NJ Legislature Considers Three Bills to K.O. 'Knockout Game' Attacks

James Beattie
By James Beattie | December 18, 2013 | 11:25 AM EST

Three bills have been introduced in the New Jersey Assembly, the lower chamber of the legislature, to 'knockout' the knockout attacks in the Garden State.

This was marked by a Hoboken man who died back in September of a violent knockout attack.  A Paterson teenager was also struck in the head last month and does not know how it transpired.

A4549 and A4558 both seek to define the knockout crime as a third-degree assault.  A third degree assault can result in a prison term of three to five years, a fine of up to $15,000, or both.

The first bill, introduced by Republicans Jon Bramnick and Ron Dancer, would punish anybody who participated in a "knockout game...subject to a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of one-third to one-half of the three to five year sentence imposed, during which time the person would not be eligible for parole."

Bramnick, who is the leader of the Assembly Republicans said, "Knockout is not a game. It is a violent and dangerous act."

"As legislators, we must ensure that our laws address the newest inceptions of violence with the harshest possible penalties. The public must be protected by giving prosecutors the tools they need to put criminals behind bars."

Republicans Anthony Bucco and Anthony DiMaio, and Democrat Craig Coughlin, who introduced the second bill, defines somebody participating in a  "knockout game" as one "attempting to cause or causing another to lose consciousness by a single punch, kick, or other singular striking motion for the sole purpose of bringing about the loss of consciousness."

The bill would also have anyone 14 years old or older who participates in a "knockout game," to "be tried in criminal court and subject to the same penalties as an adult offender."

A4563 introduced by Democrats Joseph Cryan and Gordon Johnson, would make offenders guilty of a second-degree aggravated assault, resulting in jail time and fines listed in the state's gang activity provision.

The bill's statement reads, "Due to the heinous nature of a "knockout game" assault, in which a person attempts to cause or causes a victim to lose consciousness by a single punch, kick, or other singular striking motion, done with no purpose other than to bring about the victim's loss of consciousness, the bill would treat such an act as a more serious crime of the second degree."