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Singleton Seeks Details on Christie Administration Study of Technology Needed to Implement Lisa's Law to Better Protect Domestic Violence Victims
Study was to have been Completed Within 120 days of January Bill Signing
(7th LEGISLATIVE DISTRICT) - Assemblyman Troy Singleton has sent a letter to Gov. Chris Christie seeking details on the administration's required progress toward studying the electronic monitoring of domestic violence offenders - a concept long supported by the lawmaker.
Singleton sponsored legislation during the last legislative session that called for electronic monitoring of domestic violence offenders and notification to the victim when the offender is nearby, but Christie significantly altered the bill (A-321 from 2012-13) when conditionally vetoing it in January.
Instead of requiring the protection provided by the electronic monitoring sought by Singleton and other bill sponsors, Christie required only that the attorney general report to the governor as to the availability of the appropriate technology to monitor offenders.
Christie signed the altered bill on Jan. 17, and the attorney general was to immediately establish a study group to identify and investigate issue the availability of the technology. Its report was due within 120 days of the bill signing.
"I was disappointed by the governor's conditional veto, but at least hopeful that we would finally be making progress toward providing the safety offered by electronic monitoring of domestic violence offenders," said Singleton (D-Burlington). "Since other states have similar laws and since we already monitor sex offenders and parolees by electronic means, this shouldn't be too difficult to study, but we haven't heard any updates. I look forward to hearing back from Gov. Christie on the required progress we've made toward implementing this safety measure. Anything other than the progress required by law would be unacceptable."
Singleton, in his Tuesday letter, requested:
· A copy of any written report supplied by the attorney general's office to the governor with respect to the availability of appropriate technology to necessary effectuate the act;
· The membership roster of the study group established to identify and investigate issues related to the availability of appropriate technology necessary to effectuate the act; and
· A copy of any and all meeting minutes of the study group established to identify and investigate issues related to the availability of appropriate technology necessary to effectuate the act.
Singleton asked for the information within seven business days.
The original bill would have established a four-year pilot program in Ocean County for electronic monitoring of domestic violence offenders and notification to victims. The pilot program would be designated as Lisa's Law in remembrance of Letizia Zindell of Toms River, a domestic violence victim murdered in 2009 by her former fiancÉe.
The murder occurred a day after he was released from jail for violating a restraining order that Ms. Zindell had filed against him.
"Letizia Zindell's tragic death shows more must be done to protect victims of domestic abuse from a similar fate," Singleton said. "The people of New Jersey deserve to know where this study stands and when we can hope to begin implementing this common sense approach to protecting domestic violence victims."
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