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  • NJ A1400
  • Requires preservation of certain biological evidence.
In Committee
Crossed OverPassedSignedDead/Failed/Vetoed
2016-2017 Regular Session
This bill would require every law enforcement or prosecuting agency to preserve any biological evidence secured in relation to an investigation or prosecution of a crime while that crime remains unsolved or while the person convicted of that crime remains in custody. The bill also requires the preservation of biological evidence as long as additional co-defendants convicted of the same crime remain in custody. A person is considered in custody if he or she is incarcerated, civilly committed, on parole or probation, or subject to sex offender registration. The bill's provisions apply to biological evidence that was in the possession of the law enforcement or prosecuting agency during the investigation and prosecution of the case and, at the time of conviction, was likely to contain biological material. The bill defines "biological evidence" as any item that contains blood, semen, hair, saliva, skin tissue, fingernail scrapings, bone, bodily fluids or other identifiable biological material that was collected as part of the criminal investigation or may reasonably be used to incriminate or exculpate any person for the offense, whether this material is catalogued separately, such as on a slide or swab or in a test tube, or is present on other evidence, including, but not limited to, clothing, ligatures, bedding or other household material, drinking cups, and cigarettes. The contents of a sexual assault examination kit also constitutes biological evidence. Law enforcement or prosecuting agencies are required to retain sufficient evidence to develop a DNA profile from the biological material contained in the evidence. But they are not required to preserve physical evidence that is of such a size, bulk, or physical character as to render retention impracticable. Under these circumstances, the agency must remove and preserve portions of the material evidence likely to contain biological evidence related to the offense, in a quantity sufficient to permit future DNA testing before returning or disposing of the physical evidence. Defendants may submit written requests for an inventory of biological evidence that has been preserved in connection with their cases, as well as a request in writing for a copy of that inventory. If the agency is unable to locate biological evidence that was to be preserved, the chief evidence custodian must provide an affidavit stipulating under penalty or perjury the efforts taken to locate that evidence and that the evidence could not be located. Biological evidence may be destroyed before the crime is solved or the person is released from custody under certain limited conditions if proper notice is given to the appropriate parties. Under the bill, the Director of the Division of Criminal Justice is required to develop standards for collecting, retaining and cataloguing biological evidence; recommend practices, protocols, models, and resources for cataloguing and accessing this evidence; and conduct training programs for law enforcement officers and other employees charged with preserving and cataloguing the evidence. According to the sponsor, it is crucial that biological evidence be appropriately preserved so that it can be used to solve old crimes, enhance public safety, and settle claims of innocence.
2nd Reading in the Assembly, Law and Public Safety, Substituted by another Bill
Substituted by S1032 (1R)  (on 12/7/2017)
Date Chamber Action Description
12/7/2017 A Substituted by S1032 (1R)
6/19/2017 Assembly Appropriations Hearing (19:00 6/19/2017 Revised 6/16/17 - A2167 and A4586 have been added. In addition t)
6/19/2017 A Reported out of Assembly Committee, 2nd Reading
6/19/2017 Assembly Appropriations Hearing (19:00 6/19/2017 )
5/11/2017 A Reported out of Asm. Comm. with Amendments, and Referred to Assembly Appropriations Committee
5/11/2017 Assembly Law and Public Safety Hearing (19:00 5/11/2017 )
1/27/2016 A Introduced, Referred to Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee
Date Motion Yea Nay Other
Detail 6/19/2017 Assembly Appropriations Committee: Reported Favorably 11 0 0
Detail 5/11/2017 Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee: Reported with Amendments 8 0 1