Bill Text: NJ S2591 | 2020-2021 | Regular Session | Amended


Bill Title: Provides for resentencing of certain inmates.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 3-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2020-08-25 - Reported from Senate Committee with Amendments, 2nd Reading [S2591 Detail]

Download: New_Jersey-2020-S2591-Amended.html

[First Reprint]

SENATE, No. 2591

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

219th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED JUNE 22, 2020

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator  NELLIE POU

District 35 (Bergen and Passaic)

 

Co-Sponsored by:

Senators Gill and Scutari

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Provides for resentencing of certain inmates.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As reported by the Senate Judiciary Committee on August 25, 2020, with amendments.

  


An Act concerning certain inmates and supplementing Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes.

 

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

 

     1.    a.  The Commissioner of Corrections shall issue a Certificate of Eligibility for Resentencing to any inmate 1, upon request by the inmate,1 who:

     (1)   committed a crime as a juvenile and was tried as an adult;

     (2)   received an aggregate sentence of incarceration of 30 years or more; 1and1

     (3)   has served at least 20 years of that sentence 1[; and

     (4)   has not been resentenced or previously sought relief under this section]1.

      b.   (1)  Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, an inmate who receives a Certificate of Eligibility for Resentencing issued pursuant to subsection a. of this section and received an aggregate sentence of incarceration with a period of parole ineligibility of 20 years or more 1and who has not been resentenced or previously sought relief under this section1 may petition the court for resentencing pursuant to the provisions of this section.

     (2)   Notwithstanding any court rule or any other provision of law to the contrary, the court, upon consideration of a petition filed pursuant to paragraph (1) of this subsection, may, in its discretion, modify, reduce, or suspend the sentence, including any minimum or mandatory sentence or a portion of the sentence imposed upon the inmate.

     If the court determines that a change in the inmate's original sentence is not warranted, the court shall issue a written order stating the reasons for denying modification.  The provisions of this section shall not require the court to grant a sentence modification.

      c.    An inmate who has been issued a Certificate of Eligibility for Resentencing shall be represented by the Office of the Public Defender for the purpose of filing a motion under this section, unless the inmate 1[chooses to be represented by pro bono counsel or]1 retains 1[private] other1 counsel 1[at the inmate's expense]1.

      d.   1[Upon receipt of notification by the Department of Corrections that an inmate has been issued a Certificate of Eligibility for Resentencing pursuant to subsection a. of this section, the sentencing court shall order a resentencing report which shall assess the following factors:

     (1)   the defendant's age at the time of the offense;

     (2)   the role of the attendant characteristics of youth in the offense, including:

     (a)   impulsivity;

     (b)   risk-taking behavior;

     (c)   immaturity; and

     (d)   susceptibility to peer pressure; and

     (3)   any obstacle the defendant may have faced as a child including:

     (a)   parental abuse or neglect or abuse by any other person;

     (b)   developmental disorders;

     (c)   substance abuse;

     (d)   addiction;

     (e)   trauma;

     (f)   poverty; and

     (g)   lack of education.

      e.    The resentencing report shall also include the victim's position as to resentencing.  In accordance with N.J.S.2C:44-6, the probation department shall notify the] The1 victim or the nearest relative of a homicide victim 1shall be notified, as part of the notification provided under paragraph (2) of subsection e. of this section,1 of the right to make 1[a] an updated1 statement 1[for inclusion in] to supplement1 the 1[resentencing] presentence1 report 1prepared pursuant to subsection b. of N.J.S.2C:44-6,1 if the victim or relative so desires.  Any statement shall be made within 20 days of notification 1[by] to1 the 1[probation department] victim1.

      1[f.] e.1     (1)  A motion pursuant to this section shall be filed with the 1[sentencing court, or the Presiding Criminal Judge if the sentencing court is not still sitting] Superior Court in the county where the conviction occurred1.  A copy of the motion shall be served on the agency that prosecuted the case.

     (2)   The prosecuting agency shall notify any victim of the offense committed by the inmate, or the nearest relative of a homicide victim, in accordance with section 3 of P.L.1985, c.249 (C.52:4B-36) of the filing of a motion for resentencing pursuant to this section.  The court shall afford any victim the opportunity to present a 1[written or videotaped]1 statement at the hearing on the petition or to testify at the hearing concerning the harm suffered by the victim or family member.

     (3)   The prosecutor shall file any response within 60 days.  The court may grant an extension of time for good cause.

      1[g.] f.1    Upon the filing of a motion for resentencing under this section, the court shall conduct a hearing, unless the court finds that the Certificate of Eligibility for Resentencing issued to the inmate is not valid or its issuance was improper.  A resentencing hearing on a motion filed pursuant to this section shall be held in the Superior Court in accordance with the Rules of Court.

      1[h.] g.1    At the hearing for resentencing, the court shall determine whether the offense for which the inmate was convicted was the result of mitigating qualities of youth 1[or whether the offense reflects irreparable corruption]1 by consideration of the following non-exhaustive list of factors:

     (1)   the inmate's age at the time of the offense;

     (2)   the role of the attendant characteristics of youth in the offense, including:

     (a)   impulsivity;

     (b)   risk-taking behavior;

     (c)   immaturity; and

     (d)   susceptibility to peer pressure;

     (3)   any obstacle the inmate may have faced as a child including:

     (a)   parental abuse or neglect or abuse or neglect by any other person;

     (b)   developmental disorders;

     (c)   substance abuse;

     (d)   addiction;

     (e)   trauma;

     (f)   poverty; and

     (g)   lack of education;

     (4)   any effort the inmate has made prior to and while incarcerated to overcome the obstacles set forth in paragraph (3) of this subsection;

     (5)   the inmate's attempt at rehabilitation since incarceration, including but not limited to participation in available rehabilitative, educational, or other programs;

     (6)   whether the inmate poses the same risk to society that the inmate posed at the time of the initial sentence; and

     (7)   any additional evidence of maturity, growth, self-improvement, and consideration of the welfare of others.

     1[i.] h.1      If the court finds by a preponderance of the evidence that the offense for which the inmate was convicted and sentenced 1[did not reflect irreparable corruption, but]1 was the result of the mitigating qualities of youth, the court shall resentence the inmate to a term that allows the inmate a meaningful opportunity for release 1[.  However, if] , unless the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that the offense for which the inmate was convicted and sentenced reflects irreparable corruption.  If1 the court finds that the offense reflects irreparable corruption, the court shall not resentence the inmate regardless of the findings of the mitigating qualities of youth.  If the sentencing court reduces the sentence pursuant to this section, the sentence shall not become final for 10 days in order to permit the prosecutor to appeal the sentence.

     1[ j.] i.1      An inmate may file only one motion pursuant to this section.  Nothing in this section shall prohibit an inmate from pursuing resentencing under any other provision of Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes or the Rules of Court.

 

     2.    This act shall take effect immediately and shall apply retroactively to any 1eligible1 inmate who was sentenced 1[as a juvenile]1 prior to the effective date of this act.

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