N.J.S.A. 30:4-27.24: New Jersey Sexually Violent Predator Act Summary

Submitted by New Jersey Sex Crime Attorney, Jeffrey Hark.

Purpose: Established a civil procedure for the involuntary commitment of sexually violent predators.

Supporting cases:

FT-2009

FT-2014

  • In the event that a sexually violent predator cannot be involuntarily committed due to lack of a “mental illness” they can be committed if person:
    • has been convicted, adjudicated delinquent or found not guilty by reason of insanity for commission of a sexually violent offense, or has been charged with a sexually violent offense but found to be incompetent to stands trial
    • suffers from a mental abnormality or personality disorder that makes the person likely to engage in acts of sexual violence if not confined in a secure facility for control, care and treatment.
    • “sexually violent offense” defined:
      • (1) aggravated sexual assault; sexual assault; aggravated criminal sexual contact; kidnapping pursuant to subparagraph (b) of paragraph (2) of subsection c. of N.J.S.2C:13-1; criminal sexual contact; felony murder pursuant to paragraph (3) ofN.J.S.2C:11-3 if the underlying crime is sexual assault; or an attempt to commit any of these enumerated offenses;
      • (2) a criminal offense with substantially the same elements as any offense enumerated in paragraph (1) entered or imposed under the laws of the United States, this State or another state; or
      • (3) any offense for which the court makes a specific finding on the record that, based on the circumstances of the case, the person’s offense should be considered a sexually violent offense.
      • Attorney General may initiate court proceeding with:
        • clinical certificate for a sexually violent predator completed by a psychiatrist on the person’s treatment team and screening certificate which authorized admission of the person to the facility
        • OR two clinical certificates, at least one of which is prepared by a psychiatrist
        • Attorney General may initiate proceedings for a person scheduled for release after a maximum term of incarceration.
          • person shall receive a court hearing within 20 days of temporary commitment order
          • person must have counsel present
          • person must be served 10 days prior to final hearing
          • person’s psychiatrist on the treatment team must have examined him/her no more than 5 days before court hearing
          • Other treatment team members, relevant witnesses and next-of-kin can testify
          • subject of hearing has right to present evidence, cross-examine witnesses and have a hearing in camera
          • court may order conditional discharge rather than confinement if they think that person will adhere to plan and is low risk
          • annual court review hearings provided
          • person may petition Department of Human Services for discharge at any time
          • Standard of Proof: clear and convincing evidence (that person is in need of involuntary confinement)

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