On May 15, 2014 New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed into law the Jessica Lunsford Act. This new law increases the punishment for a defendant convicted of aggravated sexual assault. The new law is not limited to crimes involving kidnapping or murder and applies without regard to whether the defendant previously was convicted of a sex offense.
The new law requires the court to impose a sentence fixed by the court between 25 years and life imprisonment, of which the defendant must serve 25 years before becoming eligible for parole unless a longer term is otherwise provided by law. Under this law, the Prosecution is prohibited from offering a plea calling for less than 15 years of parole eligibility, and can only offer this after consideration of the interests of the alleged victim.