Lisa’s Law advances in NJ Assembly
The shore-sponsored bill that would give judges the option of ordering electronic monitoring of domestic abuse offenders clears a state Assembly committee and heads to a full lower-house vote.
Republican Ron Dancer (R-12) sponsors Lisa's Law (A-315). The measure under consideration would create a four-year pilot program, situated in Ocean County.
Under terms of the bill, defendants who are convicted of violating restraining orders, who are then ordered to wear tracking devices as a condition of release, would risk three to five more years in prison and fines as high as $15,000 for tampering, vandalizing or removing them.
If it becomes law, Dancer said, New Jersey would set a national precedent.
It was inspired by Letizia "Lisa" Zindell of Toms River, a social worker for the New Jersey Divison of Youth and Family Services, who in 2009 was strangled to death by her ex-fiancee, a day after his release from confinement for the last of several restraining-order violations.
"Physical abuse almost always results in long-term psychological harm and never should be tolerated," Dancer said in prepared comments..
"Lisa did everything she could to try to protect herself, but our current law wasn't enough. We need to keep people safe from abusers who are likely to continue their depraved behavior. This measure will allow us to take advantage of all available technology to make sure violent offenders cannot repeat their crimes."
Dancer and Beck bills aim to reinforce protections
Dancer's bill advances on the same day that the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee approved Senator Jennifer Beck's (R-11) measure to restrict firearms access for restraining-order violators or convicted domestic violence offenders.
The proposal, S-2483, provides for clear, accountable and immediae surrender of weapons, according to Beck. It was inspired by the shocking ordeal that befell former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, one of 19 shooting victims in a Tuscon supermarket parking lot by a gunman fixated on the Representative. Six victims died.
Beck's bill came to her attention as a co-founder of Americans for Responsible Solutions, a gun-violence prevention advocacy group, and has her support. It cleared the New Jersey State Senate by a 32-0 vote in August.
"This legislation closes loopholes by ensuring that when firearms must be surrendered due to conviction or restraining order, there are no gaps where the person still has access to their guns or the ability to cause additional harm," Beck said.
"If a person poses such a risk to another that a restraining order is necessary, their guns should be surrendered immediately."
Among the main components are: direct handoff of weapons to law enforcement officers by offenders who are issued final or temporary restraining orders requiring surrender of firearms; notification of penalties for failure to comply; enhanced penalties for domestic violence offenders; and maximum penalties for second and subsequent third-or-fourth-degree domestic violence crimes.