Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Pressure Builds In NJ For Bail Reform

“Time To Overhaul N.J.’s Bail System”
Ahead Of The Special Legislative Session, Voices Across New Jersey Continue To Urge The Legislature To Act On Bail Reform

“We must act now, in the public interest, to protect our children and our communities from the most serious criminals who, under current law, must be set free if able to post even a fraction of the bail set by a judge. Together we can take action on this crucial matter of public importance. The security and stability of our communities demands that we take this action now.”
– Governor Chris Christie, Letter to The Legislature, July 29, 2014

Bishop Reginald Jackson: “I urge the State Senate to pass this legislation on Thursday, and for members of the Assembly to also return to vote on the legislation that it may be placed on the November ballot.” (Press Release, 7/30/14)

·         “Bail reform is long overdue in New Jersey, and has been called for by many for many years. To delay this matter from a vote now would be irresponsible.”

·         “I urge both chambers of the State Legislature to act on SCR 128 by Monday. This is not hard to do, but it is hard to understand why what a majority wants can’t get acted on. In the words of Spike Lee I urge all parties to, ‘do the right thing.’”

Former Governor Jim McGreevey: "I strongly support bail reform. The poor ought not to be denied freedom merely because of their inability to afford bail. The bail reform legislation is on the side of the angels." (Press Release, 7/30/14)

Camden Mayor Dana L. Redd: “I strongly support the efforts of Senator Norcross to address a flawed bail system that treats those accused or charged with non-violent offenses the same as individuals charged with violent offenses.” (“Redd and Moran state support for bail reform,” Politicker NJ, 7/29/14)

·         “If we are serious about keeping our communities safe from the real violent criminals, then it is critically important that we focus all of our efforts on making sure that the true lawbreakers – murderers, drug dealers and other hardened repeat violent offenders – are the ones that remain in jail.”

Camden Council President Francisco Moran: “The current bail system is antiquated and unfair to the poor and minorities on petty offenses and really only benefits the bail bondsman at the expense of struggling families.” (“Redd and Moran state support for bail reform,” Politicker NJ, 7/29/14)

Rev. Vanessa Wilson of Pemberton"Scripture commands us not to take advantage of the poor or cheat them in court.” (Editorial, “Wrong role for SCLC,” Inquirer, 7/30/14)

Assemblyman Troy Singleton, D-7th of Palmyra: “For those men and women who are incarcerated for no other reason because they are poor, this is an opportunity to move forward.” (David Levinsky, “Christie calls for special legislative session to pass bail reform,” Burlington County Times, 7/29/14)

Brick Township Police Chief Nils Bergquist Jr.: "It's an incredibly noble intent, what they're trying to accomplish here.” (Michael Symons, “Christie wants quick action on bail reform,” Asbury Park Press, 7/29/14)

·         “A small percentage of the people arrested in this state end up languishing in jail unnecessarily because they don't have means. This would put everyone in jail for a period of time, regardless of their means. ... Focus on that small group — everyone who's still in jail after 48 hours, take a good close look at."

Asbury Park Press: “We applaud the governor’s action. Now is the time to get this done.” (Editorial, “Time to overhaul N.J.’s bail system,” Asbury Park Press, 7/29/14)

·         “If the legislature does run out of time, all it is doing keeping presumably innocent poor people in jail, where all they have is time. The reforms are not outrageous.”

·         “[T]he bill is a fine start and should be passed.”

·         “The costly unfair bail system is broken. Let the bill pass, giving the poor the same shot at justice as the well-heeled. Let’s give voters the right to decide…”

Star-Ledger: “This is too important an issue to abandon because of summer slump.” (Editorial, “Chris Christie comes to the rescue of N.J. bail reform,” Star-Ledger, 7/29/14)

·         “Now it's up to legislators to do the responsible thing and push this legislative package through - in the name of protecting both public safety and the poor.”

 The Record: “His decision to call for a special session of the Legislature on Thursday is a smart, decisive example of a governor using his executive power effectively.” (Editorial, “Bail reform,” The Record, 7/30/14)

·         “Reforming a bail system skewed to favor the middle and upper classes should be a high priority.”

·         “The governor, by calling a special session, has made this a high priority issue. And it is.”

Inquirer: “Any changes must keep intact defendants' rights to a speedy trial. But that goal is possible if legislators don't become distracted by the bail bondsmen's hired guns.” (Editorial, “Wrong role for SCLC,” Inquirer, 7/30/14)

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