Bipartisan legislation enhancing the rights of crime victims in the name of former Assembly Republican Leader Alex DeCroce was approved today by the Assembly Appropriations Committee today.
“Alex DeCroce’s Law,” is sponsored by Assembly Republicans Bob Schroeder, Holly Schepisi, BettyLou DeCroce and Alison Littell McHose.
“Crime victims have already experienced a horrendous loss and must be treated with compassion and dignity as the court process plays out,” said Assemblywoman BettyLou DeCroce, R-Morris, Essex and Passaic, a former trustee of the New Jersey Crime Victims’ Law Center. “This bill protects crime victims’ rights to have their say in court, be free from intimidation and receive medical assistance related to the crime. Alex and I fought so hard to secure crime victims rights through a public referendum that changed the constitution and this bill will build upon those rights.”
The bipartisan bill, A-2380, would ensure:
- Victims are notified about the progress of their case, including any changes in the court schedule.
- Protection from harassment or abuse by defendants or their supporters.
- Medical assistance that is related to the crime.
- Compensation for losses sustained by the victim.
- Greater consideration to a victim’s impact statement.
- The right to display a picture or wear a button in support of a murdered loved one in court.
“Crime victims deserve empathy and protection during the difficult process of bringing criminals to justice,” Assemblyman Bob Schroeder, R-Bergen and Passaic, said. “By stepping up and speaking out about their ordeal, victims and their families help prevent others from having to suffer the same torment they have experienced, and we must support them in every way possible. I’m honored to continue to advance the rights of crime victims in the name of Alex DeCroce.”
Alex DeCroce sponsored and advocated for the Victims’ Rights Amendment – a landmark amendment to the New Jersey Constitution that guaranteed the rights of crime victims, which voters approved in 1991.
Alex DeCroce had sponsored legislation strengthening those rights for several sessions and his measure was on the agenda, but not called for a vote, on the last day of the 214th Legislature.
“Our legal system is built on a foundation that includes the fair and compassionate treatment of crime victims,” Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi, R-Bergen and Passaic, said. “Alex DeCroce was pivotal in improving the way crime victims are treated in New Jersey and this furthers his work to ensure innocent people are not re-victimized during the legal process.”
Assemblywoman Alison Littell McHose, R-Sussex, Warren and Morris, is a co-sponsor of the bill, a member of the Appropriations Committee and long-time advocate for crime victims.
“Alex DeCroce was a true champion of those who suffer from crime, and this bill continues his work to make sure victims are treated with dignity and respect,” McHose said. “This bill will ease the burden of crime victims and treat them better than the person who committed the crime.”