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Greenstein Bill to Expand the Rights of Crime Victims Advances


TRENTON – The Senate Law and Public Safety Committee advanced legislation sponsored by Senators Linda Greenstein and Declan O’Scanlon that would provide additional rights to victims of crime and enhance their existing right to be consulted with regard to plea agreements.

“During the pandemic, crime victims had difficulty exercising their rights to participate in legal proceedings and staying informed of proposed plea deals,” said Senator Greenstein (D-Mercer/Middlesex), Chair of the Law and Public Safety Committee. “This bill is meant to further clarify their rights and the process for being involved and aware of legal proceedings, so that their voices, as the victims of crime, can be properly represented.”

The bill, S-1062, would make various revisions to the “Crime Victims’ Bill of Rights”. Specifically, the bill would clarify a victim’s right to be represented by a private attorney, expand the list of proceedings that victims are entitled to attend, enhance their right to be consulted for plea agreements, require law enforcement agencies to provide reports to a victim for restraining orders, and expand the definition of victim to include the parent or legal guardian of a minor victim.

The legislation originated from the New Jersey Crime Victims’ Law Center, and the changes are based on feedback received by the Center in their role advocating for crime victims. According to the Center, the pandemic led to problems in enforcing the Crime Victim Bill of Rights, and many victims were left unable to advocate for themselves.

S-1062 was advanced in a unanimous vote.