What Is A Pre-Sentencing Procedure?

If a defendant is convicted, a presentence investigation is conducted by the probation department in all cases except death penalty cases. State v. Roth, 95 N.J. 334, 357 (1984); State v. Reed, 211 N.J. Super. 177, 184-185 (App. Div. 1986), certif. denied, 110 N.J. 508 (1988); N.J.S.A. 2C:44-6a; R. 3:21-2(a). The purpose of this investigation is to prepare a report for the court which presents all material having any bearing whatsoever on the sentence to be imposed. See State v. Kunz, 55 N.J. 128, 144-145 (1969). The presentence report is disclosed to the defendant and the prosecutor. R. 3:21-2(a). N.J.S.A. 2C:44-6b enumerates the information required to be contained in the presentence report:

(1) an analysis of the circumstances surrounding the commission of the crime;

(2) the defendant’s prior criminal history;

(3) the defendant’s family situation;

(4) the defendant’s financial resources and debts, including any amount owed by way of restitution, fine or special assessment;

(5) the defendant’s employment history;

(6) the defendant’s personal habits;

(7) the disposition of any charge against any co-defendants;

(8) a report of any compensation paid by the Violent Crimes Compensation Board as a result of the commission of the crime, and

(9) a statement by the victim, if the victim chooses to provide one, detailing the harm or loss suffered by the victim and the impact of the crime upon the victim’s family.

The presentence report may also include a report on the defendant’s physical and mental condition, and any other factor that the probation officer deems relevant or the court orders to be included. N.J.S.A. 2C:44-6b; R. 3:21-2. Finally, the presentence report should include an assessment of the gravity and seriousness of the harm inflicted on the victim. N.J.S.A. 2C:44-6b. This analysis should include an analysis whether the victim of the offense was particularly vulnerable or incapable of resistance due to advanced age, disability, ill-health or extreme youth. Id.

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