AG Modifications to CJ Reform Policies: Part 10

by | Nov 26, 2017 | Blog, Criminal Law, New Jersey

Anti-Drug ProfiteeringThe following section was also added to the Attorney General Criminal Justice Reform Directive:

4.6.3.b ODARA Scores and Gender of Offender and Victim. The original study that resulted in the ODARA and many of the subsequent validations evaluated the predictive ability of the tool solely for assaults by males on their female partners. Subsequent validated studies focused upon cases of assaults by females on their male partners. However, an actuarial table articulating recidivist percentages for female offenders has yet to be developed (it is believed that the table currently used will overstate percentages of recidivism for female offenders). As for same-sex partner relationships, the use of ODARA continues to be studied, but sufficient research has not yet been achieved. In New Jersey, an ODARA Scoring Form, which has been designated for use by the Director of the Division of Criminal Justice, shall be completed for offenses indicated in subsection 4.6.3a regardless of the gender of the person committing the Assault or the gender of the victim. However, until further notice and for the reasons stated above, law enforcement in New Jersey shall only utilize the ODARA scores to frame decision making cases in which a male has assaulted a female partner. In all other cases, law enforcement should include a concise description of all ODARA items found to be present in any Affidavit of Probable Cause submitted with an application for a complaint-warrant. See subsection 5.1.2 (requiring the inclusion of present domestic violence risk factors in Affidavits of Probable Cause).

The section of the Attorney General Guidelines addresses a new trend in the laws affecting the administration of justice. The trend involves the use of empirical studies and statistics to arrive at results that are supposedly unbiased. The relevant quote attributed to Mark Twain is that there are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics. Statistics can be just as misleading as subjective opinions if not properly vetted and properly applied. The Attorney General’s decision to apply the ODARA to males assaulting female partners, but not vice-versa, could be the subject of equal protection and due process challenges.