Saturday, January 24, 2009

Stalking through the Courts....

In June of 2007 when the antistalking legislation was introduced I received a threat of legal action. Over the past 15 months I have had 4 motions/actions filed against me, most recently on my birthday in November 2008 and again on Christmas Eve 2008. The motion from a year ago was resolved in a published opinion - see the article at left. This "stalking through the courts" needs to stop. These filings are timed for maximum stress effect - they are vexatious abuse of process. More documentation on "stalking through the courts" is available at the link below
Victims of these attorneys who aid their clients in stalking through the courts should file an ethical complaint against them for vexatious litigation. In NJ it is simple to file an ethical complaint. Here is the link: "Lawyers who commit unethical conduct in this state are subject to discipline by the Supreme Court. Such discipline can range from an admonition, the least serious discipline, to a reprimand, censure, suspension from practice, or permanent disbarment from practice. The "Attorney Discipline" page describes the process. The attorney disciplinary process is usually begun by the filing of an Attorney Grievance form with the Secretary of one of the Supreme Court's 18 district ethics committees. To contact a district ethics committee Secretary call the tollfree Ethics/Fee Arbitration Hotline at 1-(800)-406-8594. Be prepared to provide the five digit zip code of the attorney's address. "

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Federal survey finds about 3.4 million victims of stalking every year

The Associated Press

NEW YORK By the tens of thousands, victims of stalking lose their jobs, flee their homes and fear for their safety, according to a new federal survey.
The report by the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics provides the most comprehensive data ever on a crime that affects an estimated 3.4 million Americans a year.
About 11 percent of the victims said they had been stalked for five or more years, and one in seven said the stalking compelled them to move out of their home, according to the report. It covered a 12-month period in 2005-06.
The study was described as a groundbreaking effort to analyze the scope and varying forms of stalking, which had not been featured in previous versions of the National Crime Victimization Survey.
The number of victims was up sharply from a more limited 1995-96 study commissioned by the Justice Department that estimated 1.4 million Americans a year were targeted by stalkers. Both surveys concluded that women more than twice as likely to be victimized as men.
In the span between the two surveys, e-mail and text-messaging emerged as common tactics for stalkers.
The Bureau of Justice Statistics defined stalking as a course of conduct, directed at a specific person on at least two separate occasions, that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear. The most commonly reported types of stalking were unwanted phone calls (66 percent), unsolicited letters or e-mail (31 percent), or having rumors spread about the victim (36 percent).
More than one-third of the victims reported being followed or spied upon; some said they were tracked by electronic monitoring, listening devices or video cameras. About 21 percent said they had been attacked by their stalker.
Nearly 75 percent of victims knew their stalker in some capacity — most commonly a former spouse or ex-boyfriend/girlfriend, sometimes a relative or co-worker.
“The public tends to perceive of stalking as something that happens to celebrities who have a stranger follow them around,” said report co-author Katrina Baum. “This study tells us that stalking is not a stranger phenomenon.”

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

NJ Stalking Law Front Page News Transcript

Law would give victims of stalker options
Bill needs one more vote in state Assembly before Gov. can sign legislation
With a unanimous vote the state Senate passed a bill that would make it easier for police to assist the victim of a stalker.
The action came during the Senate's final voting session of 2008 on Dec. 15.
"I am pleased to join with my colleague, Sen. Buono, in sponsoring this landmark legislation that will broaden protections for stalking victims. This measure will simply let women live free from fear," Sen. Jennifer Beck (R-Monmouth and Mercer) said of the bill she sponsored.
The legislation was sponsored by Beck and Sen. Barbara Buono (D-Middlesex).
Initially introduced in June 2007 by former Assemblyman Mike Panter (D-Monmouth and Mercer), the bill has undergone some changes from the version that the Assembly unanimously passed March 13.

Changes included the removal of a section that related to mental suffering or distress. Originally, the bill stated that emotional stress was defined as significant mental suffering or distress, that may, but does not necessarily require medical or other professional treatment or counseling. The bill now reads that emotional stress is defined as significant mental suffering or distress, leaving no mention of medically proving that state.
Also changed was the degree of the penalty if an individual is convicted of stalking. Initially the bill sought to make stalking a third-degree crime, but changes have been made to maintain the crime at a fourth-degree level for a first offense.
Tom Fitzsimmons of Beck's office explained that the amended version will return to the state Assembly for a revote in 2009. The Assembly also met on Dec. 15 for its last session of the year.
According to the New Jersey Legislature's Web site, the Assembly will meet again for voting Feb. 5. If the bill is placed on that day's agenda and is once again passed in the Assembly, the governor can then sign it into law.
The bill will expand the current stalking law to include conduct that causes a reasonable person to fear for his or her safety or the safety of a third person or to suffer emotional distress. The bill also amends the definition of course of conduct to include directly or indirectly or through a third person or by device to follow, monitor, surveilling, threaten or communicating to or about a person. It also covers interfering with a person's property and repeatedly committing harassment against a person.
"Technological advances require that the Legislature update and amend current statutes to ensure that the victims of stalking receive the best available protection," Beck said, citing global positioning systems and easily concealed cameras that furnish stalkers with the means to harass another individual.
Law enforcement officials have previously stated in Greater Media Newspapers that the current law limits their actions unless a direct threat is made against the victim.
The bill was initially drafted with the assistance of a Monmouth County woman who is a victim of stalking, along with input from Manalapan Police Chief Stuart Brown, Marlboro police Detective Sgt. Paul Reed and Marlboro police Detective Ross Yenisey. The bill received additional information from the National Center for Victims of Crime, Washington, D.C., and the New Jersey Coalition for Battered Women.
Violators of the law would be punishable by a term of imprisonment not to exceed 18 months, a maximum fine of $10,000 or both. Violators who commit a second or subsequent offense are guilty of a crime of the third degree punishable by a maximum term of imprisonment of five years, a fine of $15,000 or both.
January is National Stalking Awareness Month, according to the National Center for Victims of Crime. The center reports that 1,006,970 women and 370,990 men are stalked annually.