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Johnson & Garcia Bill to Exempt Crime Victims from Fees for Documents Related to Their Cases Gets Final Legislative OK

(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Gordon M. Johnson and Carmelo G. Garcia that would exempt a crime victim from fees applicable to copies of records related to the crime was approved 38-0 Thursday by the Senate, giving it final legislative approval.
The bill (A-1676) would apply to requests for copies of documents including, but not limited to, law enforcement agency reports, domestic violence offense reports and temporary or permanent restraining orders. Such requests typically require the party making the request to pay a fee.
“It is unjust to ask the victim of crime to pay for documents they only need because they were victimized,” said Johnson (D-Bergen). “As they seek justice and try to recover from what may have been a painful experience, there is no reason to put upon victims any undue burden.”
“Anyone who has been the victim of a crime knows that simply having certain information can yield a sense of closure that is so critical,” said Garcia (D-Hudson). “Unfortunately, we cannot undo the crime and erase the sense of violation, but by making it easier to access records, this legislation will help empower victims throughout New Jersey.”
The bill would also amend the Open Public Records Act to specify that victims’ written requests for government records related to their cases are not to be classified as public records.
The Assembly approved the bill 77-0-1 in May.