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New Jersey governor vetoes domestic violence bill

The governor of New Jersey has vetoed a bill that would have given judges the power to mandate the use of electronic monitoring in certain domestic violence cases. The veto of the domestic violence legislation means that the bill will be on hold for no more than 120 days while the state's attorney general takes a closer look at the types of computer technology needed to implement the system. If the law were to be put in place, the courts would keep track of offenders electronically and notify victims if these individuals are within a certain distance from them.

New Jersey legislators drafted the bill, known as "Lisa's Law," following the 2009 death of a New Jersey woman who was killed by her former fiancee. After he had been released from jail, he violated the conditions of a longstanding court-ordered restraining order.

More than a dozen other states already have electronic monitoring systems in place. If the New Jersey pilot program for monitoring offenders was put in place, the defendants would have all or a portion of the costs and expenses of the monitoring system as well as an annual fee, which could be waived in cases of financial hardship. The legislation would also require the state's attorney general to prepare and disseminate an annual report with evaluations and recommendations.

The sponsor of the legislation indicated his displeasure with the veto, and expressed hope that the study would be completed quickly and thus allow prompt implementation. If approved and signed, the bill will add some degree of protection to family members who have been previously victimized by physical or emotional abuse.

Source: Moorestown Patch, "Domestic Violence Law Sponsored by BurlCo Legislator Delayed", Rob Scott, January 13, 2014

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