A bill named in memory of the late 26th District Assemblyman Alex DeCroce cleared its first hurdle Monday. "Alex DeCroce's Law," which would strengthen crime victims' rights, won bipartisan approval from the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee. Among the bill's sponsors is the former GOP leader's widow, Assemblywoman BettyLou DeCroce, who recently took over her husband's legislative seat.
“This bill builds upon the rights of crime victims that Alex and I fought so hard to secure through a public referendum that changed the constitution,” said DeCroce. “As the court process plays out, crime victims deserve equal, if not preferential treatment from the court system. They deserve to know when hearings will occur, be safe from intimidation and receive fair compensation for their losses.”
DeCroce referred to her husband's sponsorship of the Victims’ Rights Amendment the the state constitution, which was approved by voters in 1991.
If the legislation known as A-2380 is passed, "Alex DeCroce's Law" would ensure several things:
- Victims are notified about the progress of their cases, including any court schedule changes,
- Protection for victims from harassment or abuse by defendants or their supporters,
- Medical assistance for crime-related injuries,
- Guaranteed compensation for losses the victim sustained,
- Increased judicial consideration for victims' impact statements and
- The right for victims to display a picture or wear a button in support of a murdered loved one while in court.
“Crime victims deserve our empathy and protection as they endure the process of bringing criminals to justice,” said Assemblyman Bob Schroeder (R-39), a co-sponsor of the measure. “They help prevent others from having to suffer the same ordeal they have experienced, and we need to do everything we can to support them. I’m honored to continue to advance the rights of crime victims in the name of Alex DeCroce. ”
The bill's other co-sponsor Holly Schepisi, another Republican from the 39th District, said DeCroce “revolutionized the way crime victims are treated in New Jersey."
"This legislation will ensure that innocent people are not re-victimized during the legal process,” Schepisi said. “The fair and compassionate treatment of victims is a pillar of our judicial system.”