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

Capitol Report

August 30, 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 TWO)

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

Pending Legislation

DISORDERLY PERSONS OFFENSE

S-119/A-311 (Connors/Rumpf) (NJSBA supports) Clarifies that harassment made anonymously or otherwise through electronic communication devices constitutes a petty disorderly offense. On Jan. 12, both bills were introduced and referred to the Senate and Assembly Judiciary Committees.

S-568/A-125 (Bateman/Biondi) (Under review by the NJSBA) Requires fingerprinting for certain disorderly persons offenses. On Jan. 12, both bills were introduced and referred to the Senate and Assembly Judiciary Committees.

S-724/A-2593 (Sacco/Quigley) (NJSBA opposes) Expands DNA the database to include samples from disorderly persons and certain violent arrestees. On March 22, A-2593 was introduced and referred to the Assembly Law & Public Safety Committee. S-724 was introduced and referred to the Senate Law & Public Safety Committee on Jan. 12.

A-1788 (Munoz) (Under review by the NJSBA) Upgrades the disorderly persons offense of desecration of a venerated object to a crime of the third degree if the object desecrated is a military monument. On Jan. 12, the bill was introduced and referred to the Assembly Military & Veterans Affairs Committee.

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

S-115/A-299 (Connors/Rumpf) (NJSBA opposes) Requires court to consider results of domestic violence assessment before dissolving certain domestic violence restraining orders. On Jan. 12, both bills were introduced and referred to the Senate and Assembly Judiciary Committees.

A-272 (Russo) (NJSBA opposes) Imposes mandatory terms of imprisonment for contempt for violation of domestic violence orders. On Jan. 12, the bill was introduced and referred to the Assembly Judiciary Committee.

A-449 (Voss) (NJSBA opposes) Creates the offense of impairing communications, which would constitute domestic violence in certain circumstances. On Jan. 12, the bill was introduced and referred to the Assembly Judiciary Committee.

A-577 (Cryan) (NJSBA takes no position) Creates an e-mail registration requirement for convicted stalkers. On Jan. 12, the bill was introduced and referred to the Assembly Judiciary Committee.

A-2249 (Voss) (Under review by the NJSBA) Increases certain sentences and imposes bail restrictions on persons who violate domestic violence restraining orders under certain circumstances; authorizes the court to order evaluation and treatment. On Feb. 11, the bill was introduced and referred to the Assembly Judiciary Committee.

ELDER AND DISABLED VICTIMS

A-1013 (Spencer) (NJSBA opposes) Provides enhanced penalties for certain crimes when victim is 65 years of age or older, or disabled. On Jan. 12, the bill was introduced and referred to the Assembly Law & Public Safety Committee.

S-1702/A-1072 (Turner/Gusciora) (NJSBA opposes) Upgrades assault on victims who are disabled. On March 11, S-1702 introduced and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee. A-1072 was introduced and referred to the Assembly Judiciary Committee on Jan. 12.

JUVENILE JUSTICE

S-905 (Cunningham) (Under review by the NJSBA) Clarifies juvenile's right to attorney representation; requires twelve month judicial review hearing when juvenile is placed out-of-home. On Feb. 1, the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Law & Public Safety Committee.

S-1036 (Connors) (NJSBA opposes) Imposes mandatory minimum terms of incarceration on juveniles who use guns to commit acts which, if committed by adults, would constitute serious crimes. On Feb. 4, the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Law & Public Safety Committee.

MOTOR VEHICLE OFFENSES

S-506 (Girgenti) (Under review by the NJSBA) Provides for forfeiture of vehicle where weapon was unlawfully possessed. On Jan. 12, the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Law & Public Safety Committee.

S-1580/A-138 (Oroho/McHose) (Under review by the NJSBA) Adds "significant bodily injury" to assault by auto or vessel statute; upgrades penalties for inflicting serious bodily injury. On March 4, S-1580 was introduced and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee. A-138 was introduced and referred to the Assembly Law & Public Safety Committee on Jan. 12.

S-872/A-306 (Connors/Rumpf) (NJSBA opposes) Criminalizes the fifth or subsequent drunk driving offenses. On Jan. 12, the bill was introduced and referred to the Assembly Law & Public Safety Committee.

S-1076 (Bucco) (NJSBA takes no position) Clarifies that using motor vehicle to publicly display obscene material is fourth degree crime. On Feb. 4, the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Law & Public Safety Committee.

S-1581 (Oroho) (Under review by the NJSBA) David's Law; establishes crime of negligent vehicular homicide. On March 4, the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

S-1639/A-1283 (Ciesla/Holzapfel) (Under review by the NJSBA) Upgrades penalties for drag racing. On May 20, S-1639 passed in the Senate (37-1). A-1283 was introduced and referred to the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee on Jan. 12.

S-1713 (Turner) (Under review by the NJSBA) Upgrades sexual assault to aggravated sexual assault when committed in conjunction with a carjacking. On March 11, the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

S-2152 (Beck) (Under review by the NJSBA) Makes theft, misappropriation, or wrongful operation of certain motorbuses a second degree crime. On June 28, the bill was introduced and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

S-781/A-814 (Madden/Albano) (Under review by the NJSBA) Includes death by auto or vessel and certain assaults as crimes with bail restrictions. On Jan. 12, Both bills were introduced and referred to the Senate and Assembly Judiciary Committees.

A-3117 (Conaway) (Under review by the NJSBA) Establishes death by auto as first-degree crime in certain circumstances; designated as Dirk's law. On July 1, the bill was introduced and referred to the Assembly Law & Public Safety Committee.

SELF-DEFENSE

S-555/A-198 (Cunningham/Chiusano) (Under review by the NJSBA) The "New Jersey Self-Defense Law;" authorizes a person to use force, including deadly force, against an intruder or attacker in a dwelling, residence or occupied vehicle in those instances where the actor reasonably fears imminent peril of death or serious bodily harm. On Jan. 12, both bills were introduced and referred to the Senate and Assembly Law & Public Safety Committees respectively.

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.