TRENTON, N.J. – Assemblyman Ron Dancer introduced legislation Thursday that adds criminal charges for impersonating uniformed professionals in response to the deadly attack on the family of a federal judge in New Jersey last month.
The son of U.S District Judge Esther Salas was killed and her husband wounded by a gunman posing as a FedEx Driver July 19 in North Brunswick.
“Using the guise of a trusted brand or service organization to gain access to a property is a terrifying prospect for all New Jerseyans and serves to further erode our sense of security in a far too uncertain world,” said Assemblyman Dancer (R-Ocean). “This bill seeks to add additional penalties for would-be criminals as they seek to cause harm and another tool in the prosecutor’s toolbag to getting these people off our streets.”
The bill (A-4566) would make the crime one degree higher for impersonating a uniformed professional to further criminal activity. For example; if the underlying offense is a second-degree crime then the act of impersonation would make it a first-degree crime. If the underlying crime is a first-degree crime, then it would increase the ordinary imprisonment between ten and 20 years to 15 and 30 years.
A conviction for impersonating a uniformed professional to further criminal activity and a conviction for an underlying offense would not merge, and the court would impose separate sentences for the convictions.
Assemblyman Dancer notes that all New Jerseyans should employ care when dealing with unexpected uniformed visitors to their properties including demanding identification from those purporting to be utility workers, government employees or other vendors.
The bill will be referred to an Assembly committee for its consideration.