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  • NJ A4034
  • Establishes "Monica's Law" requiring evidence-based risk assessments in certain domestic violence cases. *
In Committee
Crossed Over
2016-2017 Regular Session
This bill establishes a risk assessment pilot program in Essex and Passaic Counties, and is named for thirty-one year old Monica Paul who, in June, 2008 was shot to death in the presence of her 11 year old daughter at a Montclair YMCA. Charged in the killing was her estranged husband Kenneth Duckett against whom she had obtained a restraining order. Under the bill, the Administrative Offices of the Court shall establish a pilot program in Essex and Passaic counties, the purpose of which shall be to impose a risk assessment requirement, prior to issuing an award of visitation, in all cases where a final domestic violence restraining order has been issued and where the actor and the victim have a child in common and enumerated risk factors are present. Under the bill, a "risk assessment" means an assessment of the likelihood that the person against whom the final restraining order is issued will commit an act of violence against the victim or against the child which the actor and the victim have in common, performed by a qualified, licensed professional. The bill requires that a domestic violence complainant shall, at the time of the filing of the complaint, complete a questionnaire. The questionnaire shall include information as to whether the person against whom the domestic violence complaint is filed has a child or children in common with the victim; and whether the person has ever used or threatened to use a weapon or has made other threats against the victim or any child or committed other acts enumerated in this bill. The completed questionnaire would be attached to the domestic violence complaint and shall be considered by the court hearing the domestic violence matter. A risk assessment shall be ordered by the court in all cases as set forth in section 5 of the bill. A risk assessment would be mandatory in cases where there has been a violation of a final domestic violence restraining order. A risk assessment would also be mandatory in cases where the court makes a determination regarding parenting time subsequent to a complaint of domestic violence against one of the parents seeking parenting time. A qualified applicant for a risk assessor certification shall be a licensed professional who is trained as defined in the bill. (See section 7 of the bill). Section 9 of the bill sets forth the 12 hours of basic instruction. Section 10 of the bill sets forth 16 hours of advanced training. Section 11 of the bill concerns annual update training. Qualified risk assessors are trained by eligible providers. The bill defines in section 12 "eligible providers." The bill requires monitors to oversee eligible providers. Sections 14 through 18 set forth the protocols for how information is obtained by a qualified risk assessor. Defendants would be responsible to pay for the costs of all ordered risk assessments except that the court may waive the costs of the risk assessments in cases of financial hardship. The bill amends existing statutes to make reference to the risk assessment program. This bill embodies recommendation 20 of the Report of the Supreme Court Ad Hoc Committee on Domestic Violence issued June 2016.
Judiciary, 2nd Reading in the Assembly, Passed Assembly
Received in the Senate, Referred to Senate Judiciary Committee  (on 6/22/2017)
Date Chamber Action Description
6/22/2017 S Received in the Senate, Referred to Senate Judiciary Committee
6/22/2017 A Passed by the Assembly (75-0-0)
3/20/2017 Assembly Appropriations Hearing (19:00 3/20/2017 *A4177, A4597, S2997 (1R) are all pending referral)
3/20/2017 A Reported out of Assembly Comm. with Amendments, 2nd Reading
3/20/2017 Assembly Appropriations Hearing (19:00 3/20/2017 *A4177, A4597, S2997 (1R) are all pending referral*)
12/12/2016 A Reported out of Asm. Comm. with Amendments, and Referred to Assembly Appropriations Committee
12/12/2016 Assembly Judiciary Hearing (10:00 12/12/2016 Committee Room 12, 4th Floor)
7/21/2016 A Introduced, Referred to Assembly Judiciary Committee
Date Motion Yea Nay Other
Detail 6/22/2017 Assembly Floor: Third Reading - Final Passage 75 0 5
Detail 3/20/2017 Assembly Appropriations Committee: Reported with Amendments 11 0 0
Detail 12/12/2016 Assembly Judiciary Committee: Reported with Amendments 7 0 0