Are Restraining Orders Strong Enough? [AUDIO]
A measure advanced Monday by the Assembly Appropriations Committee would offer a form of protection to victims of domestic violence. Under the bipartisan measure, courts would be able to order the electronic monitoring of certain domestic violence offenders.
The bill, designated as "Lisa's Law," was named after Letizia Zindell of Toms River. She was murdered by her former fiancé in 2009, one day after he was released from jail for violating a restraining order she filed against him. Frank Frisco later killed himself.
"This proposal is going to save lives," said bill sponsor Assemblyman Troy Singleton (D).
Lisa's Law would apply to defendants charged with or convicted of a crime/offense involving domestic violence, as well as those charged with or convicted of violating a domestic violence restraining order.
If the defendant is declared as a risk, the court can order the defendant be placed on electronic monitoring. The defendant's victim, or alleged victim, would be equipped with a device as well. Through the victim's device, he/she would be notified if the defendant is within a certain proximity.
"That person will have the ability to either step away or call law enforcement to let them know," explained Singleton.
A $250 monitoring fee would be assessed on any defendant who is issued the tracking system. Fee revenues would be forwarded to the Domestic Violence Notification Fund. In addition, the state would put $1 million into the fund to defray any other costs associated with electronic monitoring.
Singleton said the state budget is all about priorities, and peoples' lives are a priority.
The bill would establish a four-year pilot program in Ocean County. After review of the program, the state Attorney General would recommend whether or not it should be expanded statewide.
The bill heads to the full Assembly for further consideration.