Law Named for Late Assembly Minority Leader Known as Champion of Crime Victims’ Rights
TRENTON – A measure sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg and Senator Jeff Van Drew named “Alex DeCroce’s Law,” which will enhance the rights of crime victims under the “Crime Victim’s Bill of Rights” was signed into law today by Governor Chris Christie.
“Assembly Minority Leader DeCroce was a tireless champion for the rights of crime victims, and I can think of no better legacy than that we continue to stand up in his name for those who’ve been victimized,” said Senator Weinberg, D-Bergen, who worked with Assemblyman DeCroce on the original “Crime Victim’s Bill of Rights.” “The protections in this new law extend the intent of the original – to afford victims of crime a level of compassion and understanding, and to ensure that in the provision of justice, we don’t lose sight of the rights and needs of the victims. This new law will ensure that Alex’s vision for crime victims’ rights becomes a reality.
“I’d also like to thank Rich Pompeii for his hard work, his guidance, and his strong voice for victims all over our State,” added Senator Weinberg.
“I’m proud to have been able to work with a bipartisan group of lawmakers to honor the legislative legacy of Assembly Minority Leader Alex DeCroce, and to advance the cause of crime victims’ rights in New Jersey,” said Senator Van Drew. “Assemblyman DeCroce was always more interested in results than plaudits, and I think that naming such an expansive update to the Crime Victim’s Bill of Rights after him is a fitting and appropriate honor. At the end of the day, crime victims in New Jersey will be better off as a result of Assemblyman DeCroce’s passionate advocacy on their behalf.”
The new law clarifies and expands the rights enshrined in the “Crime Victim’s Bill of Rights,” in a number of ways. Under this bill, crime victims will have the right:
• to be free from intimidation, harassment or abuse by the defendant or anyone acting in support of or on behalf of the defendant;
• to receive medical assistance reasonably related to injuries sustained as a result of their victimization;
• to be notified in a timely manner if their presence is not required in court, and to be kept up to date on the adjournment or cancellation of any scheduled court proceedings;
• to be compensated, whenever possible, for their loss;
• to be in contact with a representative from the Prosecutor’s Office in order to be adequately informed of the status of the case, to submit a statement about the impact of the crime, and to have that statement considered before the prosecutor decides whether to accept a negotiated plea or request that the defendant enter into a pretrial intervention program.
The measure also confers upon crime victims the right to consult with the prosecuting authority before the conclusion of any plea negotiations, and to have the prosecutor advise the court of the consultation and the victim’s position regarding the plea agreement; the right to be present at any judicial proceeding involving a crime or any juvenile proceeding involving a criminal offense; the right to be notified of any release or escape of the accused; and the right to have a court decide if they believe that their rights as victims are being violated.
The bill was approved in the Assembly in May, and received final legislative approval from the Senate in June.