Friday, March 28, 2014

Jessica Lunsford Act Clears Final Legislative Hurdle, Heads to Governor Chris Christie for Signature

Trenton: Clearing its final legislative hurdle, the State Senate today passed the Jessica Lunsford Act (A-892/S-215), which is cosponsored by 9th District Representatives Senator Christopher J. Connors, Assemblyman Brian E. Rumpf and Assemblywoman DiAnne C. Gove. 

The Act, which is named after the Florida girl who was sexually assaulted and murdered by a convicted sex offender, requires mandatory terms of imprisonment for persons convicted of aggravated sexual assault against a child under the age of 13, for a specific term of years fixed by the sentencing court, between 25 years and life imprisonment, of which 25 years or more must be served before parole eligibility.

“Having had a longstanding record of supporting Megan’s Law in order to more effectively protect our children from sexual offenders, our Delegation is elated that the Legislature has finally passed the Jessica Lunsford Act,” said Senator Connors.  “Mandatory sentences that consist of extensive prison terms represent the most effective means of safeguarding our communities against sexual offenders from committing further acts of violence.”

Assemblyman Rumpf remarked: “Fixed sentences of between 25 years and life imprisonment without parole is appropriate and necessary given the heinous nature of a sexual crime committed against a child.  Children are specifically identified under the Jessica Lunsford Act as they may be targeted and as seen as more vulnerable by sexual offenders due to their age, size and maturity level.”

“Enacting the Jessica Lunsford Act would send a clear and unmistakable message of zero-tolerance toward child predators,” said Assemblywoman Gove.   “Usually, New Jersey remains in the forefront of enactment and enforcement of sexual offender laws, including Megan’s Law but, remarkably, that has not been the case with the Jessica Lunsford Act.  It’s high time for that to change. If we are serious about protecting children, New Jersey must join the more than 25 other states which have already recognized that the Jessica Lunsford Act provides prosecutors with the legal tools needed to protect the community and sets mandatory sentences that the courts must hand down.” 

Having achieved passage in both Houses of the State Legislature, the Jessica Lunsford Act (A-892/S-215) now heads to the Governor’s desk. 

Senator Connors, Assemblyman Rumpf and Assemblywoman Gove have joined on as cosponsors to companion legislation, S-713 and A-896, which would increase the penalties for harboring or concealing a sex offender. 

Under the legislation, a person who harbors or conceals a sex offender who has not complied with the registration requirements in Megan’s Law, and who the person knows has not complied with those requirements, would be sentenced to a minimum term of imprisonment without eligibility for parole. If the offense is a crime of the third degree, the period of parole ineligibility would be three years; if the offense is a crime of the fourth degree, the period of parole ineligibility would be one year.


Anonymous said...

Congratulations to Mrs. J and her CUFFS comm. for running point on this issue and hounding local and State legislators to act. In light of local stories in the news, this is a big step forward in helping Law Enforcement and Parents protect their children from danger by keeping the predators off the street.

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