GREENSTEIN & DeANGELO BILL TO PROHIBIT SPECIAL PAROLE PANEL FROM CONSIDERING THOSE SERVING LIFE WITHOUT PAROLE ADVANCED BY ASSEMBLY PANEL

(TRENTON) — Legislation sponsored by Assemblywoman Linda Greenstein and Assemblyman Wayne DeAngelo to ensure inmates sentenced to life without parole cannot be reviewed by a special parole eligibility advisory panel was advanced Thursday by an Assembly panel.

The sponsors said this would ensure offenders such as Jesse Timmendequas, who was convicted of murdering Megan Kanka of Hamilton and is serving life without parole, do not somehow receive a parole hearing.

“The idea that some special panel would be able to urge early parole for people who aren’t even eligible is something neither I nor the residents of New Jersey would stand for,” said Greenstein (D-Middlesex/Mercer). “It’s one thing to consider parole for eligible inmates, but it’s another thing – and the wrong thing – to give special treatment to inmates who are not eligible.”

“I don’t want to open the door even a crack to allow our worst offenders a chance at parole when they aren’t even supposed to be eligible,” said DeAngelo (D-Mercer/Middlesex). “It would not be fair to victims and their families and would threaten our public safety. It would be, quite simply, unacceptable on every level.”

Under current law, the advisory Blue Ribbon Panel for Review of Long-Term Prisoners’ Parole Eligibility will consider whether prisoners incarcerated for more than 20 years should be eligible for parole.

Under the Greenstein/DeAngelo bill (A-2073), the advisory panel could not consider anyone serving life imprisonment without eligibility for parole.

The bill was released by the Assembly Judiciary Committee and now goes to the Assembly Speaker, who decides if and when to post it for a floor vote.

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