Bias crimes are defined under N.J.S.A. 2C:16-1. Pursuant to that statute, a person is guilty of bias intimidation if he or she commits, attempts to commit, or threatens the immediate commission of an offense specified in Chapters 11 through 18 of Title 2C, 2C:33-4, 2C:39-3, 2C:39-4 or 2C:39-5, with the purpose of intimidating an individual or group because of race, color, religion, gender, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin or ethnicity, OR knowing that the conduct would cause an individual to be intimidated, OR under circumstances that caused any victim of the underlying offense to be intimidated. Bias intimidation is a crime of the fourth degree if the underlying offense is a disorderly persons offense or a petty disorderly persons offense. Otherwise, bias intimidation is a crime one degree higher than the most serious underlying crime referred to in the statute. Additional sentencing provisions apply when bias intimidation is graded as a first degree crime.
These Policies shall be liberally construed in order to achieve the criminal justice purpose of fighting bias crime in the State of New Jersey, and may be relaxed in the discretion of the Attorney General or designee in order to effectuate this stated purpose.
All funding for this Reward Program shall be subject to availability and will come from the Attorney General’s Law Enforcement Forfeiture Account (AGLEFA), pursuant to all applicable guidelines and procedures.
Bias Crime Reporting Procedure
Individuals may report information regarding suspected bias crime by one of the following methods:
- Call the Bias Toll Free Hotline at 1-800-277-BIAS (2427) during regular business hours (Monday through Friday 9:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M.) and speak to a hotline Operator or after regular business hours and leave a detailed message, including a name and phone number at which the caller can be reached;
- Visit www.nj.gov/oag/bias and submit an online report;
- Send an email to DCJ at NJBIAS@njdcj.org; or
- Write directly to DCJ at the following address:
New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety
Division of Criminal Justice
25 Market Street
Trenton, NJ 08625-0085
ATTENTION: BIAS CRIME REWARD PROGRAM
Reward Application Procedure
- In order to be eligible to receive a reward, an applicant shall complete a Reward Application prescribed by DCJ. The Reward Application Form must be completed in its entirety and signed by the person seeking the reward and notarized. The Reward Application Form must be emailed or mailed to DCJ at the above addresses.
- The person submitting the application may, at the discretion of DCJ, be interviewed by DCJ with regard to the information the applicant is submitting for consideration. An applicant may also be required to give his or her verbal statement under oath and sign a written memorialization of his or her statement.
- The Reward Application Form may be obtained by requesting such form by the same methods as reporting, listed above.
- DCJ shall acknowledge receipt of an application in writing, via email or first class mail.
Timely Filing of Applications for Reward
- In all cases where material information is provided by a person without the simultaneous filing of a Reward Application Form, DCJ shall advise the person of the Reward Program and that the person may file an application for reward consideration no later than 30 days from the date on which the person initially provided information to DCJ.
- Upon request of an applicant at the time the application is made, DCJ and any other governmental agency involved in the criminal proceeding shall not disclose the identity of the applicant, subject to any statute, rule of Court or judicial decision to the contrary which may require divulgence of such identity to certain parties including, in certain circumstances, a criminal defendant.
- All information, reports, applications or other documentation received or maintained by DCJ pursuant to this program are confidential criminal investigatory records pursuant to the Open Public Records Act, N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1, et seq., and shall not be subject to public access.
Eligibility for a Reward
- DCJ may pay a reward upon the arrest, prosecution, and conviction of a person(s) or entities for a bias crime. “Conviction” means the entry of a judgment of conviction at the time sentence is imposed by the court.
- A person who provides material information under this Reward Program and submits a timely Reward Application Form may be eligible for a reward if the information:
DCJ shall not pay a reward for information relating to an individual or entity that, at the time the information is provided, is already the subject of a referral to DCJ; is already the subject of an investigation by DCJ; or is already the subject of an investigation by the New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety, Division of Civil Rights or any other Federal, State, County or Municipal Agency.
- Leads to the arrest, prosecution and conviction of a specific individual(s) or entities for specified conduct occurring during a particular time period, as detailed in the Reward Program Application; or
- Directly leads to the arrest, prosecution and conviction of other individuals or other entities for specified conduct occurring during a particular time period as detailed in the Reward Program Application submitted by the person.
Determination and Notification of eEligibility for Reward
Upon the conviction of a person or entity who has committed a bias crime, and exhaustion of all direct appeals, DCJ shall, within 90 days, or as soon thereafter as practicable, notify the applicant of DCJ’s determination of the eligibility of an applicant for a reward.
Written notification shall contain the specific reasons for a determination and inform the applicant that:
- There is an insufficient relationship between the information provided and the arrest, prosecution and conviction of the individual(s) or entities named in the matter and the applicant is not eligible for a reward;
- The information provided was material to the arrest, prosecution and conviction of the individual(s) or entities named in the matter and the applicant is eligible for a reward; or
- There is a need for further examination of the application necessitating a written response and/or personal appearance of the applicant for further information before a determination as to eligibility can be made.
Persons Not Eligible for a Reward
The following persons are NOT eligible to receive a reward through this Program:
- An individual who was or is an immediate family member of an officer or employee of DCJ, or any individual working on behalf of DCJ or who is an immediate family member of an individual working on behalf of DCJ at the time he or she came into possession of, or divulged, information leading to an arrest, prosecution and conviction;
- Any other Federal, State, County or Municipal employee, contractor or grantee, if the information submitted came to their knowledge in the course of their official duties;
- An individual or entity that participated in or facilitated the offense with respect to which payment of the reward would be made; or
- An individual or entity who knowingly provides false information to DCJ.
Post-determination Claims: payment of rewards
- Within 45 days of receipt of a notification of reward eligibility pursuant to this Reward Program, the applicant shall make a claim for such reward by forwarding to DCJ a written acknowledgment of the notification on a form prescribed by DCJ, a request for the reward, and the name and address to which the reward should be delivered.
- No reward shall exceed $10,000 per incidence of bias crime; if more than one individual or entity is eligible to receive a reward in a particular case, the Attorney General or designee, in his or her discretion, shall allocate the total reward amount among the eligible claimants.
- All reward payments shall be issued as promptly as possible and shall be reported to the appropriate State and Federal taxing authorities as required by law. Applicants shall provide all information necessary to making such payment.
- No DCJ employee shall make an offer or promise or otherwise bind DCJ with respect to payment of any reward or the amount of the reward.
- If, after a reward is accepted, DCJ finds that the recipient was ineligible to receive the reward, DCJ shall not be liable for the reward and the recipient shall refund all monies received to DCJ.
- Reward amounts are not transferable or assignable.
- In cases where two or more applicants submit substantially identical material information which results in the arrest, prosecution and conviction of a person(s) or entities who has committed a bias crime, subject to the discretion of the Attorney General or designee, only the eligible person who has filed his or her application first in time shall be considered for the receipt of a reward.
- In cases where two or more eligible applicants submit different information which materially results in the arrest, prosecution and conviction of a person(s) who has committed a bias crime, thereby rendering both applicants eligible for a reward, the Attorney General or designee, in his or her discretion, may apportion the amount of the reward among the eligible applicants based upon consideration of relevant factors including, but not limited to:
- The timing of each application filed;
- The overall accuracy of the material information provided ; and
- The extent of cooperation with the prosecution by each applicant in the particular case for which the information has been provided.
Dismissal of Charges
If a person supplies information which results in the arrest and issuance of criminal charges against a person(s) for a bias crime and those charges are subsequently dismissed, eligibility for a reward shall be at the discretion of the Attorney General or designee.
Finality of Determination of Eligibility and Allocation of Award Amounts
The decision of the Attorney General or designee regarding reward eligibility and payment shall be final and shall not be subject to judicial review.