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Karcher Bill To Close Domestic Violence Loophole Advances

TRENTON – A bill sponsored by Senator Ellen Karcher which would close a loophole in the State’s domestic violence prosecution net to expand New Jersey’s jurisdiction over domestic violence restraining order violations issued in other states was unanimously approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“New Jersey has to have faith in the restraining orders issued in other states in order to fully protect citizens within our borders,” said Senator Karcher, D-Monmouth and Mercer. “Victims of domestic abuse live in fear of reprisal, and restraining orders are our best chance at dissuading abusers from becoming repeat offenders. The protection of a restraining order should not be limited to the state in which abuse first takes place, and by enforcing restraining orders issued in outside jurisdictions, we can give domestic violence survivors the peace of mind that they will be protected from their abusers, regardless of State boundaries.”

The bill, S-2161, would permit New Jersey to sanction individuals in violation of domestic violence restraining orders that have been issued in other jurisdictions. When the violation of a domestic violence restraining order entered in another state also constitutes a minor crime in New Jersey (such as simple assault), the bill would impose a term of imprisonment of up to 18 months, and/or a fine of up to $10,000 for the violator. If the violation does not involve any other criminal action under New Jersey’s statutes, the violator would be subject to a sentence of up to 6 months and a fine of up to $1,000.

“Other states cannot be expected to police violations of restraining orders they’ve issued that occur within New Jersey’s borders,” said Senator Karcher. “It’s impossible for them to have the resources to monitor domestic violence abuses that occur outside of their states, despite the fact that abusers can travel between states with ease. This bill puts New Jersey in line to enforce restraining orders issued in other states, in order to offer comprehensive protection to domestic violence victims and ensure that loopholes in jurisdiction don’t end in tragedy.”

The bill now heads to the full Senate for approval.

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