(TRENTON) - An Assembly panel on Monday approved bipartisan legislation sponsored on the Democratic side by Assembly members Reed Gusciora, Angel Fuentes and Pamela Lampitt that would help individuals charged with petty or disorderly offenses avoid jail time by creating an alternative to typical prosecution.
"Alternative programs like this can help keep people's lives on track, make sure they get the treatment they need and save taxpayers money in the long-run said," Gusciora. "As a municipal prosecutor, I know how strained our criminal justice system is. This would help alleviate some of that burden and save lives in the process."
The bill (A-3598) would establish a conditional dismissal program in municipal court similar to existing supervisory treatment programs, which would allow individuals charged with a disorderly persons offense or petty disorderly persons offense to have the charges dismissed if they successfully complete a supervisory treatment program.
"This is a way to help reduce some of the burden on our already overburdened criminal justice system said Fuentes (D-Camden/Gloucester). "The changes we've made to this bill are sensible and in the interest of making this program more accessible to everyone to help turn more lives around."
A similar measure was conditionally vetoed by Governor Christie recently because it included a $500 fine to assist municipalities with the costs associated with the program. The new measure approved today reduces the fine to $75 in an effort to make the conditional dismissal option feasible for everyone, including those with limited means.
"For individuals who don't have a violent nature or a history of previous serious offenses, this is an opportunity for a second chance," said Lampitt (D-Camden/Burlington). "With the proper treatment, hopefully they can find the right path in life and avoid incarceration."
If a defendant who is participating in the conditional dismissal program is convicted of any petty disorderly persons offense, disorderly persons offense or other crime under any state or federal, or otherwise fails to comply with the terms and conditions imposed by the court, the court can enter a judgment of conviction and impose a fine, penalty, or other assessment in accordance with the defendant's prior plea of guilty or prior finding of guilt.
Under the bill, the conditional dismissal option would not be available to any individual who has previously participated in a conditional discharge, conditional dismissal, or supervisory treatment program (PTI).
In addition, a person would not be eligible for conditional dismissal if the offense for which they are charged involved: organized criminal or gang activity; a continuing criminal business or enterprise; a breach of the public trust by a public officer or employee; domestic violence; an offense against an elderly, disabled or minor person; an offense involving driving or operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, intoxicating liquor, narcotic, hallucinogenic or habit-producing drug; animal cruelty; or any disorderly persons offense or petty disorderly persons offense under chapter 35 or 36 of the Criminal Code.
The measure was approved by the Assembly Judiciary Committee and now awaits consideration by the full Assembly.
To read more, please visit the New Jersey General Assembly Democratic Office Web site.
Majority Press Office 609-847-3500
Instead of focusing on Gov. Chris Christie’s bridge woes, national Democrats should be “focusing on their own profile.”Read More >
Unimpressed with self-funders, Vietnam veteran jumps into CD3 raceA medic in Vietnam, whose house took a horrendous beating during Hurricane Sandy before he rebuilt if with his bare hands, Berkeley Council President James J. Byrnes wants to be the next congressman from CD3.To that end, he officially entered the...
By Christopher Durkin Many New Jersey lawmakers have fought to make it easier to vote. And there has been considerable progress in terms of voter access and information. Voter registration has been made easier, with forms available online that... Read More >
"Over time, we've let go of some core Democratic principles in the name of compromise and bipartisanship. Bipartisanship really means that both sides have to get together, not that the Republicans get 80 percent of what they want, and the Democrats chisel around the edges. That's not bipartisanship. That's just getting bowled over." - Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop- PolitickerNJ.com
Press releases are submitted by PolitickerNJ users, not by staff. They do not represent the viewpoint of PolitickerNJ.com.