The state Assembly Appropriations Committee has approved legislation that Assemblyman Ron Dancer (R-Monmouth, Ocean, Middlesex, Burlington) is sponsoring to protect victims of domestic violence.
The bill (A-315) establishes a four-year pilot program in Ocean County to electronically monitor domestic violence offenders. The legislation, known as “Lisa’s Law,” was moved on Oct. 6, according to a press release from Dancer.
The bill requires approval in the full Assembly and Senate before it can be sent to the governor for consideration and possible enactment into law.
“Physical abuse almost always results in long-term psychological harm and never should be tolerated,” Dancer said. “Lisa did everything she could to try to protect herself, but our current law was not enough.
“We need to keep people safe from abusers who are likely to continue their depraved behavior. This measure will allow us to take advantage of all available technology to make sure violent offenders cannot repeat their crimes,” he added.
The measure was inspired by the death of Letizia “Lisa” Zindell, 30, of Toms River, who was strangled to death in 2009 by her ex-fiancé who had been released from jail the day before despite violating a restraining order several times, according to the press release.
Zindell was a social worker for the state Division of Youth and Family Services and was working toward her second master’s degree.
According to the press release, “Lisa’s Law” creates a pilot program that applies to defendants who are convicted of contempt of a domestic violence restraining order. When such a defendant is released, the court may order electronic monitoring as a condition of release. Tampering with, removing or vandalizing the device will be a third degree crime which carries a three- to five-year prison sentence and a fine of up to $15,000.
Dancer added that while the technology exists, no other states currently electronically monitor people convicted of domestic violence or who violate restraining orders. He said the bill has the potential to make New Jersey a leader in using technology to protect people from being re-victimized.