TRENTON – A measure sponsored by Senators Raymond J. Lesniak and Shirley K. Turner which increases the penalties associated with witness intimidation and tampering in order to help law enforcement encourage more witnesses to step forward and testify during criminal court trials has been signed into law by Governor Jon Corzine.
“Every day, crimes are committed, and because of fear, witnesses choose to look the other way,” said Senator Lesniak, D-Union. “Just the other day I saw a clip on the news of a man being beaten on the subway by a hammer-wielding attacker, and no one came to the victim’s aide. Surveillance video from the train and tips from witnesses later helped police to apprehend the assailant. Legislation like this will help to bring these vicious criminals to justice, and see them placed behind bars where they should be.”
“Years ago, community residents took care of one another, and if their neighbor was harmed they would go to police to ensure that those responsible were held accountable,” said Senator Turner, D-Mercer. “More recently, neighbors have been increasingly hesitant to come forward with information. Street campaigns like ‘Stop Snitching’ use fear and intimidation as tools to silence witnesses. We have to stand with witnesses and let them know that their testimony is useful, and that the law will protect them and their families should they choose to testify.”