New Jersey State Bar Association - The voluntary Bar Association of New Jersey, serving members since 1899.

Capitol Report

September 13, 2010

This is a status report on recently passed and pending legislation, regulations, gubernatorial nominations and/or appointments of interest to lawyers. The report may also include information about appearances of New Jersey State Bar Association representatives before legislative committees, and the involvement of the NJSBA as amicus in appellate court matters. It is compiled by the government affairs department of the New Jersey State Bar Association. Following each bill number is the sponsor's name, the NJSBA position, if any, bill description and status. Full and previous versions of the Capitol Report with links to related text are available online at www.njsba.com.

SPECIAL EDITION - CRIMINAL LAW (PART FOUR)

This special edition of the Capitol Report focuses on Criminal Law legislation that is currently pending in the State Legislature. This is the last of four reports focusing on Criminal Law. Parts one through three were printed over the past three weeks.

FORENSICS / INVESTIGATIONS

S-737/A-2594 (Sacco/Quigley) (Under review by the NJSBA) Expands the DNA database to include samples from certain violent arrestees. On June 10, S-737 passed in the Senate (33-2), was received in the Assembly and referred to the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee. A-2594 was introduced and referred to the Assembly Law & Public Safety Committee on March 22.

S-1445 (Cardinale) (Under review by the NJSBA) Provides for collection of DNA samples to assist in the prosecution of sexual assault. On Feb. 18, the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Law & Public Safety Committee.

A-2271 (Johnson) (Under review by the NJSBA) Requires preservation of certain biological evidence secured in relation to an investigation or prosecution of a crime while that crime remains unsolved or while the person convicted of that crime remains in custody. On Feb. 18, the bill was introduced and referred to the Assembly Law & Public Safety Committee.

SJR-25/SJR-40/AJR-27/AJR-34 (Sarlo/Allen/Watson Coleman/Casagrande) (Under review by the NJSBA) Provides for a forfeiture by wrongdoing exception to the hearsay rule by amending the Rules of Evidence. On Feb. 8, SJR-25 was introduced and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee and SJR-40 was introduced and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee on May 27. On Jan. 12, AJR-27 was introduced and referred to the Assembly Judiciary Committee and AJR-34 was introduced and referred to the Assembly Judiciary Committee on Feb. 11.

FRAUD AND IDENTITY THEFT

S-307/A-2999 (Allen/Coutinho) (Under review by the NJSBA) Requires payment of certain attorney's fees, expenses and costs in identity theft cases; adds debit card numbers to definition of "personal identifying information". On June 24, A-2999 was introduced and referred to the Assembly Judiciary Committee. S-307 was introduced and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Jan. 12.

S-575/A-366 (Beach/Schaer) (Under review by the NJSBA) Authorizes wiretap orders for investigation of luring or enticing a child, identity theft, stalking and harassment under certain circumstances. On Jan. 12, both bills were introduced and referred to the Senate and Assembly Judiciary Committee.

S-609 (Goodwin) (Under review by the NJSBA) Increases statute of limitations for certain crimes involving political corruption from five years to seven years. On Jan. 12, the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

S-682 (Sarlo) (Under review by the NJSBA) Increases penalties for counterfeiting if the offense creates risk of bodily injury, serious bodily injury or death; creates new offense within Criminal Code of counterfeiting products related to health. On Jan. 12, the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

S-742/A-1616 (Beck/O'Scanlon) (Under review by the NJSBA) Clarifies that a public officer or employee who, after he has resigned or been terminated from his position, purposely retains any unearned wages intending to permanently deprive the public entity of such wages, after due notice from the public entity, shall be guilty of theft. On Jan. 12, both bills were introduced and referred to the Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism and Historic Preservation Committee and the Assembly Judiciary Committee respectively.

S-1053/A-352 (Connors/Gove) (Under review by the NJSBA) Increases penalties for identity theft when the victim is a senior citizen or veteran. On Feb. 4, S-1053 was introduced and referred to the Senate Law & Public Safety Committee. A-352 was introduced and referred to the Assembly Law & Public Safety Committee on Jan. 12.

S-1420/A-413 (O'Toole/Rumana) (Under review by the NJSBA) Prohibits the posting of certain personal information on the Internet or misrepresentation of identity on the Internet for the purpose of harassment of a minor child. On Feb. 11, S-1420 was introduced and referred to the Senate Law & Public Safety Committee. A-413 was introduced and referred to the Assembly Law & Public Safety Committee on Jan. 12.

S-1743/A-2511 (Gill/Schaer) (Under review by the NJSBA) Establishes waiver, rebate or payment of insured's deductible, copayment, or coinsurance by health care practitioner as a form of insurance fraud subject to criminal and civil penalties. On March 16, A-2511 was introduced and referred to the Assembly Financial Institutions & Insurance Committee. S-1743 was introduced and referred to the Senate Commerce Committee on March 11.

S-2061/A-642 (Norcross/Moriarty) (NJSBA takes no position) Directs Attorney General to develop guidelines for positive identification of suspects before release in order to address the growing problem of "criminal identity theft." On June 21, S-2061 was introduced and referred to the Senate Law & Public Safety Committee. A-642 was introduced and referred to the Assembly Law & Public Safety Committee on Jan. 12.

A-124 (Biondi) (Under review by the NJSBA) This bill makes it a crime of the fourth degree for a person to negligently provide confidential information to a third party without first taking reasonable and adequate steps to ensure that the requestor is either the person to whom the confidential information belongs or is authorized to request the information. On Jan. 12, the bill was introduced and referred to the Assembly Judiciary Committee.

A-175 (Chiusano) (Under review by the NJSBA) Enhances duty and broadens liability concerning security of personal information, and response to breach of security, under "Identity Theft Prevention Act." On Jan. 12, the bill was introduced and referred to the Assembly Consumer Affairs Committee.

A-244 (Vandervalk) (Under review by the NJSBA) Makes it a crime of the third degree to practice psychology, marriage and family therapy, chiropractic or State-certified psychoanalysis without the appropriate license or certification. On Jan. 12, the bill was introduced and referred to the Assembly Judiciary Committee.

A-1130 (Evans) (Under review by the NJSBA) Adds fraud via telecommunication or electronic means to list of prohibited activities for certain security transactions; increases penalties. On Jan. 12, the bill was introduced and referred to the Assembly Financial Institutions & Insurance Committee.

A-1766 (Munoz) (NJSBA opposes) Imposes mandatory minimum terms of imprisonment and forfeiture of pension and retirement benefits for public officers or employees convicted of crimes involving or touching their office or employment. On Jan. 12, the bill was introduced and referred to the Assembly Judiciary Committee.

A-2243 (Vandervalk) (Under review by the NJSBA) Provides that an "attorney-in-fact" is a fiduciary for purposes of theft statutes. On Feb. 11, the bill was introduced and referred to the Assembly Judiciary Committee.

PUBLIC SAFETY

A-1115 (Evans) (Under review by the NJSBA) Requires owner to immediately report loss or theft of firearm to police. On Jan. 12, the bill was introduced and referred to the Assembly Law & Public Safety Committee.

A-1584 (Scalera) (Under review by the NJSBA) Criminalizes certain actions in or on railroad property. On Jan. 12, the bill was introduced and referred to the Assembly Homeland Security & State Preparedness Committee.

S-406/A-1530 (Haines/Lampitt) (Under review by the NJSBA) Permits a municipality to enact ordinance regulating where sex offenders may reside. On Jan. 12, both bills were introduced and referred to the Senate and Assembly Judiciary Committees.

UNAUTHORIZED PRACTICE OF LAW

S-184/A-1050 (Scutari/Quijano) (NJSBA supports) Upgrades the offense of knowingly engaging in unauthorized practice of law. Currently this is a disorderly persons offense but it is increased to a crime of the fourth degree if the person knowingly engages in the unauthorized practice of law and: (1) creates or reinforces a false impression that the person is licensed to engage in the practice of law; or (2) derives a benefit; or (3) in fact causes injury to another. On May 20, A-1050 passed in the Assembly (78-0), was received in the Senate and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee. S-184 was introduced and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Jan. 12.

VIOLENT CRIMES

S-1038/A-1791 (Connors/Munoz) (NJSBA opposes) Imposes mandatory term of life imprisonment without eligibility for parole on persons who commit particularly brutal sexual assaults. On Feb. 4, S-1038 was introduced and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee. A-1791 was introduced and referred to the Assembly Judiciary Committee on Jan. 12.

S-1102/A-384 (Bucco/Bucco) (Under review by the NJSBA) Restores the death penalty for persons who commit certain murders. On Feb. 4, S-1102 was introduced and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee. A-384 was introduced and referred to the Assembly Judiciary Committee on Jan. 12.

S-1522 (Goodwin) (Under review by the NJSBA) Provides life imprisonment without eligibility for parole for all murders. On Feb. 22, the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

S-2063/A-231 (Norcross/Vandervalk) (Under review by the NJSBA) Creates a "rape shield" statute for civil cases. Under current law, the "rape shield" statute in criminal prosecutions set out in N.J.S.A.2C:14-7 provides that evidence of the victim's previous sexual conduct is not admissible except under certain prescribed circumstances. The bill would establish similar provisions in civil actions alleging conduct, which would constitute sexual assault or sexual harassment. On June 21, S-2063 was introduced and referred to the Senate Judiciary. A-231 was released from the Assembly Judiciary Committee with amendments on May 13 and is awaiting Assembly vote.

A-494 (Polistina) (Under review by the NJSBA) Increases the penalty for certain types of manslaughter. On Jan. 12, the bill was introduced and referred to the Assembly Judiciary Committee.

A-3110 (Albano) (Under review by the NJSBA) Increases minimum penalty for aggravated manslaughter under certain circumstances. On July 1, the bill was introduced and referred to the Assembly Judiciary Committee.

Note: "Under review by the NJSBA" means that the bill is currently being examined by NJSBA sections, committees and/or Board of Trustees and a final position has not yet been reached on the measure.