AG Modifications To CJ Reform Policies: Part 11

by | Nov 28, 2017 | Blog, Criminal Law, New Jersey

Anti-Drug ProfiteeringThe now-replaced section regarding notifications in domestic violence cases read:

4.6.4 Special Notifications in Domestic Violence Cases. In cases involving domestic violence, if the decision is made to apply for a complaint-warrant, the application shall clearly state that the offense involves domestic violence, and shall include any relevant information contained in the Domestic Violence Central Registry (e.g., concerning prior issuance or violation of a restraining order). See subsection 4.2.3 (requiring query of Domestic Violence Central Registry) and Section 5.4 (discussing information that may be provided to the court in a Preliminary Law Enforcement Incident Report prepared as part of the process for applying for a complaint-warrant). Whether the offense is charged by complaint-warrant or complaint-summons, the victim shall, in accordance with the requirements of the Domestic Violence Procedures Manual, be informed how to apply for a restraining order under the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act. This requirement to inform the victim shall not be construed to preclude the officer or prosecutor from seeking imposition of a no-contact or other appropriate restraint as a condition of release on a complaint-warrant as may be required pursuant to subsections 4.6.3 or 6.2.3.

The revised section reads:

4.6.4 Informing Victim about the Use of the ODARA. Prior to administering the ODARA, a law enforcement officer shall inform the victim about the use of the information obtained and resulting score as well as the persons who or agencies that will have access to the results, and permit the victim to decline participation if the victim believes that participation will comprise the victim’s safety. If a victim declines to participate in the ODARA interview, the law enforcement officer shall undertake to complete the ODARA without victim participation. In such instances, information to complete the ODARA can be obtained from persons knowledgeable about the circumstances of the victim and the defendant, police reports, law enforcement databases and the like (note: the gathering of information in this fashion can also be employed in those instances in which a victim is not capable of participating in an interview such as being hospitalized).

The revised guideline appears to contain a misprint regarding the use of the phrase “comprise the victim’s safety”, as opposed to “compromise the victim’s safety.” Again, the process seems skewed towards piling on inflammatory information against the accused. Police, complainants, and those close to the complainants are naturally going to have negative things to say about the accused under the circumstances. Even a complainant’s decision to not participate in the ODARA under circumstances wherein they have had time to reflect on prior false statements and/or exaggerations will naturally be spun to look like they are not participating out of fear of violent reprisal.