(Sponsorship Updated As Of: 2/26/2008)
ASSEMBLY, No. 1563
STATE OF NEW JERSEY
PRE-FILED FOR INTRODUCTION IN THE 2008 SESSION
EXPLANATION – Matter enclosed in bold-faced brackets [thus] in the above bill is
not enacted and is intended to be omitted in the law.
Matter underlined thus is new matter.
AN ACT concerning stalking 1 and amending P.L.1992, c.209.
3 BE IT ENACTED by the Senate and General Assembly of the State
4 of New Jersey:
6 1. Section 1 of P.L.1992, c.209 (C.2C:12-10) is amended to
7 read as follows:
8 1. a. As used in this act:
9 (1) "Course of conduct" means repeatedly maintaining a visual
10 or physical proximity to a person; directly, indirectly, or through
11 third parties, by any action, method, device, or means, following,
12 monitoring, observing, surveilling, threatening, or communicating
13 to or about, a person, or interfering with a person’s property;
14 repeatedly committing harassment against a person, including but
15 not limited to repeatedly making telephone calls; or repeatedly
16 conveying, or causing to be conveyed, verbal or written threats or
17 threats conveyed by any other means of communication or threats
18 implied by conduct or a combination thereof directed at or toward a
20 (2) "Repeatedly" means on two or more occasions.
21 (3) “Emotional distress” means significant mental suffering or
22 distress that may, but does not necessarily, require medical or other
23 professional treatment or counseling.
24 [(3) "Immediate family" means a spouse, parent, child, sibling or
25 any other person who regularly resides in the household or who
26 within the prior six months regularly resided in the household.]
27 b. A person is guilty of stalking, a crime of the [fourth] third
28 degree, if he purposefully or knowingly engages in a course of
29 conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable
30 person to fear [bodily injury to himself or a member of his
31 immediate family or to fear the death of himself or a member of his
32 immediate family] for his safety or the safety of a third person or
33 suffer other emotional distress.
34 c. A person [is guilty of a crime of the third degree if he] who
35 commits the crime of stalking in violation of an existing court order
36 prohibiting the behavior shall be sentenced by the court to a
37 mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of six months, during
38 which the defendant shall be ineligible for parole.
39 d. A person who commits a second or subsequent offense of
40 stalking against the same victim [is guilty of a crime of the third
41 degree] shall be sentenced by the court to a mandatory minimum
42 term of imprisonment of six months, during which the defendant
43 shall be ineligible for parole.
A1563 GREENSTEIN, MUNOZ
e. A person [is guilty of a crime o 1 f the third degree if he] who
2 commits the crime of stalking while serving a term of imprisonment
3 or while on parole or probation as the result of a conviction for any
4 indictable offense under the laws of this State, any other state or the
5 United States shall be sentenced by the court to a mandatory
6 minimum term of imprisonment of six months, during which the
7 defendant shall be ineligible for parole.
8 f. A person who commits the crime of stalking against a victim
9 who is less than 18 years of age shall be sentenced by the court to a
10 mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of six months, during
11 which the defendant shall be ineligible for parole.
12 g. This act shall not apply to conduct which occurs during
13 organized group picketing.
14 (cf: P.L.2001, c.220, s.2)
16 2. This act shall take effect immediately.
21 This bill would amend the stalking law to broaden protections for
22 victims. The majority of the bill’s provisions were recommended
23 by the 2007 report of the National Center for Victims of Crime,
24 “The Model Stalking Code Revisited: Responding to the New
25 Realities of Stalking.”
26 Under the bill, a person would be guilty of the crime of stalking
27 if his actions cause the victim to fear for his safety or the safety of a
28 third person. Current law provides that a person is guilty of
29 stalking only if his actions cause the victim to fear bodily injury to
30 or the death of himself or a member of his immediate family. The
31 report by the National Center for Victims of Crime notes that
32 reducing the level of fear required in a stalking statute would
33 provide earlier and better protection for stalking victims. The
34 report also states that stalkers may target third parties other than the
35 victim’s family members, such as employers or intimate partners,
36 and that therefore these persons should be protected by the law.
37 The bill also provides that a person would be guilty of stalking if
38 he purposefully or knowingly engages in a course of conduct
39 directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to
40 suffer emotional distress. According to the report, certain types of
41 stalking behavior committed as part of a course of conduct might
42 not meet the standard of “fear for safety” but nonetheless should be
43 addressed by law, such as making repeated telephone calls to a
45 The bill defines “emotional distress” as “significant mental
46 suffering or distress that may, but does not necessarily, require
47 medical or other professional treatment or counseling.”
A1563 GREENSTEIN, MUNOZ
The bill also amends the definition 1 of “course of conduct” in the
2 stalking statute. Under the bill, “course of conduct” would include
3 “directly, indirectly, or through third parties, by any action, method,
4 device, or means, following, monitoring, observing, surveilling,
5 threatening, or communicating to or about, a person, or interfering
6 with a person’s property; repeatedly committing harassment against
7 a person, including but not limited to repeatedly making telephone
8 calls.” The new language is intended to cover stalking by means of
9 new technology, such as situations where the stalker tracks the
10 victim through the use of a global positioning system attached to
11 the victim’s car.
12 The offense of harassment, set out in N.J.S.A.2C:33-4, provides
13 that a person commits harassment if, with purpose to harass
14 another, he makes, or causes to be made, a communication or
15 communications anonymously or at extremely inconvenient hours,
16 or in offensively coarse language, or any other manner likely to
17 cause annoyance or alarm, or engages in any other course of
18 alarming conduct or of repeatedly committed acts with purpose to
19 alarm or seriously annoy such other person. The sponsor notes that
20 stalkers may use indirect threats that do not cause the victim to
21 reach the level of fear set out in the statute but that do alarm the
23 Finally, the bill upgrades the crime of stalking to a crime of the
24 third degree. Under current law, stalking is generally a crime of the
25 fourth degree for a first offense. Stalking is currently a crime of the
26 third degree if it is committed in violation of an existing court order
27 prohibiting the behavior, if it is a second or subsequent offense of
28 stalking against the same victim, or if the defendant commits the
29 crime of stalking while serving a term of imprisonment or while on
30 parole or probation. Under the bill, stalking would generally be a
31 crime of the third degree. In the specific cases set out above,
32 stalking would be punishable by a mandatory minimum term of
33 imprisonment of six months. The bill also provides that stalking
34 would be punishable by a mandatory six-month term if the victim is
35 less than 18 years of age.
36 A crime of the fourth degree is punishable by a term of
37 imprisonment of up to 18 months or a fine of up to $10,000 or both;
38 a crime of the third degree, by a term of imprisonment of three to
39 five years, a fine of up to $15,000, or both.
Monday, September 8, 2008
Proposed NJ antistalking legislation A1563 S1106
Posted by Karen at 10:56 AM