Jessica Lunsford Act clears Assembly Judiciary Comm.

TRENTON – A bill to increase penalties for those who sexually assault children was released unanimously today by the Assembly Judiciary Committee.

A2027 would impose mandatory terms of imprisonment on persons convicted of aggravated sexual assault against a child under the age of 13.   It would also impose mandatory terms on certain persons convicted of harboring or concealing another person who is required to register under Megan’s Law.

This bill is similar to Florida’s “Jessica Lunsford Act.” Jessica, a 9-year-old Florida resident, was kidnapped, raped, and murdered by a registered sex offender. The Florida enactment imposed a mandatory term of imprisonment of 25 years for sex crimes against children and required satellite monitoring to track the location of sex offenders after release.

Assemblywoman Nancy Munoz, one of the bill’s prime sponsors, said it has strong bipartisan support. “The time is now,’’ she said.  “The goal of this bill is to put away sexual predators who will harm our children.’’

The Assembly Judiciary Committee this morning also held two bills at sponsors’ requests.

A3056: This bill limits the method by which a person charged with a violent crime is permitted to post bail, while granting defendants charged with non-violent crimes an alternative to pretrial detention.

A938: This bill would expand the protections of the domestic violence statutes to include minors aged 16 and older.

Jessica Lunsford Act clears Assembly Judiciary Comm.