New Jersey legislators are hoping to deter future knockout assaults in the Garden State by increasing the penalties for would-be players. PolitickerNJ has the details of the three bills introduced in the Assembly this week.
One of the bills, A4549, was authored by Republicans Jon Bramnick and Ron Dancer.
If passed it would make “knockout a third-degree crime, which is normally punishable by a term of imprisonment of 3 to 5 years, a fine of up to $15,000, or both. The measure as proposed would lessen the jail time to between one-third and one-half of the standard sentence but with no chance of parole.
Similar language appears in A4558, which has bipartisan backing. Its proponents, Republicans John DiMaio and Anthony Bucco and Democrat Craig Coughlin, additionally advocate trying a juvenile assailant who is 14 years of age or older as an adult. Their bill also would make a person convicted of an assault while knowingly involved in criminal street gang activity guilty of second-degree gang criminality, which carries a jail term of five to 10 years, and a fine of up to $150,000, or both.
The third bill, A4563, was sponsored by Democrats Joe Cryan and Gordon Johnson. It would make offenders guilty of a second-degree aggravated assault, resulting in the jail time and fines listed under the gang activity provision.
As the DeMaio/Coughlin/Bucco bill notes, a homeless man in Hoboken died as a result of injuries sustained in September from “knockout” assault perpetrated by three teenage boys.