Downey Bill to Revise Wiretap Law Gains Assembly Panel Approval

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(TRENTON) – An Assembly panel on Thursday approved legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Gary Schaer, Gordon Johnson, Benjie Wimberly, Tim Eustace, Vince Mazzeo and Joann Downey to revise the state’s wiretapping laws to help aid investigations into crimes such as child luring.

Specifically, the bill (A-431) would expand state statutes to authorize wiretap orders for the investigation of the following offenses or a conspiracy to commit them: luring or enticing a child, identity theft, stalking, and cyber harassment.

“Wiretaps provide a critical tool for law enforcement officials to collect evidence and carry out their duties in some of the most difficult cases,” said Schaer (D-Bergen/Passaic). “This legislation will help ensure that investigators can obtain a court order for a wiretap when necessary and do the job of keeping communities across New Jersey safe.”

“The internet has opened up a wave of new avenues for child predators and identify thieves, in particular,” said Downey (D-Monmouth).  “Our hardworking men and women in law enforcement should have the authority to use technology to turn the tables on them and bring them to justice.”

Current law permits wiretapping during the investigation of certain crimes, including, but not limited to: murder, kidnapping, gambling, robbery, bribery and terrorism.

The measure was approved by the Assembly Judiciary Committee and now awaits consideration by the full Assembly.

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