Shutdown

MENTAL SHUTDOWN

By SHERRI RUGGIERI

After watching, listening, and reading the news from various sources, my mind shutdown.  Unlike the government, my decision was unrelated to money, power, or political parties.  What happened to the art of the argument in political debate?  When did it become all about venom and animosity?  Weren’t the essential elements of democracy the freedom to debate by viewing the issue from various perspectives?  I taught my college students to always consider the other side’s position.  We studied logical fallacies (false logic) and learned about “argumentum ad hominem” (latin for an attack of a person’s character, physical attributes, and/or motives).  Fallacies distract from the debate topic/real issues.

In Ethics class, I revealed how policies with “good intentions” can be the most destructive.  The lines of right and wrong quickly blur once decisions are implemented.   “To every action there is always opposed an equal reaction” (Issac Newton)  Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/isaac_newton_382602  However, respectful arguments allow for compromise and inspire creative solutions.  Our founding fathers and mothers provided a framework for the freedom to argue to agree.  They never envisioned how political parties (factions and special interests) would divide the nation.  Attacks “on and of the person” don’t move us forward.  I must shutout the constant babbling.

Sherri Ruggieri is the managing editor of Empire State News. A practicing attorney for over 20 years, Ms. Ruggieri is also chairperson of Edison Township’s Planning Board. Additionally, she has served as a college professor, with nearly a decade of experience in teaching law and political science courses.

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Supreme Court

KENNEDY RETIREMENT DOES MORE TO MOTIVATE REPUBLICANS TO VOTE FOR THE SENATE THAN THE GOP SENATE DOES

By ROBERT ROMANO

The retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy has reminded voters in this midterm election season that their vote matters — because judges matter.

With the Senate closely divided 51 to 49, another Supreme Court nomination by President Donald Trump promises to be one of the most contentious fights in modern Senate history.

Even more so because of the electoral map. Nine Democrat seats up are in states President Donald Trump carried in 2016: Florida, Indiana, Missouri, Montana, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Ohio.

Meaning the Democrat senators occupying all those seats will be forced to vote on Trump’s nominee to replace Kennedy, whoever he or she is.

And with Kennedy’s retirement, every single one of those seats is now very much in play. Very simply, the vote on the Kennedy replacement will be one that determines whether that seat is held by a Democrat, or a Republican come 2019.

Should the Democrat senators vote no on the nominee, it will rile up Republicans who would prefer the balance of power on the Supreme Court remain the way it is now, 5 to 4 appointed by Republicans. It could help Republicans pick up certain seats.

Should they vote yes, they will dispirit their own base of Democrat voters, who still can’t get over losing to Trump in 2016. If Trump’s nominee sails through, they might stay home, helping Republicans win other seats.

The vote is a lose-lose situation for Senate Democrats.

Either way, Kennedy’s retirement ups the incentive for Republicans to overcome the enthusiasm gap that typically pervades midterm elections after winning the White House.

The White House incumbent party tends to lose House seats in midterm elections 89 percent of the time dating back a century, with losses averaging 35 seats. The exceptions were 1934, 1998 and 2002.

On other hand, in 1926, 1962, 1986 and 1990 the losses were kept to less than 10 seats. 1954, 1970, 1978 and 2014 the losses were less than 20 seats.

On the Senate side, the White House incumbent party tends to lose Senate seats about 71 percent of the time, with losses averaging about 6 seats. Here, there are more exceptions where seats were either gained or none lost: 1906, 1914, 1934, 1962, 1970, 1982, 1998 and 2002.

One of those years was 1970, the same year Harry Blackmun replaced Abe Fortas. That year, the incumbent party, Richard Nixon and the Republicans, picked up two Senate seats.

In 1981, Sandra Day O’Connor replaced Potter Stewart. A year later, the incumbent party, Ronald Reagan and the Republicans, neither gained nor lost any Senate seats.

Now, clearly, Trump has promised to appoint a constitutionalist justice far more conservative than Blackmun or O’Connor, two of the most disappointing Republican choices for the Court in modern history. Nobody knew at the time how disappointing they would be, though.

In other words, running not one but two consecutive Supreme Court nominations successfully could put Trump in a commanding position for the midterm elections — because Democrats will feel defeated headed to the polls. Dejected.

The D in Democrats will stand for dispirited.

The flip side of that is if Senate Republicans fail to replace Kennedy this year. It could be Republicans who are demoralized. Just putting that out there.

When you get right down to it, Republican Senators include Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) have one job. To unite the Senate Republican conference and replace Kennedy with a constitutionalist who will protect individual rights and read the Constitution as written. And the more successful they are at it, the more likely they are to expand their majority this year. Again, they have one job.

Robert Romano is the Vice President of Public Policy at Americans for Limited Government.  Americans for Limited Government is a non-partisan, nationwide network committed to advancing free market reforms, private property rights and core American liberties.  For more information on ALG please visit the website at www.GetLiberty.org.  You can also read more articles at www.dailytorch.com.

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innovation

APPLE VS. QUALCOMM: FIGHTING FOR THE RIGHT TO INNOVATE

By RICK MANNING

Qualcomm and Apple face off this month in what could wind up being the most significant intellectual property dispute this nation has seen in decades.

It boils down to this: The company that pioneered global smartphone connectivity — Qualcomm — and the company that currently holds 15.2 percent of the world’s smartphone market Apple — are embroiled in a multibillion-dollar battle over the technology that makes these devices tick.

The long-running dispute is actually multiple cases — approximately 50 separate legal actions filed in 16 jurisdictions across six countries, including a key hearing this month before the International Trade Commission (ITC) in Washington, D.C. Qualcomm is asking the ITC for what’s known as an exclusion order — or a ban on the importation of certain iPhones that use inferior Intel modems.

Its argument? That Apple is using Qualcomm’s innovations without a license to do so.

“Given their enormous market presence they think they can infringe (upon) our intellectual property with impunity,” Qualcomm executive vice president and general counsel Don Rosenberg said last week. “But we have the rule of law in our favor and so we’re hoping to get their attention by asking a court to stop them from infringing.”

Rosenberg is right. The rule of law is in Qualcomm’s favor. And it is essential for our nation’s economic future that it be upheld.

Most of the media coverage related to this case has focused on its potential impact on smartphones (and the broader smartphone market) — and that’s important. But it is much bigger than that.

At the heart of this case is a fundamental question that could define the next century of technological advancement in this country: Do we still believe in innovation in America? Or, conversely, are we becoming a nation where patented technology can be stolen whenever a corporation decides it doesn’t want to pay for it anymore?

Qualcomm is the company that connected cellphones to the internet. It is responsible for 3G, 4G and is currently pioneering 5G — a “new era of connectivity” that will provide consumers, networks, businesses and smartphone manufacturers with super-high speed, “fiber like” wireless solutions. According to one economic impact study, 5G will add more than $3 trillion to our nation’s gross domestic product and create upward of three million  new jobs.

Earlier this year, I advocated against, and President Trump ultimately blocked, a threatened takeover of Qualcomm by Broadcomm because the importance of the U.S. being the leader in 5G was widely recognized, and Qualcomm’s integral role in developing 5G is indisputable. Without Qualcomm’s innovation, the U.S. would cede its dominant position to other nations. It is clear that Qualcomm reinvests its licensing fees into critical research and development and Apple’s continued refusal to compensate Qualcomm for its innovation could also hinder the company’s (and thereby the country’s) ability to advance 5G.

Licensing the use of its patented innovations is the heart of Qualcomm’s business. It is also what keeps the company and its nearly 40,000 employees in business. Qualcomm’s patented modems and other innovations are so indispensable to the operation of smartphones and other mobile devices that the manufacturers of these devices have agreed to not only buy the company’s chips — but pay Qualcomm for the right to use the underlying technology.

Well, everybody pays except Apple — which is currently delinquent to the tune of up to $4.5 billion when it comes to licensing fees owed to Qualcomm.

Apple insists  it “believe(s) deeply in the value of intellectual property,” but its actions tell a different story. Not only is the company refusing to pay what it owes, it is being accused of infringing Qualcomm’s intellectual property (the basis of the ITC complaint). The company is also trying to stonewall the courts in an effort to keep its conduct from coming to light.

Last December, a federal judge in San Jose, California issued sanctions against Apple after it refused to turn over evidence related to one of the cases in this dispute.

Qualcomm’s position remains simple: Licensing agreements are an essential component of incentivizing innovation in this country.

Without them, innovation dies.

Or to put it another way: Do we want to kill off trillions of dollars in economic activity, and risk no longer being the leader in 5G, because one of the world’s richest companies doesn’t want to pay what it owes?

As originally published in Investor’s Business Daily.

Rick Manning is the President of Americans for Limited Government.  Americans for Limited Government is a non-partisan, nationwide network committed to advancing free market reforms, private property rights and core American liberties.  For more information on ALG please visit the website at www.GetLiberty.org.  You can also read more articles at www.dailytorch.com.

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divorce

DIVORCE FROM BED AND BOARD?

By SHERRI RUGGIERI

As a lawyer, I am always learning.  I had never heard of a “limited” versus an “absolute” divorce.   Apparently, the concept of a” limited” (mensa et thoro) divorce, which is also called a divorce from “bed and board” (N.J.SA. 2A:34-3 and 2A:34-6) is not new.    This old concept has recently been creatively applied to allow the continuation of an employee’s “family” health care coverage even after the “divorce from bed and board.”   The restriction is that neither party can remarry until there is an final judgment of “absolute” divorce.

In my mind, divorce requires the splitting of the property rights.  This interim type of divorce (divorce from bed and board) only postpones the inevitable division that must occur on an emotional level.  However, modern financial realities have forced parties to maintain their bond.  Will this cause even more tension in an already strained relationship?

Sherri Ruggieri is the managing editor of Empire State News. A practicing attorney for over 20 years, Ms. Ruggieri is also chairperson of Edison Township’s Planning Board. Additionally, she has served as a college professor, with nearly a decade of experience in teaching law and political science courses.

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fireworks

INCREASE IN STATE REVENUE

By SHERRI RUGGIERI

 In this oppressive heat, a government shutdown in New Jersey would have caused political fireworks.  The budget compromise rejected a proposal tin increase the state’s sales tax.  This left lawmakers scrambling to identify an alternate source for revenue.  Therefore, it is not surprising that New Jersey’s Senate approved bill S-2794, approved 22-15, to tax out-of-state online sellers.  Previously, online businesses with no physical presence in New Jersey eluded the snare of state sales taxes.

The U.S. Supreme Court opened the door for New Jersey’s legislative action by its decision in South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc.   The Court held that a nexus to the state was “clearly sufficient” if a remote seller delivered in excess of $100,000 of goods or services or conducted 200 or more transactions for goods and services into a state.  Senate President Steve Sweeney (Gloucester) stated:  “This will help restore competitive balance for the retail stores in New Jersey and for the online businesses located here.  It will also produce more ongoing and sustained revenue for the state at a time when it is needed. We can reasonably expect an annual increase of more than $100 million a year.”

According to a federal accounting agency, New Jersey will generate $216 million to $351 million through the vehicle of this tax.  Marketplace providers like eBay and Amazon would be responsible for collecting NJ’s state sales tax through their Internet platform.  Senator Singleton (Burlington) added, “It’s a matter of tax fairness that will level the playing field for in-state businesses that have been playing by the rules. The imbalance has grown as the amount of internet business has increased as Americans have done more of their shopping online.”

Sherri Ruggieri is the managing editor of Empire State News. A practicing attorney for over 20 years, Ms. Ruggieri is also chairperson of Edison Township’s Planning Board. Additionally, she has served as a college professor, with nearly a decade of experience in teaching law and political science courses.

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Tough

CAN WE PLEASE BE HONEST ABOUT THE SENATE? IT IS A MAJORITY IN NAME ONLY.

By PRINTUS LEBLANC

The White House needs to accept the political reality of the Senate. Despite having 51 Republicans in the Senate, they do not have a majority and are facing a hostile Senate. All the evidence is in the numbers, and President Donald Trump must act accordingly.

The first test for the “Republican” controlled Senate came after six years of campaign promises. The GOP controlled the House, Senate, and White House, and it was finally going to get rid of Obamacare. And then the Senate had to vote when it had a President that would sign the bill. Long story short, Obamacare is still the law of the land.

Another test will come later this week. In early June, the House passed a $14.7 billion rescission package. The package was nothing more than programs that did not exist, or there is no authorization, but Congress keeps funding anyways. The package now sits in the Senate and must be acted upon by Friday.

It seems like an easy lift. Defunct government programs should not get funded. However, it is not looking good. Many moderate Senators, including appropriators, do not want to rock the boat on the previously agreed to spending levels, even if said spending levels include phantom funding.

Nominations are another key indicator the Republicans do not control the Senate. There has been a staggering level of obstruction with President Trump’s nominees. There have been over 100 cloture votes, including half a dozen cloture votes on nominees that passed without a vote against. The obstruction has gotten so bad; there are 100 fewer confirmations than the next closest administration.

Knowing the Senate landscape, the President must now consider the Senate a hostile body. President Trump must play hardball with the Senate.

President Trump must assert his veto authority. Trump must let the Senate know he will veto any spending bill that does not prioritize his policies, the policies that won the election. The border wall must be funded, and the President must have the ability to drain the swamp, by getting the authority to fire the swamp through enacting the MERIT Act by U.S. Rep. Barry Loudermilk.

President Trump won the presidency because of his stance against illegal immigration. All the polls show a majority of Americans do not like illegal immigration, despite what the media spouts. The results were validated in the election because the Democrat Party and the Republican establishment were all running from the same open borders and amnesty playbook. They lost, and Donald Trump won, and he won on the promise of building a wall.

The swamp got the better of the President in the previous budget by hiding behind the Trump’s love for the military, but now the President must fight back. A veto threat for a budget that does not fund the border wall will force funding for the wall. The ten Democrats up for reelection in states Trump won cannot afford to be seen as shutting the government down because they don’t want to protect American citizens. Illegal immigration cost the U.S. taxpayers $116 billion per year; the wall will cost $25 billion to build plus maintenance. If the wall reduces illegal immigration by only 10 percent, the wall pays for itself in 2 ½ years.

The President also promised to drain the swamp, but that can be difficult when it is impossible to fire a government employee. A small step was taken when President Trump signed the Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act last summer.  The legislation streamlined the process to fire, suspend, or demote VA employees for substandard performance or misconduct. Secondarily, the bill authorized the VA secretary to recover bonuses awarded to employees that acted improperly. The VA scandal began when employees lied about appointments to get bonuses.

The legislation is effective, as it enabled the VA to fire more than 1,500 poor performing employees within six months after the legislation was signed. While it may be easier to fire poor performing employees in the VA, that is not the case for the rest of the federal government. This power must be given to the rest of the federal agencies by passing the MERIT Act.

President Trump must demand all cabinet secretaries have the same power the VA secretary has to fire poorly performing employees, and this can be done by turning the VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act into a federal government-wide act. Who would be against firing poor performing employees?

Since his election, the President has been trying to play nice with the Senate. The time for fun and games has passed. The President must take the fight to the Senate and force tough votes. They are the opposition. Dare the Senate to shut down the federal government before an election because it doesn’t want to protect Americans or fire poor performing employees. This is a winning formula for November. After all, it worked once already.

Printus LeBlanc is a contributing editor at Americans for Limited Government. 

Americans for Limited Government is a non-partisan, nationwide network committed to advancing free market reforms, private property rights and core American liberties.  For more information on ALG please visit the website at www.GetLiberty.org.  You can also read more articles at www.dailytorch.com.

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Under18

MARRIAGE IS A LEGAL CONTRACT RESERVED FOR TWO CONSENTING ADULTS

By SHERRI RUGGIERI

In New Jersey, Governor Phil Murphy signed into law a prohibition against anyone under the age of 18 from marrying or entering into a civil union regardless of parental or judicial consent.

“In New Jersey, we are dedicated to protecting children by putting an end to child marriages by raising the minimum age to 18,” declared Governor Murphy. “Studies have consistently showed that minors who enter into marriage – particularly young women – are less likely to graduate from high school and college and more likely to suffer domestic abuse and live in poverty.  I am proud to join with the Legislature to make New Jersey a national leader on this important human rights issue.”

According to the New Jersey Department of Health data, more than 3,600 minors were married in New Jersey from 1995-2015. “Most people would probably be surprised at how many underage marriages occur, not just in the United States, but right here in New Jersey, some even as young as 13 or 14,” said Assemblyman Reed Gusciora (Mercer/Hunterdon).  “In most cases these are forced marriages and in the vast majority they involve young girls.  At its most basic sense, marriage is a legal contract that should be reserved for two consenting adults, plain and simple.”  Additionally, New Jersey data indicates that girls comprise 90 percent of those under 18 who were married.

“There have been many reports detailing the dangers of child marriage and how it undermines a girl’s health, often exposes them to violence, and hinders their educational and economic opportunities,” said Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt (Camden/Burlington).  “We can’t control the rest of the world, but we can put a stop to it here.”

“Some might think forced marriages are something that only occurs elsewhere, not in the United States, but it’s a lot more common than we think, even right here in New Jersey,” said Assemblyman Raj Mukherji (Hudson).  “This is about preserving basic human rights and ensuring that young women, in particular, are not forced into marriage against their will.”

New Jersey might be the first to pass this type of law, but Maryland, New York, and  Virginia have pending legislation.

Sherri Ruggieri is the managing editor of Empire State News. A practicing attorney for over 20 years, Ms. Ruggieri is also chairperson of Edison Township’s Planning Board. Additionally, she has served as a college professor, with nearly a decade of experience in teaching law and political science courses.

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School

WHAT IS ALYSSA’S LAW?

By SHERRI RUGGIERI

During its June session, members of the New Jersey Assembly evaluated the bill “Alyssa’s Law” A-764, which would equip public school buildings to law enforcement by a silent, panic alarm.  Upon activation, a signal would be immediately be transmitted to authorities.  The bill is named after Alyssa Alhadeff, a former New Jersey resident who was killed during the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida.

“Our children deserve the chance to learn in peace,” declared Assemblyman Ralph R. Caputo.  “I am not suggesting this will stop all security threats, but coupled with security measures already in place, it can increase the chances of diffusing a bad situation without further harm to students and staff.”

“Boosting security measures with a silent alarm that would notify law enforcement as soon as it is activated could help reduce the potential for greater harm in an emergency,” explained Legislator Shavonda E. Sumter. “Any measure that can help lessen this risk is an investment worth making.”

The NJ Assemby’s bill (A-764) requires that all public elementary and secondary schools be equipped with a panic alarm for use in a school security emergency including, but not limited to, a non-fire evacuation, lockdown, or active shooter situation. The alarm would be an addition to existing security systems.

It is proposed that funding from district school facilities projects could be used to pay for this extra layer of security.  The silent panic alarm to law enforcement could stop the tactical advantage of an intruder.  A coordinated communication mechanism is the key to a more efficient, effective defense.  It might even deter other violent behaviors.

Sherri Ruggieri is the managing editor of Empire State News. A practicing attorney for over 20 years, Ms. Ruggieri is also chairperson of Edison Township’s Planning Board. Additionally, she has served as a college professor, with nearly a decade of experience in teaching law and political science courses.

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Scales of Justice

SANCTIONS (ATTORNEY’S FEES AND COSTS) FOR FRIVOLOUS CLAIMS

By SHERRI RUGGIERI

We live in a litigious society.  For some, a lawsuit can transform into a winning lottery ticket.  Once a group of people learn that I am an attorney, they constantly ask me, “Can I sue for . . .”   My response, “You can always sue but winning is a different matter. It all depends.”

To curb the appetite for litigation, there have challenges to claims that “lack merit in law or fact.”  The concept of a “frivolous lawsuit” and the adding of sanctions (attorney’s fees and litigation costs) to the non-prevailing party and his/her attorney have been in the news.  Typically, the courts rely upon the  “American Rule,” which prevents fee shifting.  The rationale is based upon equal access to the courts regardless of a party’s financial status.  However, legislators and judges have supported changes to prevent the wasting of judicial resources on frivolous cases.  As explained in McKeown-Brand v. Trump Castle Hotel & Casino, 132 N.J. 546, 548-549 (1993), the statute N.J.S.A. 2A:15-59.1 “allows the award of attorney’s fees to a prevailing party in a lawsuit if the non-prevailing party asserts a claim or defense ‘in bad faith, solely for the purpose of harassment, delay or malicious injury,’ N.J.S.A. 2A:15-59.1b(1), or if `[t]he non-prevailing party knew, or should have known, that the complaint, counterclaim, cross-claim or defense was without any reasonable basis in law or equity and could not be supported by a good faith argument for an extension, modification or reversal of existing law,’ N.J.S.A. 2A:15-59.1b(2).”  By extension, the New Jersey Court’s Rule 1:4-8 holds attorneys accountable for frivolous claims.  This means that clients and their attorneys should beware of filing frivolous lawsuits in bad faith or with the purpose to harass, delay, or cause malicious injury because they run the risk of sanctions (prevailing party’s reasonable attorney’s fees and costs.

However, the “American Rule,” where parties pay their own legal fees, is still preferred.  The concept of fee shifting (the “English Rule) and “winner take all” is restricted:  “We thus construe N.J.S.A. 2A:15-59.1 in view of the concern that while baseless litigation must be deterred, nevertheless the counsel-fee sanction mode of deterrence should not [emphasis added in bold] be permitted to generate even more litigation, the right of access to the courts should not be unduly infringed upon, honest and creative advocacy should not be discouraged, and the salutary policy of litigants bearing, in the main, their own litigation costs, should not be abandoned.”  Iannone v. McHale, 245 N.J.Super. 17, 28 (App. Div. 1990).  The “scales of justice” will be put to work deciphering what is meant by “honest and creative advocacy.”  Egalitarian access to the justice system remains a priority but must have a rational basis.  Not everything in life should be litigated and the judicial system should not be a weapon for improper motive.  Society’s preferences will affect judicial interpretation and shape legislative initiatives.

Sherri Ruggieri is the managing editor of Empire State News. A practicing attorney for over 20 years, Ms. Ruggieri is also chairperson of Edison Township’s Planning Board. Additionally, she has served as a college professor, with nearly a decade of experience in teaching law and political science courses.
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Protective Orders

NEW JERSEY’S EXTREME RISK PROTECTIVE ORDER ACT OF 2018

By SHERRI RUGGIERI

Somewhat similar to the legal process for obtaining a temporary and then final restraining order, the Extreme Risk Protective Order Act of 2018 establishes a mechanism for obtaining a temporary and final extreme risk protective order against persons who are found to pose a danger of bodily injury to themselves or others by having custody or control of, owning, possessing, purchasing, or receiving a firearm.  A family member or law enforcement officer will have authority to file a petition for a temporary extreme risk protective order.

“This is the right approach to reducing gun violence,” said Greenwald (D-Camden/Burlington). “We’re respecting Second Amendment rights, while taking steps to protect the community through a fair and just process. We’ve heard too many stories about families who couldn’t do anything despite red flags being raised. With this law, we change that for the better.”

(It is significant that a petition for a temporary extreme risk protective order can be filed against a law enforcement officer.  The officer’s employer will conduct an internal affairs investigation.  The officer will not to be terminated during the investigation phase.  Next, the county prosecutor will determine if the matter should be referred to the courts.)

In deciding whether to issue the temporary protective order, the court would consider if the accused person has a history of:

  • threats or acts of violence directed toward self or others;
  • use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against another;
  • violation of a restraining or protective order issued by either the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1991 or the Sexual Assault Survivor Protection Act of 2015;
  • convictions for violent disorderly persons or petty disorderly persons offense, stalking offense, domestic violence offense, or an offense involving cruelty to animals; and
  • drug or alcohol abuse.

For the final extreme protective order, the above listed factors must be proven by a preponderance of the evidence.  The core issue is whether or not the accused person poses a significant danger of bodily injury to self or other persons by either possessing or purchasing a firearm.   “We need to do more to protect children and our communities from the scourge of gun violence, and this is a creative and thoughtful approach,” said Jasey (D-Essex/Morris). “We will take steps to take guns away from those who pose a danger to others, but also to themselves. It’s a smart way to keep communities safe.”

The issuance of a temporary or final extreme risk protective order requires the respondent (the accused) to surrender all firearms and ammunition in the person’s custody or control, or which the person owns or possesses, and to surrender to law enforcement any firearms purchaser identification card, permit to purchase a handgun, or permit to carry a handgun the person holds.   Anyone held in contempt of an extreme risk protective order is to be arrested.

The names of all persons who have been charged with a violation of a temporary or final extreme risk protective order will be compiled into an electronic central registry created and maintained by the Administrative Office of the Courts.  The subject of an extreme risk protective order will be disqualified from obtaining a firearms purchaser identification card or permit to purchase a handgun.  The information will also be released during a background check for a person seeking employment as a police or law enforcement officer.  This law provides a sensible process that protects the rights of lawful gun owners while allowing concerned family members to take action when there are ‘red flags’ that indicate a gun owner poses a serious risk to others,” said Zwicker (D-Somerset/Mercer/Middlesex/Hunterdon).

Violation of a temporary or final extreme risk protective order is a fourth degree crime, which may include imprisonment of up to 18 months and/or a fine of up to $10,000.  Furthermore, anyone who purchases, acquires, owns, possesses, or controls a firearm or ammunition in violation of the protection order will have committed a third degree, which carries a three to five years prison term and/or a fine of up to $15,000.

There is a process to protect the rights of a person wrongfully accused in an extreme risk protective order petition.  The information in the registry will be removed after the termination of the extreme risk protective order.  At that time, the respondent can petition for the return of his/her firearms or ammunition.

Sherri Ruggieri is the managing editor of Empire State News. A practicing attorney for over 20 years, Ms. Ruggieri is also chairperson of Edison Township’s Planning Board. Additionally, she has served as a college professor, with nearly a decade of experience in teaching law and political science courses.

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