“Reforming the way our state handles criminal sentencing is a worthy endeavor that I fully support, however, I believe that it is important to extend judicial discretion to other non violent offenses as well,” Sacco said in an emailed statement. “Official misconduct is a serious offense and anyone convicted of it should face appropriate consequences, but that sentencing decision should be made by a judge and not by legislators, and it should be based on the severity of each individual case.”
As reported by Politico.com, two bills, NJ A4369 (20R) and NJ A4370 (20R), were written to eliminate mandatory minimum sentences for drug and property crimes in an effort to reduce racial disparities in prison.
Prior to state Senator/Mayor Sacco’s amendments, the bills were based entirely on recommendations in a report by the New Jersey Criminal Sentencing & Disposition Commission. The commission did not recommend eliminating mandatory minimum sentences for official misconduct.
Definition of Official Misconduct
A public servant is guilty of official misconduct when, with purpose to obtain a benefit for himself or another or to injure or to deprive another of a benefit:
a. He commits an act relating to his office but constituting an unauthorized exercise of his official functions, knowing that such act is unauthorized or he is committing such act in an unauthorized manner; or
b. He knowingly refrains from performing a duty which is imposed upon him by law or is clearly inherent in the nature of his office.
Official misconduct is a crime of the second degree. If the benefit obtained or sought to be obtained, or of which another is deprived or sought to be deprived, is of a value of $200.00 or less, the offense of official misconduct is a crime of the third degree.