New Jersey's 25th Legislative District

Senator Anthony Bucco

Senator Anthony Bucco

Addiego/Bucco Bill Mandates Life Sentence for Murdering and Sexually Assaulting Children

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The Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee has passed legislation sponsored by Senate Republicans Dawn Addiego and Anthony Bucco extending “Joan’s Law” to eliminate the possibility of parole for anyone convicted of the murder of a minor in the course of a sex crime.

Rosemarie D’Alessandro testified in support of Sens. Bucco & Addiego’s bill updating “Joan’s Law” at the Senate Budget Committee on June 1, 2017. (

Since 1997, “Joan’s Law” has mandated “no release” in cases involving a minor under age 14. The Senators’ bill, S-607, extends Joan’s Law to protect victims between the ages of 14 and 18.

“No parent should have to stand in front of a judge and convince them that the monster who raped and murdered their child must remain in prison for life,” Senator Addiego (R-8) said. “Anyone who is evil enough to commit such a heinous crime will not hesitate to victimize another child. Extending ‘Joan’s Law’ to all minors will ensure every family who loses a child receives equal justice under the law.”

“There is no justification for releasing someone who has brutally raped and murdered an innocent child back into the general population. It should not matter if the child is 7 or 17-years-old. These dangerous criminals should, at the very least, be locked up for life,” Senator Anthony Bucco (R-25) said. “By applying Joan’s Law to every minor who is killed during the course of a sex crime, we can keep even more predators in prison where they belong.”

Signed by Governor Christie Whitman in 1997, “Joan’s Law” was named for Joan Angela D’Alessandro, a 7-year-old who disappeared in April 1973 while she was delivering boxes of Girl Scout cookies to a neighbor.

Joseph McGowan, a 26-year-old chemistry teacher, pleaded guilty to first-degree felony murder and was sentenced to life in prison for abducting, raping and strangling Joan. In the years since, McGowan, who is still in prison, has had parole hearings on four occasions.

Sen. Anthony Bucco, a sponsor of S-607 updating “Joan’s Law,” with Rosemarie D’Alessandro, after the legislation named after her daughter was approved by the Senate Budget Committee on June 1, 2017. (

Joan’s mother, Rosemarie D’Alessandro, spearheaded efforts for a law mandating life in prison without parole for the killing of children under the age of 14 during a sex crime. This expanded legislation is introduced at Mrs. D’Alessandro’s behest.

“This bill will give families the justice they deserve and ease the pain they have suffered,” Rosemarie D’Alessandro said. “If it is signed into law, they will never have to go through parole hearings and appeals like our family had to for four years. I am grateful to the sponsors, Senators Addiego and Bucco, for really going above and beyond. We, the advocates, and our legislators have worked together for seven years to get this bill passed. Thousands of people signed petitions or made phone calls. Today our voices were heard.”

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