PSI Presentence Report
New Jersey Criminal Sentencing
Although the offense someone is charged with plays the biggest role in the judge’s determination of your sentence, there are numerous other factors to be considered. The majority of the information used in determining what type of sentence is appropriate for you is found in a Presentence Report.
We provide our clients with a copy of the Presentence Report. After you read it carefully advise us in writing within 5 days of anything that is not accurate or needs correcting. The Judge will ask you on sentencing date are there any corrections or modifications.
We also recommend our clients prepare a list of (15) reasons why the judge should not give you the maximum penalties, fines or impose a jail sentence. At sentencing the judge will ask you "what do you want to tell the court”.
A presentence report is an investigative report provided to the judge that includes a wide array of information. The presentence investigation is typically done by a probation officer and may include the following:
• Criminal History
• Family support
• Alcohol/Drug history
• Mental health evaluation
• Medical history
• Personal habits
• Finance history
Ref: NJ §2C:44-6
Arguably the most important piece of information on the presentence report is the court investigating officer’s recommendation. The officer will make their recommendation on the belief on the likelihood of your success on probation or whether they believe you would be best served by incarceration.
The judge is not required to follow the recommendation of the presentence report, though they will likely give the investigating officer’s professional opinion some consideration.
The following is the statute dealing with pre-sentence reports
2C:44-6 Procedure on sentence; presentence investigation and report.
a.The court shall not impose sentence without first ordering a presentence investigation of the defendant and according due consideration to a written report of such investigation when required by the Rules of Court. The court may order a presentence investigation in any other case.
b.The presentence investigation shall include an analysis of the circumstances attending the commission of the offense, the defendant's history of delinquency or criminality, family situation, financial resources, including whether or not the defendant is an enrollee or covered person under a health insurance contract, policy or plan, debts, including any amount owed for a fine, assessment or restitution ordered in accordance with the provisions of Title 2C, any obligation of child support including any child support delinquencies, employment history, personal habits, the disposition of any charge made against any codefendants, the defendant's history of civil commitment, any disposition which arose out of charges suspended pursuant to N.J.S.2C:4-6 including the records of the disposition of those charges and any acquittal by reason of insanity pursuant to N.J.S.2C:4-1, and any other matters that the probation officer deems relevant or the court directs to be included. The defendant shall disclose any information concerning any history of civil commitment.
The report shall also include a medical history of the defendant and a complete psychological evaluation of the defendant in any case in which the defendant is being sentenced for a first or second degree crime involving violence and:(1)the defendant has a prior acquittal by reason of insanity pursuant to N.J.S.2C:4-1 or had charges suspended pursuant to N.J.S.2C:4-6; or(2)the defendant has a prior conviction for murder pursuant to N.J.S.2C:11-3, aggravated sexual assault or sexual assault pursuant to N.J.S.2C:14-2, kidnapping pursuant to N.J.S.2C:13-1, endangering the welfare of a child which would constitute a crime of the second degree pursuant to N.J.S.2C:24-4, or stalking which would constitute a crime of the third degree pursuant to section 1 of P.L.1992, c.209 (C.2C:12-10); or(3)the defendant has a prior diagnosis of psychosis.
The court, in its discretion and considering all the appropriate circumstances, may waive the medical history and psychological examination in any case in which a term of imprisonment including a period of parole ineligibility is imposed. In any case involving a conviction of N.J.S.2C:24-4, endangering the welfare of a child; N.J.S.2C:18-3, criminal trespass, where the trespass was committed in a school building or on school property; section 1 of P.L.1993, c.291 (C.2C:13-6), attempting to lure or entice a child with purpose to commit a criminal offense; section 1 of P.L.1992, c.209 (C.2C:12-10), stalking; or N.J.S.2C:13-1, kidnapping, where the victim of the offense is a child under the age of 18, the investigation shall include a report on the defendant's mental condition.
The presentence investigation shall also include information regarding the defendant's history of substance abuse and substance abuse treatment, if any, including whether the defendant has sought treatment in the past. If any of the factors listed in subsection b. of section 1 of P.L.2012, c.23 (C.2C:35-14.1) apply, the presentence report shall also include consideration of whether the defendant may be a drug dependent person as defined in N.J.S.2C:35-2.
The presentence investigation shall include an analysis of whether the defendant should be required to submit to a professional diagnostic assessment within the meaning of paragraph (1) of subsection a. of N.J.S.2C:35-14 in any case where: the defendant may be a drug dependent person as defined in N.J.S.2C:35-2; the defendant is eligible to be considered for a sentence to special probation pursuant to N.J.S.2C:35-14; and the court has not already ordered the defendant to submit to any such diagnostic assessment in regard to the pending matter.
The presentence report shall also include a report on any compensation paid by the Victims of Crime Compensation Agency as a result of the commission of the offense and, in any case where the victim chooses to provide one, a statement by the victim of the offense for which the defendant is being sentenced. The statement may include the nature and extent of any physical harm or psychological or emotional harm or trauma suffered by the victim, the extent of any loss to include loss of earnings or ability to work suffered by the victim and the effect of the crime upon the victim's family. The probation department shall notify the victim or nearest relative of a homicide victim of his right to make a statement for inclusion in the presentence report if the victim or relative so desires. Any such statement shall be made within 20 days of notification by the probation department.
The presentence report shall specifically include an assessment of the gravity and seriousness of harm inflicted on the victim, including whether or not the defendant knew or reasonably should have known that the victim of the offense was particularly vulnerable or incapable of resistance due to advanced age, disability, ill-health, or extreme youth, or was for any other reason substantially incapable of exercising normal physical or mental power of resistance.
c.If, after the presentence investigation, the court desires additional information concerning an offender convicted of an offense before imposing sentence, it may order any additional psychological or medical testing of the defendant.
d.Disclosure of any presentence investigation report or psychiatric examination report shall be in accordance with law and the Rules of Court, except that information concerning the defendant's financial resources shall be made available upon request to the Victims of Crime Compensation Agency or to any officer authorized under the provisions of section 3 of P.L.1979, c.396 (C.2C:46-4) to collect payment on an assessment, restitution or fine and that information concerning the defendant's coverage under any health insurance contract, policy or plan shall be made available, as appropriate to the Commissioner of Corrections and to the chief administrative officer of a county jail in accordance with the provisions of P.L.1995, c.254 (C.30:7E-1 et al.).
e.The court shall not impose a sentence of imprisonment for an extended term unless the ground therefor has been established at a hearing after the conviction of the defendant and on written notice to him of the ground proposed. The defendant shall have the right to hear and controvert the evidence against him and to offer evidence upon the issue.
Rule 3:21-2. Presentence Procedure
• (a) Investigation. Before the imposition of a sentence or the granting of probation court support staff shall make a presentence investigation in accordance with N.J.S.A. 2C:44-6 and report to the court. The report shall contain all presentence material having any bearing whatever on the sentence and shall be furnished to the defendant and the prosecutor. On counts on which the death penalty is to be imposed, a presentence report shall not be prepared.
• (b) Examination. After the presentence investigation and before imposing sentence, the court may order, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:44-6c, a physical or mental examination of the defendant provided that the defendant may not be committed to an institution for the purpose of that examination. The examination report shall be furnished to the defendant and the prosecuting attorney.