Bill Text: NJ A2197 | 2012-2013 | Regular Session | Introduced


Bill Title: Makes various changes to registration and community notification requirements under Megan's Law.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Republican 2-0)

Status: (Introduced - Dead) 2012-02-02 - Introduced, Referred to Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee [A2197 Detail]

Download: New_Jersey-2012-A2197-Introduced.html

ASSEMBLY, No. 2197

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

215th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED FEBRUARY 2, 2012

 


 

Sponsored by:

Assemblyman  JOHN F. AMODEO

District 2 (Atlantic)

Assemblyman  CHRIS A. BROWN

District 2 (Atlantic)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Makes various changes to registration and community notification requirements under Megan's Law.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

  


An Act concerning sex offenders, amending P.L.1994, c.133 and P.L.1994, c.128, and amending and supplementing P.L.2001, c.167 (C.2C:7-12 et seq.).

 

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

 

     1.    Section 2 of P.L.1994, c.133 (C.2C:7-2) is amended to read as follows:

     2.    a.  (1) A person who has been convicted, adjudicated delinquent or found not guilty by reason of insanity for commission of a sex offense as defined in subsection b. of this section shall register as provided in subsections c. and d. of this section.

     (2)   A person who in another jurisdiction is required to register as a sex offender and (a) is enrolled on a full-time or part-time basis in any public or private educational institution in this State, including any secondary school, trade or professional institution, institution of higher education or other post-secondary school, or (b) is employed or carries on a vocation in this State, on either a full-time or a part-time basis, with or without compensation, for more than 14 consecutive days or for an aggregate period exceeding 30 days in a calendar year, shall register in this State as provided in subsections c. and d. of this section.

     (3)   A person who fails to register as required under this act shall be guilty of a crime of the third degree.

     b.    For the purposes of this act a sex offense shall include the following:

     (1)   Aggravated sexual assault, sexual assault, aggravated criminal sexual contact, kidnapping pursuant to paragraph (2) of subsection c. of N.J.S.2C:13-1 or an attempt to commit any of these crimes if the court found that the offender's conduct was characterized by a pattern of repetitive, compulsive behavior, regardless of the date of the commission of the offense or the date of conviction;

     (2)   A conviction, adjudication of delinquency, or acquittal by reason of insanity for aggravated sexual assault; sexual assault; aggravated criminal sexual contact; kidnapping pursuant to paragraph (2) of subsection c. of N.J.S.2C:13-1; endangering the welfare of a child by engaging in sexual conduct which would impair or debauch the morals of the child pursuant to subsection a. of N.J.S.2C:24-4; endangering the welfare of a child pursuant to paragraph (3) or (4) or subparagraph (a) of paragraph (5) of subsection b. of N.J.S.2C:24-4; luring or enticing pursuant to section 1 of P.L.1993, c.291 (C.2C:13-6); criminal sexual contact pursuant to N.J.S.2C:14-3b. if the victim is a minor; kidnapping pursuant to N.J.S.2C:13-1, criminal restraint pursuant to N.J.S.2C:13-2, or false imprisonment pursuant to N.J.S.2C:13-3 if the victim is a minor and the offender is not the parent of the victim; knowingly promoting prostitution of a child pursuant to paragraph (3) or paragraph (4) of subsection b. of N.J.S.2C:34-1; or an attempt to commit any of these enumerated offenses if the conviction, adjudication of delinquency or acquittal by reason of insanity is entered on or after the effective date of this act or the offender is serving a sentence of incarceration, probation, parole or other form of community supervision as a result of the offense or is confined following acquittal by reason of insanity or as a result of civil commitment on the effective date of this act;

     (3)   A conviction, adjudication of delinquency or acquittal by reason of insanity for an offense similar to any offense enumerated in paragraph (2) or a sentence on the basis of criteria similar to the criteria set forth in paragraph (1) of this subsection entered or imposed under the laws of the United States, this State or another state.

     c.     A person required to register under the provisions of this act shall do so on forms to be provided by the designated registering agency as follows:

     (1)   A person who is required to register and who is under supervision in the community on probation, parole, furlough, work release, or a similar program, shall register at the time the person is placed under supervision or no later than 120 days after the effective date of this act, whichever is later, in accordance with procedures established by the Department of Corrections, the Department of Human Services, the Juvenile Justice Commission established pursuant to section 2 of P.L.1995, c.284 (C.52:17B-170) or the Administrative Office of the Courts, whichever is responsible for supervision;

     (2)   A person confined in a correctional or juvenile facility or involuntarily committed who is required to register shall register prior to release in accordance with procedures established by the Department of Corrections, the Department of Human Services or the Juvenile Justice Commission and, within 48 hours of release, shall also register with the chief law enforcement officer of the municipality in which the person resides or, if the municipality does not have a local police force, the Superintendent of State Police;

     (3)   A person moving to or returning to this State from another jurisdiction shall register with the chief law enforcement officer of the municipality in which the person will reside or, if the municipality does not have a local police force, the Superintendent of State Police within 120 days of the effective date of this act or 10 days of first residing in or returning to a municipality in this State, whichever is later;

     (4)   A person required to register on the basis of a conviction prior to the effective date who is not confined or under supervision on the effective date of this act shall register within 120 days of the effective date of this act with the chief law enforcement officer of the municipality in which the person will reside or, if the municipality does not have a local police force, the Superintendent of State Police;

     (5)   A person who in another jurisdiction is required to register as a sex offender and who is enrolled on a full-time or part-time basis in any public or private educational institution in this State, including any secondary school, trade or professional institution, institution of higher education or other post-secondary school shall, within ten days of commencing attendance at such educational institution, register with the chief law enforcement officer of the municipality in which the educational institution is located or, if the municipality does not have a local police force, the Superintendent of State Police;

     (6)   A person who in another jurisdiction is required to register as a sex offender and who is employed or carries on a vocation in this State, on either a full-time or a part-time basis, with or without compensation, for more than 14 consecutive days or for an aggregate period exceeding 30 days in a calendar year, shall, within ten days after commencing such employment or vocation, register with the chief law enforcement officer of the municipality in which the employer is located or where the vocation is carried on, as the case may be, or, if the municipality does not have a local police force, the Superintendent of State Police;

     (7)   In addition to any other registration requirements set forth in this section, a person required to register under this act who is enrolled at, employed by or carries on a vocation at an institution of higher education or other post-secondary school in this State shall, within ten days after commencing such attendance, employment or vocation, register with the law enforcement unit of the educational institution, if the institution has such a unit.

     d.    (1) Upon a change of address, a person shall notify the law enforcement agency with which the person is registered and shall re-register with the appropriate law enforcement agency no less than 10 days before he intends to first reside at his new address. Upon a change of employment or school enrollment status, a person shall notify the appropriate law enforcement agency no later than five days after any such change.  A person who fails to notify the appropriate law enforcement agency of a change of address or status in accordance with this subsection is guilty of a crime of the fourth degree.

     (2)   A person required to register under this act shall provide the appropriate law enforcement agency with information as to whether the person has routine access to or use of a computer or any other device with Internet capability. A person who fails to notify the appropriate law enforcement agency of such information or of a change in the person's access to or use of a computer or other device with Internet capability or who provides false information concerning the person's access to or use of a computer or any other device with Internet capability is guilty of a crime of the fourth degree.

     e.     A person required to register under paragraph (1) of subsection b. of this section or under paragraph (3) of subsection b. due to a sentence imposed on the basis of criteria similar to the criteria set forth in paragraph (1) of subsection b. shall verify his address [with the appropriate law enforcement agency] every 90 days with, and be photographed every 180 days by, the appropriate law enforcement agency in a manner prescribed by the Attorney General.  A person required to register under paragraph (2) of subsection b. of this section or under paragraph (3) of subsection b. on the basis of a conviction for an offense similar to an offense enumerated in paragraph (2) of subsection b. shall verify his address annually with, and be photographed every 180 days by, the appropriate law enforcement agency in a manner prescribed by the Attorney General.  One year after the effective date of this act, the Attorney General shall review, evaluate and, if warranted, modify pursuant to the "Administrative Procedure Act," P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.) the verification requirement.  Any person who knowingly provides false information concerning his place of residence or who fails to verify his address with the appropriate law enforcement agency or other entity, as prescribed by the Attorney General in accordance with this subsection, is guilty of a crime of the fourth degree.

     f.     Except as provided in subsection g. of this section, a person required to register under this act may make application to the Superior Court of this State to terminate the obligation upon proof that the person has not committed an offense within 15 years following conviction or release from a correctional facility for any term of imprisonment imposed, whichever is later, and is not likely to pose a threat to the safety of others.

     g.     A person required to register under this section who has been convicted of, adjudicated delinquent, or acquitted by reason of insanity for more than one sex offense as defined in subsection b. of this section or who has been convicted of, adjudicated delinquent, or acquitted by reason of insanity for aggravated sexual assault pursuant to subsection a. of N.J.S.2C:14-2 or sexual assault pursuant to paragraph (1) of subsection c. of N.J.S.2C:14-2 is not eligible under subsection f. of this section to make application to the Superior Court of this State to terminate the registration obligation.

(cf: P.L.2007, c.219, s.2)

 

     2.    Section 2 of P.L.1994, c.128 (C.2C:7-7) is amended to read as follows:

     2.    After receipt of notification and registration pursuant to P.L.1994, c.133 (C.2C:7-1 et al.) that a person required to register pursuant to that act intends to change his address, the chief law enforcement officer of the municipality to which the person is relocating shall provide notification of that relocation to the community pursuant to section 3 of this act.  If the municipality does not have a police force, the Superintendent of State Police shall provide notification.

     Community notification shall be provided immediately after the person begins to reside in the new municipality based on the person's existing risk assessment.  If the person's risk of re-offense is revised, the chief law enforcement officer or superintendent, as appropriate, shall provide community notification based on the new risk assessment.

(cf:  P.L.1994, c.128, s.2)

 

     3.    Section 3 of P.L.1994, c.128 (C.2C:7-8) is amended to read as follows:

     3.    a.  After consultation with members of the advisory council established pursuant to section 6 of this act and within 60 days of the effective date, the Attorney General shall promulgate guidelines and procedures for the notification required pursuant to the provisions of this act.  The guidelines shall identify factors relevant to risk of re-offense and shall provide for three levels of notification depending upon the degree of the risk of re-offense.

     b.    Factors relevant to risk of re-offense shall include, but not be limited to, the following:

     (1)   Conditions of release that minimize risk of re-offense, including but not limited to whether the offender is under supervision of probation or parole [;] or receiving counseling, therapy or treatment [; or residing in a home situation that provides guidance and supervision];

     (2)   Physical conditions that minimize risk of re-offense, including but not limited to advanced age or debilitating illness; 

     (3)   Criminal history factors indicative of high risk of re-offense, including:

     (a)   Whether the offender's conduct was found to be characterized by repetitive and compulsive behavior;

     (b)   Whether the offender served the maximum term;

     (c)   Whether the offender committed the sex offense against a child;

     (4)   Other criminal history factors to be considered in determining risk, including:

     (a)   The relationship between the offender and the victim;

     (b)   Whether the offense involved the use of a weapon, violence, or infliction of serious bodily injury;

     (c)   The number, date and nature of prior offenses;

     (5)   Whether psychological or psychiatric profiles indicate a risk of recidivism;

     (6)   The offender's response to treatment;

     (7)   Recent behavior, including behavior while confined or while under supervision in the community as well as behavior in the community following service of sentence; and 

     (8)   Recent threats against persons or expressions of intent to commit additional crimes.

     c.     The [regulations] guidelines shall provide for three levels of notification depending upon the risk of re-offense by the offender as follows: 

     (1)   If risk of re-offense is low, law enforcement agencies likely to encounter the person registered shall be notified;

     (2)   If risk of re-offense is moderate, organizations in the community including schools, religious and youth organizations shall be notified in accordance with the Attorney General's guidelines, in addition to the notice required by paragraph (1) of this subsection; 

     (3)   If risk of re-offense is high, the public shall be notified through means in accordance with the Attorney General's guidelines designed to reach members of the public likely to encounter the person registered, in addition to the notice required by paragraphs (1) and (2) of this subsection. 

     d.    In order to promote uniform application of the notification guidelines required by this section, the Attorney General shall develop procedures for evaluation of the risk of re-offense and implementation of community notification.  These procedures shall require, but not be limited to, the following: 

     (1)   The county prosecutor of the county where the person was convicted and the county prosecutor of the county where the registered person will reside, together with any law enforcement officials that either deems appropriate, shall assess the risk of re-offense by the registered person, except that in the case of a person who is incarcerated or otherwise in custody, the risk of re-offense shall be assessed prior to the person's release from incarceration or custody

     (2)   The county prosecutor of the county in which the registered person will reside, after consultation with local law enforcement officials, shall determine the means of providing notification.  Volunteers trained by the county prosecutor may provide community notification with or without being accompanied by a local law enforcement official.  The Attorney General shall develop a program to be utilized by the county prosecutors in training volunteers to provide community notification.

     e.     The Attorney General's guidelines shall provide for the manner in which records of notification provided pursuant to this act shall be maintained and disclosed. 

     f.     The Attorney General shall develop procedures for the county prosecutors to utilize in evaluating the sex offender registration records of other jurisdictions and comparing those records with the factors relevant to the risk of re-offense and any other criteria utilized in determining an offender's risk of re-offense. Whenever a sex offender registered in another jurisdiction establishes residence and registers in this State, the county prosecutor shall, within 48 hours of such registration, evaluate the offender's registration record compiled by the other jurisdiction.  If the county prosecutor determines that the person's risk of re-offense is high, notification shall be provided within 48 hours pursuant to paragraph (3) of subsection c. of this section.

(cf: P.L.1994, c.128, s.3)

 

     4.    Section 2 of P.L.2001, c.167 (C.2C:7-13) is amended to read as follows:

     2.    a.  Pursuant to the provisions of this section, the Superintendent of State Police shall develop and maintain a system for making certain information in the central registry established pursuant to subsection d. of section 4 of P.L.1994, c.133 (C.2C:7-4) publicly available by means of electronic Internet technology.

     b.    The public may, without limitation, obtain access to the Internet registry to view an individual registration record, any part of, or the entire Internet registry concerning all offenders whose risk of re-offense is high or for whom the court has ordered notification in accordance with paragraph (3) of subsection c. of section 3 of P.L.1994, c.128 (C.2C:7-8), regardless of the age of the offender.

     c.     Except as provided in subsection d. of this section, the public may, without limitation, obtain access to the Internet registry to view an individual registration record, any part of, or the entire Internet registry concerning offenders whose risk of re-offense is moderate and for whom the court has ordered notification in accordance with paragraph (2) of subsection c. of section 3 of P.L.1994, c.128 (C.2C:7-8).

     d.    The individual registration record of an offender whose risk of re-offense has been determined to be moderate and for whom the court has ordered notification in accordance with paragraph (2) of subsection c. of section 3 of P.L.1994, c.128 (C.2C:7-8) shall not be made available to the public on the Internet registry if the sole sex offense committed by the offender which renders him subject to the requirements of P.L.1994, c.133 (C.2C:7-1 et seq.) is one of the following:

     (1)   An adjudication of delinquency for any sex offense as defined in subsection b. of section 2 of P.L.1994, c.133 (C.2C:7-2);

     (2)   A conviction or acquittal by reason of insanity for a violation of N.J.S.2C:14-2 or N.J.S.2C:14-3 under circumstances in which the offender was related to the victim by blood or affinity to the third degree or was a resource family parent, a guardian, or stood in loco parentis within the household; or

     (3)   A conviction or acquittal by reason of insanity for a violation of N.J.S.2C:14-2 or N.J.S.2C:14-3 in any case in which the victim assented to the commission of the offense but by reason of age was not capable of giving lawful consent.

     For purposes of this subsection, "sole sex offense" means a single conviction, adjudication of guilty or acquittal by reason of insanity, as the case may be, for a sex offense which involved no more than one victim, no more than one occurrence or, in the case of an offense which meets the criteria of paragraph (2) of this subsection, members of no more than a single household.

     e.     Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph d. of this subsection, the individual registration record of an offender to whom an exception enumerated in paragraph (1), (2) or (3) of subsection d. of this section applies shall be made available to the public on the Internet registry if the State establishes by clear and convincing evidence that, given the particular facts and circumstances of the offense and the characteristics and propensities of the offender, the risk to the general public posed by the offender is substantially similar to that posed by offenders whose risk of re-offense is moderate and  who do not qualify under the enumerated exceptions.

     f.     The individual registration records of offenders whose risk of re-offense is low or of offenders whose risk of re-offense is moderate but for whom the court has not ordered notification in accordance with paragraph (2) of subsection c. of section 3 of P.L.1994, c.128 (C.2C:7-8) shall not be available to the public on the Internet registry.

     g.     The information concerning a registered offender to be made publicly available on the Internet shall include: the offender's name and any aliases the offender has used or under which the offender may be or may have been known; any sex offense as defined in subsection b. of section 2 of P.L.1994, c.133 (C.2C:7-2) for which the offender was convicted, adjudicated delinquent or acquitted by reason of insanity, as the case may be; the date and location of disposition; a brief description of any such offense, including the victim's gender and indication of whether the victim was less than 18 years old or less than 13 years old; a general description of the offender's modus operandi, if any; the determination of whether the risk of re-offense by the offender is moderate or high; the offender's age, race, sex, date of birth, height, weight, hair, eye color and any distinguishing scars or tattoos; a photograph of the offender, which shall be updated every 180 days; and the date on which the photograph was entered into the registry; the make, model, color, year and license plate number of any vehicle operated by the offender; and the street address, zip code, municipality and county in which the offender resides.

     h.     Upon registration by an offender pursuant to the provisions of section 2 of P.L.1994, c.133 (C.2C:7-2), the superintendent shall provide for immediate publication of the individual registration record of any offender who was required to register as a sex offender in another jurisdiction and whose individual registration record was made publicly available on that jurisdiction's Internet registry.

(cf: P.L.2004, c.151, s.1)

 

     5.    (New section)  a.  The Attorney General shall provide a means for notification by electronic mail when a sex offender whose registration information is posted on the Internet pursuant to P.L.2001, c.167 (C.2C:7-12 et seq.) registers a new address in a different zip code from the offender's previous address.

     b.    A person may request to be notified and register an electronic mail address to receive notification pursuant to subsection a. of this section that a sex offender has registered a new address in that person's zip code.

 

     6.    This act shall take effect immediately on the first day of the seventh month after enactment.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill makes various amendments to Megan's Law to further enhance the public safety.  The bill:

        expedites the community notification required by Megan's Law when a sex offender changes his address.  Under the bill's provisions, community notification would be provided immediately after the person begins to reside at the new address based on the person's existing tier designation.  If the person's tier designation is revised, notification subsequently would be provided based on the new designation;

        requires county prosecutors to determine an offender's risk of re-offense, or tier, prior to the inmate's release from incarceration or custody.  At present, many sex offenders are not tiered until they have been released into the community.  Under current law, the factors which the prosecutor is required to consider in determining the tier designation include whether the offender is residing in a home situation that provides guidance and supervision.  The bill removes this factor so that prosecutors may tier the offender prior to their release from incarceration or custody;

        requires the Attorney General to provide a means for notification by electronic mail when a sex offender listed on the Internet registry registers a new address in a different zip code from the offender's previous address.  Members of the public may submit a request to be notified by electronic mail that a sex offender listed on the Internet registry has registered a new address in that person's zip code;

        requires the Attorney General to develop procedures for the county prosecutors to use in evaluating and comparing the sex offender registration records of other jurisdictions with risk assessment under Megan's Law.  Whenever a sex offender registered in another jurisdiction establishes residence and registers in this State, the county prosecutor would, within 48 hours of such registration, evaluate the offender's registration record compiled by the other jurisdiction.  If the county prosecutor determines the person's risk of re-offense is high, community notification would be provided within 48 hours of such determination;

        requires the Superintendent of State Police to immediately publish the individual registration record of any sex offender who moves into New Jersey if that offender's individual registration record was made publicly available on another jurisdiction's Internet registry;

        requires all sex offenders to be photographed by the appropriate law enforcement agency every 180 days and the photograph on the Internet registry to also be updated every 180 days;

        permits county prosecutors to train volunteers to provide community notification with or without being accompanied by local law enforcement officials.  The bill requires the Attorney General to develop a program to be utilized by the county prosecutors in training volunteers to provide community notification.

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