Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Top Court’s Ruling on Guiseppe Tedesco a Victory for Crime Victims and Families

Monday’s state Supreme Court ruling that upholds previous lower court decisions that Guiseppe Tedesco, who was convicted of killing Alyssa Ruggieri on March 27, 2010, must attend his sentencing out of respect for the victim’s family and for the judicial system is a victory for those impacted by such terrible tragedies said Assembly Republicans Anthony M. Bucco and BettyLou DeCroce today.

Bucco and DeCroce, who recently introduced bipartisan legislation (A-4118) which clarifies a crime victim has a right to make a victim impact statement directly to the defendant in court at sentencing, lauded the high court’s ruling. The Bucco-DeCroce bill would amend and strengthen the current Crime Victim’s Bill of Rights.

“I fully support the court’s finding that Mr. Tedesco offered no compelling reason for his absence during his sentencing,” said Bucco, R-Morris and Somerset. “The remarks Mr. Tedesco will hear from Alyssa’s family will pale in comparison to the agony and pain he has caused them by taking an innocent life. The court used sound and rational logic in dismissing the unpersuasive excuses given by the defendant for not listening to the anguish he has caused the Ruggieri family.”

In 1991, Assemblywoman DeCroce’s late husband, Assemblyman Alex DeCroce, sponsored and advocated for the Victims’ Rights Amendment – a landmark amendment to the New Jersey Constitution that guaranteed the rights of crime victims, which voters approved.

“It was for instances like this that Alex championed this amendment because of his sensitivity to the pain and anguish felt by victims and their families,” said DeCroce, R-Morris, Essex and Passaic. “The trauma endured by crime victims and their families, such as the Ruggieri’s, far surpasses a request by the convicted that they forego appearing in court at their sentencing. Mr. Tedesco will never be able to comprehend the irreparable harm he has caused, and in this case, the callous disregard for human life he exhibited. The rights of victims must be upheld.”

Bucco and DeCroce’s bill was introduced on May 13 and referred to the Assembly Judiciary Committee.

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