Christie vetoed bill to track domestic violence offenders, but fight’s not over
Much to the surprise of its sponsor, Gov. Chris Christie vetoed a bill that would have created a four-year pilot program in Ocean County to electronically track convicted domestic violence offenders using GPS devices that would alert victims on their cell phones if their attackers were nearby.
Assemblyman Ron Dancer said he will reintroduce “Lisa’s Law,” soon and refuted the belief of some that the technology to implement the law did not exist.
“We can use today’s technology to minimize the risk and save a life,” said Dancer (R-Jackson). “New Jersey should be a national leader in protecting the women who are victims of domestic violence. We can save lives with this legislation and the technology is there.”
The assemblyman said he knows the technology is available because he and the original bill’s co-sponsor, Assemblyman Troy Singleton, saw it when companies demonstrated the devices for them. Dancer said Singleton would again be a co-sponsor. Last session the bill number was A-3806.
"This truly is sad and disappointing," said Singleton (D-Mount Laurel) in an emailed statement after Christie vetoed the bill. "This was bipartisan legislation that received nearly unanimous support in both houses, but the governor has decided that being at the forefront in the fight against domestic violence is not worth a small investment from the state.”
The legislation was in honor after Letizia "Lisa" Zindell of Toms River who was murdered in August of 2009 by her former fiancée, Frank Frisco, who then killed himself. The murder-suicide attack happened the day after just Frisco was released from jail for violating a restraining order that Lisa had filed against him.
If the law was in place in 2009, Dancer said it is possible that Lisa’s life could have been saved because she would have been notified of Frisco’s location and could have taken precautionary measures. Implementing Lisa’s Law would cost money, but Dancer said the offenders would be forced to pay for the monitoring devices to the extent that they could. A judge would decide how much the offender would be assessed based on their assets.
“They will literally pay for their crime,” Dancer said.
Kevin McArdle has covered the State House for New Jersey 101.5 news since 2002. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @kevinmcardle1.