TRENTON – Gov. Chris Christie today conditionally vetoed legislation in order to re-enforce crime victim’s rights by ensuring that court-ordered restitution remains permanently available to be claimed by a victim or victim’s family without limitation and funded through the budget process.
The legislation as presented would have redirected to other crime victims court-ordered restitution for victims of crime who don’t come forward within two years.
S1173 would direct that court-ordered restitution for a specific victim — held by the Department of Corrections while an offender is imprisoned — be used to make payments to other victims under New Jersey’s crime compensation law if the intended crime victim is not located or does not come forward within two years. Those intended recipients would still be eligible for compensation if they do come forward, but the bill fails to provide a means of additional funding or an avenue to compensate them after the funds have been expended.
“I support the sponsors’ intent in putting forward legislation that seeks to assist victims of crime, and share the goal that government should take all appropriate steps to help victims recover,” Christie said in a release. “Despite this legislation’s salutary goal, this bill in its current form creates an untenable restitution process that may ultimately prevent crime victims from receiving such restitution.”