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

Capitol Report

August 23, 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 ONE)

This special edition of the Capitol Report focuses on Criminal Law legislation that is currently pending in the State Legislature. This is the first of four reports focusing on Criminal Law.

New Laws

P.L.2010, c.5 (Sweeney) (NJSBA supports) Establishes the Central Registry of Offenders Against Individuals with Developmental Disabilities in the Department of Human Services (DHS), to provide for the protection of individuals with developmental disabilities by identifying in the central registry those caregivers who have wrongfully caused injury to individuals with developmental disabilities On April 30, S-825 was signed by the governor.

On the Governor's Desk

A-973 (Johnson) Creates Juvenile Transfer Task Force to study, evaluate, and develop recommendations concerning the transfer of juveniles from the juvenile justice system to the adult criminal justice system. On June 28, A-973 substituted for S-1564, passed in the Senate (37-2) and was sent to the governor.

Pending Legislation

ANIMAL CRUELTY

S-241 (Bateman) (Under review by the NJSBA) Creates the crime of threatening the life of certain animals. On Jan. 12, the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Economic Growth Committee.

S-539 (Kean) (Under review by the NJSBA) Establishes crimes of dog fighting and leader of a dog fighting network; amends the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) to add leader of a dog fighting network. On Jan. 12, the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

S-648/A-1275 (Ciesla/Holzapfel) (Under review by the NJSBA) Recodifies offenses against animals under State criminal code; increases degree of crime for certain offenses. On Jan. 12, both bills were introduced and referred to the Senate Economic Growth Committee and the Assembly Judiciary Committee, respectively.

S-1154/A-832 (Van Drew/Albano) (Under review by the NJSBA) Establishes new crimes concerning service dogs and upgrades crimes against certain other animals. On Feb. 4, S-1154 was introduced and referred to the Senate Economic Growth Committee. A-832 was introduced and referred to the Assembly Agriculture & Natural Resources Committee on Jan. 12.

S-1161 (Van Drew) (Under review by the NJSBA) Establishes criminal offense of animal cruelty in the presence of a child. On Feb. 4, the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Economic Growth Committee.

S-1170/A-2694 (Van Drew/Albano) (Under review by the NJSBA) Establishes animal hoarding as a criminal and civil animal cruelty offense. On May 13, A-2694 was introduced and referred to the Assembly Agriculture & Natural Resources Committee. Establishes animal hoarding as a criminal and civil animal cruelty offense. S-1170 was introduced and referred to the Senate Economic Growth Committee on Feb. 4.

S-1193 (Van Drew) Revises animal cruelty offenses concerning abuse, abandonment, neglect, and improper euthanizing of animals, increases criminal and civil penalties therefore; establishes such penalties for new offenses; repeals conflicting sections of law. On Feb. 4, the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Economic Growth Committee.

A-1882 (Johnson) (Under review by the NJSBA) Requires animal cruelty training for selected assistant county prosecutors and tracking of animal cruelty cases in State uniform crime reporting system; directs Attorney General to issue prosecutor guidelines for animal cruelty cases. On Jan. 25, the bill was introduced and referred to the Assembly Law & Public Safety Committee.

ASSAULT AND BODILY INJURY

S-1614/A-1171 (Haines/Addiego) (NJSBA opposes) Upgrades the offense of simple assault to aggravated assault when committed against any process server and any licensed private detective or investigator. On March 4 S-1614 was introduced and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee. A-1171 was introduced and referred to the Assembly Judiciary Committee on Jan. 12.

S-911/A2309 (Girgenti/Scalera) (NJSBA takes no position) Upgrades penalties for assaulting certain health care professionals and workers at health care facilities and human services and veterans' facilities. On June 21, A-2309 was amended in the Assembly and is awaiting Assembly vote. S-911 passed in the Senate (37-0) on March 11.

A-1525 (Chiappone) (Under review by the NJSBA) Establishes crime of using a defaced or stolen firearm to cause serious bodily or bodily injury to a law enforcement officer; enhances penalties concerning defaced firearms. On Jan. 12, the bill was introduced and referred to the Assembly Law & Public Safety Committee.

A-2208 (Casagrande) (Under review by the NJSBA) Provides for mandatory life imprisonment for aggravated sexual assault. On Feb. 11, the bill was introduced and referred to the Assembly Judiciary Committee.

S-297 (Allen) (NJSBA opposes) Provides for a mandatory minimum term for assaulting a law enforcement officer. On Jan. 12, the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Law & Public Safety Committee.

NEW CRIMES AND PENALTIES

S-1183 (Van Drew) (Under review by the NJSBA) Establishes criminal and civil penalties for transmission of certain commercial electronic mail messages. On Feb. 4, the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Commerce Committee.

S-1316 (Turner) (NJSBA opposes) Authorizes the court to issue restraining orders to defendants charged with a crime as a condition of release on bail. On Feb. 8, the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

A-162 (McHose) (Under review by the NJSBA) Establishes sex-selection and race-selection abortions as third degree crimes and permits civil actions. On Jan. 12, the bill was introduced and referred to the Assembly Judiciary Committee.

A-1814 (Casagrande) (Under review by the NJSBA) Revises the law concerning hazing; upgrades criminal penalties, provides certain immunities, creates civil offense and requires written policies. On Jan. 12, the bill was introduced and referred to the Assembly Law & Public Safety Committee.

A-1326 (Wolfe) (Under review by the NJSBA) Enhances the penalty for leaving the scene of a boating accident. On Jan. 12, the bill was introduced and referred to the Assembly Law & Public Safety Committee.

A-1890 (Cryan) (Under review by the NJSBA) Permits the issuance of restraining orders against persons charged with certain prostitution related offenses. On Jan. 25, the bill was introduced and referred to the Assembly Judiciary Committee.

A-1113 (Evans) (NJSBA opposes) Establishes the crime of negligent homicide. On Jan. 12, the bill was introduced and referred to the Assembly Judiciary Committee.

A-2287 (Coutinho) (NJSBA opposes) "Helen's Law;" establishes criminal penalty for causing death or serious bodily injury when violating hands-free cell phone law when driving. On Feb. 18, the bill was introduced and referred to the Assembly Law & Public Safety Committee.

PAROLEES

A-106 (Biondi) (Under review by the NJSBA) Prohibits persons convicted of the following crimes from possessing body vest: aggravated assault; arson; burglary; escape; extortion; homicide; kidnapping; robbery; aggravated sexual assault; sexual assault; bias intimidation; endangering the welfare of a child; carjacking; possession of a prohibited weapon or device; possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose; unlawful manufacture, transportation, disposition and defacement of weapons and dangerous instruments and appliances; or unlawful use, possession or sale of a controlled dangerous substance. On Jan. 12, the bill was introduced and referred to the Assembly Law & Public Safety Committee.

S-1715/A-1737 (Turner/Watson Coleman) (Under review by the NJSBA) Decreases the penalty for certain parole violations. On Jan. 12, both bills were introduced and referred to the Senate and Assembly Law & Public Safety Committees.

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.