Bill Text: NJ A4160 | 2018-2019 | Regular Session | Introduced


Bill Title: Imposes enhanced penalties for threat that is transmitted to kill or do harm on school property.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Republican 1-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2018-06-11 - Introduced, Referred to Assembly Judiciary Committee [A4160 Detail]

Download: New_Jersey-2018-A4160-Introduced.html

ASSEMBLY, No. 4160

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

218th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED JUNE 11, 2018

 


 

Sponsored by:

Assemblyman  PARKER SPACE

District 24 (Morris, Sussex and Warren)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Imposes enhanced penalties for threat that is transmitted to kill or do harm on school property. 

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

 


An Act concerning published threats of violence involving schools and amending N.J.S.2C:12-3 and N.J.S.2C:33-3.

 

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

 

     1.    N.J.S.2C:12-3 is amended to read as follows:

     2C:12-3.  Terroristic threats.

     a.     A person is guilty of a crime of the third degree if he threatens to commit any crime of violence with the purpose to terrorize another or to cause evacuation of a building, place of assembly, or facility of public transportation, or otherwise to cause serious public inconvenience, or in reckless disregard of the risk of causing such terror or inconvenience. A violation of this subsection is a crime of the second degree if it occurs during a declared period of national, State or county emergency.  The actor shall be strictly liable upon proof that the crime occurred, in fact, during a declared period of national, State or county emergency.  It shall not be a defense that the actor did not know that there was a declared period of emergency at the time the crime occurred.

     b.    A person is guilty of a crime of the third degree if he threatens to kill another with the purpose to put him in imminent fear of death under circumstances reasonably causing the victim to believe the immediacy of the threat and the likelihood that it will be carried out.

     c.     A person convicted of a violation of this section that involves a threat, transmitted in writing or other record including an electronic record, to kill or do serious bodily harm on any property used for school purposes, shall be sentenced to a term of imprisonment.  The term of imprisonment shall include a mandatory minimum term of one-third to one-half of the sentence imposed, or one year, whichever is greater, during which time the defendant shall not be eligible for parole.

(cf: P.L.2002, c.26, s.11)

 

     2.    N.J.S.2C:33-3 is amended to read as follows:

     2C:33-3.  False Public Alarms.  a.  (1) (a) Except as otherwise provided in this section, a person is guilty of a crime of the third degree if he initiates or circulates a report or warning of an impending fire, explosion, crime, catastrophe, emergency, or any other incident knowing that the report or warning is false or baseless and that it is likely to cause evacuation of a building, place of assembly, or facility of public transport, or to cause public inconvenience or alarm.  If the report or warning, transmitted in writing or other record including an electronic record, involves any property used for school purposes the person shall be sentenced to a term of imprisonment.  The term of imprisonment shall include a mandatory minimum term of one-third to one-half of the sentence imposed, or one year, whichever is greater, during which time the defendant shall not be eligible for parole.

     (b)   A person is guilty of a crime of the second degree if the false alarm involves a report or warning of an impending bombing, hostage situation, person armed with a deadly weapon as defined by subsection c. of N.J.S.2C:11-1, or any other incident that elicits an immediate or heightened response by law enforcement or emergency services.

     (c)   A person is guilty of a crime of the second degree if the false alarm involves a report or warning about any critical infrastructure located in this State.  For purposes of this subparagraph, "critical infrastructure" means any building, place of assembly, or facility that is indispensably necessary for national security, economic stability, or public safety.

     (2)   A person is guilty of a crime of the third degree if he knowingly causes the false alarm to be transmitted to or within any organization, official or volunteer, for dealing with emergencies involving danger to life or property.

     b.    A person is guilty of a crime of the second degree if in addition to the report or warning initiated, circulated or transmitted under subsection a. of this section, he places or causes to be placed any false or facsimile bomb in a building, place of assembly, or facility of public transport or in a place likely to cause public inconvenience or alarm. A violation of this subsection is a crime of the first degree if it occurs during a declared period of national, State or county emergency.

     c.     A person is guilty of a crime of the second degree if a violation of subsection a. of this section in fact results in serious bodily injury to another person or occurs during a declared period of national, State or county emergency.  A person is guilty of a crime of the first degree if a violation of subsection a. of this section in fact results in death.

     d.    For the purposes of this section, "in fact" means that strict liability is imposed. It shall not be a defense that the death or serious bodily injury was not a foreseeable consequence of the person's acts or that the death or serious bodily injury was caused by the actions of another person or by circumstances beyond the control of the actor.  The actor shall be strictly liable upon proof that the crime occurred during a declared period of national, State or county emergency.  It shall not be a defense that the actor did not know that there was a declared period of emergency at the time the crime occurred.

     e.     A person is guilty of a crime of the fourth degree if the person knowingly places a call to a 9-1-1 emergency telephone system without purpose of reporting the need for 9-1-1 service.

     All local and county law enforcement authorities shall submit an annual report, on a form prescribed by the Attorney General, to the Uniform Crime Reporting Unit, within the Division of State Police in the Department of Law and Public Safety, or to another designated recipient determined by the Attorney General, containing the number and nature of offenses under this section committed within their respective jurisdictions and the disposition of these offenses.  Every two years, the Uniform Crime Reporting Unit or other designated recipient of the annual reports shall forward a summary of all reports received during the preceding two-year period, along with a summary of offenses investigated by the Division of State Police for the same period, to the State's Office of Emergency Management.

(cf: P.L.2015, c.156, s.1)

 

     3.    This act shall take effect immediately.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill would enhance the penalties for the crimes of making a terroristic threat, and false public alarms. 

     Terroristic threat.  At present, a person is guilty of the third degree crime of terroristic threat if the actor threatens to commit any crime of violence with the purpose to terrorize another or to cause evacuation of a building, place of assembly, or facility of public transportation, or otherwise to cause serious public inconvenience, or in reckless disregard of the risk of causing such terror or inconvenience.  The crime is one of the second degree if it occurs during a declared period of national, State or county emergency.  A crime of the third degree is punishable by a term of three to five years' imprisonment, a fine of up to $15,000, or both.  Upon conviction, a third degree crime has a presumption of nonincarceration. 

     This bill eliminates the presumption in cases where the conviction is based on a targeted threat, transmitted in writing or other record including an electronic record, to kill or do serious bodily harm on any property used for school purposes.  Under those circumstances, the person shall be sentenced to a term of imprisonment which shall include a mandatory minimum term of one-third to one-half of the sentence imposed, or one year, whichever is greater, during which time the defendant shall not be eligible for parole.

     False public alarm.  At present, false public alarm is graded as a crime of the third degree, although numerous circumstances can elevate the offense to a crime of the second or first degree.  The basic offense occurs if a person initiates or circulates a report or warning of an impending fire, explosion, crime, catastrophe, emergency, or any other incident knowing that the report or warning is false or baseless and that it is likely to cause evacuation of a building, place of assembly, or facility of public transport, or to cause public inconvenience or alarm.  This bill provides that if the report or warning, transmitted in writing, or other record including an electronic record, involves any property used for school purposes the person shall be sentenced to a term of imprisonment.  The term of imprisonment shall include a mandatory minimum term of one-third to one-half of the sentence imposed, or one year, whichever is greater, during which time the defendant shall not be eligible for parole.

     This bill is modeled after a bill pending in the Florida legislature introduced following the mass shooting at a high school in Parkland.  That bill penalizes making a threat in writing or other record, including an electronic record, to kill or do great bodily injury and posting or transmiting the threat in a manner that would allow another person to view the threat.

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