Bill Text: NJ S3322 | 2018-2019 | Regular Session | Introduced


Bill Title: Provides for advocate in criminal cases concerning welfare or care of cat or dog.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 1-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2019-01-15 - Introduced in the Senate, Referred to Senate Judiciary Committee [S3322 Detail]

Download: New_Jersey-2018-S3322-Introduced.html

SENATE, No. 3322

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

218th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED JANUARY 15, 2019

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator  NICHOLAS P. SCUTARI

District 22 (Middlesex, Somerset and Union)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Provides for advocate in criminal cases concerning welfare or care of cat or dog.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

  


An Act concerning certain advocates 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.    a.  In any criminal court proceeding pursuant to R.S.4:22-17 et seq. or pursuant to P.L.2015, c.85 (C.2C:33-31), or any other criminal proceeding that affects the welfare or care of a cat or dog, the court may order, upon its own initiative or upon request of a party or counsel for a party, that a separate advocate be appointed to represent the best interests of the animal.  If a court orders an advocate to be appointed, the advocate shall be appointed from a list provided to the court by the Administrative Director of the Courts.  A decision by the court denying a request to appoint a separate advocate to represent the best interests of the animal shall not be subject to appeal. 

     b.    The advocate may: (1) monitor the case; (2) attend hearings; (3) consult any individual with information relating to the welfare or care of the cat or dog; (4) review relevant records concerning the condition of the animal and the defendant's actions, including, but not limited to, records from certified animal control officers, veterinarians and police officers; and (5) present information or recommendations to the court that relate to the best interests of the animal.

     c.     The Administrative Director of the Courts shall maintain a list of attorneys with knowledge of animal issues and the legal system and a list of law schools that have students with an interest in animal issues and the legal system.  Such attorneys and law students shall be eligible to serve on a voluntary basis as advocates under this section.  The provisions of R.1:21-3 of the Rules of Court shall govern a law student's participation as an advocate under this section. 

 

     2.    This act shall take effect immediately. 

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill would authorize the court to appoint an advocate in certain criminal cases that affect the welfare or care of a cat or dog. 

     In certain criminal court proceedings pursuant to R.S.4:22-17 et seq.(Cruelty) or to P.L.2015, c.85 (C.2C:33-31) (Dog Fighting), or in any other criminal proceeding regarding the welfare or custody of a cat or dog, the court may order, upon its own initiative or upon request of a party or counsel for a party, that a separate advocate be appointed to represent the best interests of the animal.  The court will select an advocate from a list provided to the court by the Administrative Director of the Courts.  This list will contain names of attorneys with knowledge of animal issues and the legal system and a list of law schools that have students with an interest in animal issues and the legal system.  All attorneys and law students will be eligible to serve on a volunteer basis. 

     The advocate may have the following duties: (1) monitor the case; (2) attend hearings; (3) consult any individual with information relating to the welfare or care of the cat or dog; (4) review records relating to the condition of the cat or dog and the defendant's actions; and (5) present information or recommendations to the court that relate to the best interests of the animal.

     This bill is modeled on Connecticut's "Desmond's Law."

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