(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Gordon Johnson (D-Bergen) that would exempt crime victims from having to pay for government records related to their cases was approved Monday by an Assembly committee.
“It is unjust to ask a person who was the target of a crime to pay for documents they only need because they were victimized. They are the aggrieved, they did nothing wrong, so why should they have to pay to obtain these records as they seek justice for what was done to them?” asked Johnson.
“It just adds insult to injury and unfairly burdens the victim who may still be recovering, whether it be mentally or physically, from the criminal act committed against them,” added Johnson.
The bill (A-1676) would exempt a crime victim from any fee that would otherwise be charged to obtain a government record related to the victim’s case. Under the bill, a victim would not be charged for any law enforcement agency report, domestic violence offense report, or temporary or permanent restraining order.
The bill would also amend the Open Public Records Act (OPRA) to specify that any written request by victims for a government record related to their case is not a public record, and would exempt victims from paying the related fees for such OPRA requests.
The bill was released by the Assembly Judiciary Committee.