Bill Text: NJ S2584 | 2018-2019 | Regular Session | Introduced


Bill Title: Changes element of crime of strict liability for drug-induced death so that liability is based on drug being "direct contributing factor" to death.

Spectrum: Slight Partisan Bill (Democrat 2-1)

Status: (Introduced) 2018-05-21 - Introduced in the Senate, Referred to Senate Judiciary Committee [S2584 Detail]

Download: New_Jersey-2018-S2584-Introduced.html

SENATE, No. 2584

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

218th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED MAY 21, 2018

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator  STEVEN V. OROHO

District 24 (Morris, Sussex and Warren)

Senator  VIN GOPAL

District 11 (Monmouth)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Changes element of crime of strict liability for drug-induced death so that liability is based on drug being "direct contributing factor" to death.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

  


An Act concerning the crime of strict liability for drug-induced death, and amending N.J.S.2C:35-9.

 

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

 

     1.    N.J.S.2C:35-9 is amended to read as follows:

     2C:35-9.     a. Any person who manufactures, distributes or dispenses methamphetamine, lysergic acid diethylamide, phencyclidine or any other controlled dangerous substance classified in Schedules I or II, or any controlled substance analog thereof, in violation of subsection a. of N.J.S.2C:35-5, is strictly liable for a death which results from the injection, inhalation or ingestion of that substance, and is guilty of a crime of the first degree.

     b.    The provisions of N.J.S.2C:2-3 (governing the causal relationship between conduct and result) shall not apply in a prosecution under this section.  For purposes of this offense, the defendant's act of manufacturing, distributing or dispensing a substance is the cause of a death when:

     (1) The injection, inhalation or ingestion of the substance is [an antecedent but for which] a direct contributing factor to the death [would not have occurred]; and

     (2) The death was not:

     (a) too remote in its occurrence as to have a just bearing on the defendant's liability; or

     (b) too dependent upon conduct of another person which was unrelated to the injection, inhalation or ingestion of the substance or its effect as to have a just bearing on the defendant's liability.

     c.  It shall not be a defense to a prosecution under this section that the decedent contributed to his own death by his purposeful, knowing, reckless or negligent injection, inhalation or ingestion of the substance, or by his consenting to the administration of the substance by another.

     d.  Nothing in this section shall be construed to preclude or limit any prosecution for homicide.  Notwithstanding the provisions of N.J.S.2C:1-8 or any other provision of law, a conviction arising under this section shall not merge with a conviction for leader of narcotics trafficking network, maintaining or operating a controlled dangerous substance production facility, or for unlawfully manufacturing, distributing, dispensing or possessing with intent to manufacture, distribute or dispense the controlled dangerous substance or controlled substance analog which resulted in the death.

(cf: N.J.S.2C:35-9)

     2.    This act shall take effect immediately, and apply to any drug-induced death subject to prosecution under N.J.S.2C:35-9 which occurs on or after the effective date.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill would modify one of the elements of the crime of strict liability for drug-induced death, which applies to any person who manufactures, distributes, or dispenses any controlled dangerous substance classified in Schedules I or II, or any controlled substance analog thereof, and a death results from the injection, inhalation, or ingestion of that substance.  Currently, one of the crime's required elements is that the injection, inhalation, or ingestion of the substance "is an antecedent but for which the death would not have occurred."  The bill would change this element to only require that injection, inhalation, or ingestion of the substance "is a direct contributing factor to the death."

     The other elements to the strict liability crime would remain unchanged, including proof that the death was (a) not too remote in its occurrence, nor (b) too dependent upon the conduct of another person unrelated to the dead victim's injection, inhalation, or ingestion of the substance to have a just bearing on the defendant's liability.

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