Assemblyman Sam Fiocchi today joined other bill sponsors and Governor Christie as he signed into law the “Jessica Lunsford Act,” mandating strict minimum sentences for sexual crimes against minors.
Under the law, the minimum sentencing for aggravated sexual assault of a child under 13 is raised to 25 years to life, and it provides that the prosecutor, in the interest of the victim, be authorized to negotiate a plea agreement for a 15-year minimum. Currently, first degree crimes are punishable by a sentence of 10 to 20 years in prison.
“The ‘Jessica Lunsford Act’ protects New Jersey’s innocent children from the depraved monsters who would do them harm,” said Fiocchi, a sponsor of A-892.
“The punishment will never match these horrific crimes, but removing these animals from society for 15 to 25 years sends a very clear message that our precious children will be protected,” continued Fiocchi, R-Cape May, Atlantic and Cumberland.
The bill is named after Jessica Lunsford, a nine-year-old Florida resident, who was kidnapped, raped, and murdered by a registered sex offender, John Couey. Couey received the death penalty in August 2007, but died in federal prison in September 2009. Jessica’s father, Mark Lunsford, has made several trips to New Jersey advocating for sex offender legislation.
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