Bill Text: NJ S1269 | 2018-2019 | Regular Session | Introduced


Bill Title: Establishes criminal background check and judgment search requirement for name change; prohibits name change in certain circumstances.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 1-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2018-02-01 - Introduced in the Senate, Referred to Senate Judiciary Committee [S1269 Detail]

Download: New_Jersey-2018-S1269-Introduced.html

SENATE, No. 1269

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

218th LEGISLATURE

INTRODUCED FEBRUARY 1, 2018

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator  NILSA CRUZ-PEREZ

District 5 (Camden and Gloucester)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Establishes criminal background check and judgment search requirement for name change; prohibits name change in certain circumstances.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

 


An Act concerning name changes and criminal background checks, and amending and supplementing Title 2A of the New Jersey Statutes.

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.    N.J.S.2A:52-1 is amended to read as follows:

     2A:52-1. a. Any person may institute an action in Superior Court, for authority to assume another name. 

     b.  The complaint for a change of name shall be accompanied by:

     (1)   a sworn affidavit stating the applicant's name, date of birth, and social security number [, whether or not the applicant has ever been convicted of a crime, and whether any criminal charges are pending against him and, if such convictions or pending charges exist, shall provide such details in connection therewith sufficient to readily identify the matter referred to].  In the case of a minor under the age of 18 the sworn affidavit shall be completed by the minor's parent or guardian.  The sworn affidavit shall also recite that the action for a change of name is not being instituted for purposes of avoiding or obstructing criminal prosecution or for avoiding creditors or perpetrating a criminal or civil fraud [. If ] ; 

     (2)   the results of a criminal history record background check of the applicant performed by the Division of State Police in the Department of Law and Public Safety within 30 days prior to the filing of the complaint for a change of name.  Each applicant shall have submitted to the Division of State Police the applicant's name, address, fingerprints and written consent for a criminal history record background check to be performed; and

     (3)   the results of a judgment search initiated by the applicant and the applicant's sworn affidavit stating that there are no pending lawsuits, judgments, or bankruptcy proceedings against him.

     c. If the criminal history record background check indicates that the person has been convicted of a crime or that criminal charges are pending, the applicant shall serve a copy of the complaint [and], affidavit and criminal history record background check upon any State or county prosecuting authority responsible for the prosecution of any [pending] charges and provide the court with proof of service upon the prosecuting authority.

     d.    The applicant shall be responsible for the cost of the background check required by this section, except that no fee shall be charged to an applicant who has instituted an action to assume another name due to the applicant's status as the victim of a violent crime, as defined in subsection b. of N.J.S.2A:52-2.

     e.  An applicant who is under the age of 18  shall not be required to comply with the provisions of paragraph (2) of subsection b. of this section. Such applicant shall include in the sworn affidavit submitted in accordance with paragraph (1) of subsection b. of this section whether or not the applicant has ever been convicted of a crime or adjudicated delinquent for an act which if committed by an adult would constitute a crime, and whether any criminal or delinquency charges are pending against him and, if such convictions, adjudications or pending charges exist, shall provide such details in connection therewith sufficient to readily identify the matter referred to.

     f.     A person commits a crime of the fourth degree if he knowingly gives or causes to be given false information under this section.

(cf:  P.L.1993, c.228, s.1)

 

     2.    N.J.S.2A:52-2 is amended to read as follows:

     2A:52-2.  a. Such person, from and after the day specified therefor in the judgment in the action, shall be known by the name which, by the judgment, he is authorized to assume, and by no other.  The judgment for change of name shall include the applicant's social security number and date of birth.

     [The] If the person has been convicted of a crime or if there are criminal charges pending against him, the clerk of the court shall forward a copy of the judgment to the State Bureau of Identification in the Division of State Police [if the person has been convicted of a crime or if there are criminal charges pending against him] and the prosecuting authority.

     b. If the criminal history record background check indicated that the applicant was convicted of a violent crime, as defined in this subsection , the prosecuting authority shall to the extent practicable notify the victim, or an immediate family member of the victim, of the judgment for change of name.  For the purposes of this section, "violent crime" means any crime of the first or second degree enumerated in subsection d. of section 2 of P.L.1997, c.117 (C.2C:43-7.2).

(cf:  P.L.1993, c.228, s.2) 

 

     3.    (New section) a. Except as otherwise provided in subsection b. of this section, the court shall grant authority for a change of name if it finds that the change of name is not being sought for purposes of avoiding or obstructing criminal prosecution or for avoiding creditors or perpetrating a criminal or civil fraud.

     b. The court shall not grant authority for a change of name to an applicant whose criminal history record background check reveals a conviction for a violent crime, as defined in subsection b. of N.J.S.2A:52-2 unless the court finds that the name change is made for religious reasons or reasons of gender identity and the court finds that the application for the change of name complies with the provisions of subsection a. of this section.

 

     4.    This act shall take effect on the first day of the fourth month next following the date of enactment.

 

 

STATEMENT

    

     This bill requires a person applying for a name change to undergo a criminal history record background check and judgment search. The bill also bars persons convicted of certain violent crimes from assuming a new name, with exceptions.

     Under the bill, upon application to the court for the authority to assume another name, an applicant would be required to submit the following:

     (1)  a sworn affidavit stating the applicant's name, date of birth, and social security number. In the case of a minor, under the age of 18, a sworn affidavit completed by the minor's parent or guardian. The affidavits would also recite that the action for a name change is not being instituted for the purpose of avoiding or obstructing criminal prosecution or for avoiding creditors or perpetrating a criminal or civil fraud;

     (2) the results of a criminal history record background check of the applicant performed by the Division of State Police  within 30 days prior to the filing of the complaint;

     (3) the results of a judgment search stating that there are no pending lawsuits, judgments, or bankruptcy proceedings against him.

     If the criminal history record background check indicates that the applicant has been convicted of a crime or that criminal charges are pending, the applicant would be required to serve a copy of the complaint, affidavit, and criminal history record background check upon any State or county prosecuting authority responsible for the prosecution of any charges and provide the court with proof of service upon the prosecuting authority.

     The bill specifies that applicants would be responsible for the cost of the background checks, but no fee would be charged to an applicant who has instituted an action to assume another name to the applicant's status as the victim of a violent crime. "Violent crime" is defined in the bill as any crime of the first or second degree crimes as set forth in the "No Early Release Act," section 2 of P.L.1997, c.117 (C.2C:43-7.2).

     The bill also provides a criminal background check would not be required if the applicant is under the age of 18. However, in the case of such a minor the sworn affidavit, completed by the minor's parent or guardian, would state whether or not the applicant has ever been convicted of a crime or adjudicated delinquent for an act which if committed by an adult would constitute a crime, and whether any criminal or delinquency charges are pending against him and, if such convictions, adjudications or pending charges exist, shall provide such details in connection therewith sufficient to readily identify the matter referred to.

     The bill amends N.J.S.2A:52-2 to provide that if the person has been convicted of a crime or if there are criminal charges pending against him, the clerk of the court would forward a copy of the judgment to the State Bureau of Identification in the Division of State Police and the prosecuting authority.

     If the background check indicates that the applicant was convicted of a violent crime, the prosecuting authority would to the extent practicable notify the victim or an immediate family member of the victim of the judgment for change of name.  For the purposes of the bill, violent crimes means any crime of the first and second degree as set forth in the "No Early Release Act," section 2 of P.L.1997, c.117 (C.2C:43-7.2) which includes: murder; aggravated manslaughter or manslaughter; vehicular homicide; certain aggravated assaults; disarming a law enforcement officer; kidnapping; aggravated sexual assault; certain sexual assaults; robbery; carjacking; aggravated arson; certain burglaries; extortion; booby traps in CDS manufacturing or distribution facilities; strict liability for drug-induced deaths; terrorism; producing or possessing chemical weapons, biological agents or nuclear or radiological devices; first degree racketeering; firearms trafficking; and certain crimes involving endangering the welfare of a child.

     The bill provides that, except as otherwise provided in the bill, the court shall grant a name change if it finds that the name change is not being sought for purposes of avoiding or obstructing criminal prosecution or for avoiding creditors or perpetrating a criminal or civil fraud.  

     Under the bill, a person convicted of a violent crime would be barred from assuming a new name unless the request is made for religious reasons or reasons of gender identity. The bill provides that in this case the court must also find that the application for the change of name is not being sought for purposes of avoiding or obstructing criminal prosecution or for avoiding creditors or perpetrating a criminal or civil fraud.

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