NEW JERSEY – Legislation sponsored by Senator Anthony M. Bucco that supports victims of domestic violence by allowing plaintiffs to obtain police evidence to support their case was approved by the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee.
“In cases of domestic violence, access to certain records provide crucial evidence that can corroborate a plaintiff’s claim,” said Bucco (R-25). “By allowing victims of domestic violence to obtain police records related to their case we are supporting their right to achieve safety and security from their abuser. This legislation would increase the likelihood that the perpetrators of these disgusting actions will be held accountable.”
Senator Bucco’s bill, S-3708, amends an existing law to establish additional protections for victims of domestic violence. Among these protections include allowing plaintiffs, or their legal representatives, to request and obtain access to photographs, police body camera footage, 9-1-1 transcripts or recordings, and other contents deemed appropriate by law enforcement.
Under the bill, victims would receive their records at no cost and within ten calendar days of making the request at no charge. Law enforcement would have discretion to redact the records or release them pursuant to a protective order if they contain information that would jeopardize an ongoing criminal investigation or the safety of any person.
Currently, if a plaintiff files a claim of domestic abuse a hearing must be held within ten days in the Family Part of the Chancery Division of the Superior Court. Bucco’s bill requires the court to suspend a hearing if a plaintiff needs additional time to obtain records from law enforcement related to their domestic violence case.
“Domestic violence survivors deserve to have their case heard with all available evidence to support their case against their abuser,” Bucco said. “We have a duty to protect victims of domestic violence and provide them with the necessary tools to receive the help that they need.”