammunition" means ammunition approved by the Attorney General which is designed to stun, temporarily incapacitate or cause temporary discomfort to a person without penetrating the person's body.† The term shall also include ammunition approved by the Attorney General which is designed to gain access to a building or structure and is used for that purpose.

(cf: P.L.2005, c.250, s.1)†


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





†††† This bill amends N.J.S.2C:3-11 to clarify that the use of a choke-hold by a law enforcement officer constitutes deadly force.

†††† Under the bill, a law enforcement officer uses deadly force if he knowingly places pressure on the throat, windpipe, or carotid artery of another person, thereby hindering or preventing the ability to breathe, or interfering with the flow of blood from the heart to the brain.

†††† Under current law, use of deadly force by a law enforcement officer is only justified if necessary to protect the officer or another person from death or serious bodily injury, to arrest or prevent the escape of a violent criminal, or to prevent the commission of a violent crime.† This bill provides that a law enforcement officer is not justified in choking another person unless confronted with one of these dangerous situations.