Bill Text: NJ S406 | 2018-2019 | Regular Session | Introduced


Bill Title: Creates New Jersey Innocence Study and Review Commission.

Spectrum: Slight Partisan Bill (Democrat 6-3)

Status: (Engrossed) 2019-01-15 - Received in the Assembly, Referred to Assembly Judiciary Committee [S406 Detail]

Download: New_Jersey-2018-S406-Introduced.html

SENATE, No. 406

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

218th LEGISLATURE

 

PRE-FILED FOR INTRODUCTION IN THE 2018 SESSION

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator  JOSEPH PENNACCHIO

District 26 (Essex, Morris and Passaic)

Senator  SHIRLEY K. TURNER

District 15 (Hunterdon and Mercer)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Creates New Jersey Innocence Study and Review Commission.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     Introduced Pending Technical Review by Legislative Counsel.

  


An Act establishing the New Jersey Innocence Study and Review Commission.

 

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

 

     1.    a.  There is established the New Jersey Innocence Study and Review Commission.

     b.    The Commission shall study and review all aspects of criminal cases involving wrongful conviction in New Jersey and recommend reforms to reduce the likelihood of wrongful conviction occurring in the future, including but not limited to, the following issues:

     (1)   identifying the main causes of wrongful conviction;

     (2)   studying existing research on these causes;

     (3)   reviewing cases of wrongful conviction;

     (4)   reviewing additional cases that will assist the Commission in understanding the causes of wrongful conviction, and recommending best practices to appropriate constituencies;

     (5)   examining the existing system of restitution to compensate wrongfully convicted persons and programming to assist persons to reintegrate back into society;

     (6)   make a specific recommendation, for the establishment of a permanent innocence review panel before which convicted and incarcerated individuals may present a request for the review of their own conviction by the panel, unless such recommendation is expressly rejected by the commission. 

     c.     The commission shall be composed of nine members.  Appointments should reflect the diversity of the population of New Jersey.  Members shall be appointed as follows:

     (1) One member appointed by the Governor, who shall be the chairperson of the commission, and who shall be a retired judge of the Superior Court or retired justice of the Supreme Court;

     (2) two members appointed by the President of the Senate, one of whom shall be a Republican, and one of whom shall be a Democrat;

     (3) two members appointed by the Speaker of the General Assembly, one of whom shall be a Republican, and one of whom shall be a Democrat;

     (4) the Public Defender or his designee;

     (5) the Attorney General or his designee;

     (6) the Administrative Director of the Courts or his designee; and

     (7) a representative of the County Prosecutors Association of New Jersey.

     d.    The commission shall propose new legislation, if appropriate.

     e.     Members of the commission shall be appointed within 45 days of enactment.

     f.     The members of the commission shall serve without compensation, but may be reimbursed for necessary expenses incurred in the performance of their duties, within the limits of funds appropriated or otherwise made available to the commission for its purposes.

     g.    Any vacancy in the membership shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointment.

     h.    The commission is entitled to the assistance and service of the employees of any State, county or municipal department, board, bureau, commission or agency as it may require and as may be available to it for its purposes, and to employ stenographic and clerical assistance and to incur traveling or other miscellaneous expenses as may be necessary in order to perform its duties, within the limits of funds appropriated or otherwise made available to it for its purposes.

     i.     The commission may meet and hold hearings at such places and times as it shall designate, and shall report its findings and recommendations to the Governor, and to the Legislature, along with any legislation it desires to recommend for adoption by the Legislature within 18 months of appointment of the members.

 

     2.    This act shall take effect immediately.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill establishes the New Jersey Innocence Study and Review Commission.  Under the bill, the commission is charged to study and review all aspects of criminal cases involving wrongful conviction in New Jersey and recommend reforms to reduce the likelihood of wrongful conviction occurring in the future, including but not limited to the following issues:  (1) identifying the main causes of wrongful conviction; (2) studying existing research on these causes; (3) reviewing cases of wrongful conviction; (4) reviewing additional cases that will assist the Commission in understanding the causes of wrongful conviction, and recommending best practices to appropriate constituencies; (5) examining the existing system of restitution to compensate wrongfully convicted persons and programming to assist persons to reintegrate back into society, and (6) make a specific recommendation, for the establishment of a permanent innocence review panel before which convicted and incarcerated individuals may present a request for the review of their own conviction by the panel, unless such recommendation is expressly rejected by the commission.

     The commission shall be composed of nine members as follows:  One member appointed by the Governor, who shall be the chairperson of the commission, and who shall be a retired judge of the Superior Court or retired justice of the Supreme Court; two members appointed by the President of the Senate and two members appointed by the Speaker of the General Assembly; the Public Defender or a designee; the Attorney General or a designee; the Administrative Director of the Courts or a designee; a representative of the County Prosecutors Association of New Jersey.  All members must be appointed within 45 days of enactment of the bill.  The commission is required to report its findings and recommendations, including any recommended legislation, to the Legislature and the Governor within 18 months of appointment of the members.

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