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  • NJ A564
  • Creates a civil "rape shield" law.
In Committee
Crossed OverPassedSignedDead/Failed/Vetoed
2016-2017 Regular Session
This bill would create a "rape shield" statute for civil cases. Under current law, the "rape shield" statute in criminal prosecutions set out in N.J.S.A.2C:14-7 provides that evidence of the victim's previous sexual conduct is not admissible except under certain prescribed circumstances. The bill would establish similar provisions in civil actions alleging conduct which would constitute sexual assault or sexual harassment. The bill's provisions are also comparable to N.J.S.A.2A:61B-1, which establishes a specific civil action for minors who are victims of sexual abuse. Under the bill, a party seeking discovery of information concerning the victim's sexual conduct with persons other than a party to the action would be required to establish specific facts showing good cause for that discovery, and that the information sought is relevant to the subject matter of the action and reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence. At trial, evidence of the victim's previous sexual conduct would not be admitted nor reference made to it in the presence of a jury except under certain circumstances. If the other party seeks to admit such evidence that party would be required to apply for an order of the court before the trial or preliminary hearing, except that the court may allow the motion to be made during trial if the court determines that the evidence is newly discovered and could not have been obtained earlier through the exercise of due diligence. After the application is made, the court would conduct a hearing in camera to determine the admissibility of the evidence. The bill provides that if the court finds that evidence regarding the sexual conduct of the victim is relevant and that its probative value is not outweighed by its collateral nature or by the probability that its admission will create undue prejudice, confusion of the issues, or unwarranted invasion of the privacy of the victim, the court shall enter an order setting forth with specificity what evidence may be introduced and the nature of the questions which shall be permitted, and the reasons why the court finds that such evidence satisfies the standards contained in the bill. The other party may then offer evidence under the order of the court. The bill provides that in the absence of clear and convincing proof to the contrary, evidence of the victim's sexual conduct occurring more than one year before the date of the offense charged is presumed to be inadmissible. The bill applies prospectively and also to all actions not yet dismissed or finally adjudicated as of the effective date.
Introduced, Referred to Assembly Judiciary Committee  (on 1/27/2016)
Date Chamber Action Description
1/27/2016 A Introduced, Referred to Assembly Judiciary Committee
Date Motion Yea Nay Other
None specified