NJ Legislators Scramble to Protect State from Dangerous Consequences of Bail Reform

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JACKSON-When New Jersey voters approved a constitutional amendment that would give judges the ability to hold violent criminals behind bars until their trials without bail, nobody would have imagined the end result of that vote would lead to more violent criminals and sexual offenders released from jail before their trials.

Not even those Trenton politicians who supported and voted to keep New Jersey’s bail reform and speedy trial act alive and well were prepared for what came next.

Sexual offenders, domestic violence suspects, drug dealers and more are being released without bail just hours after police arrest them.  They’re being released by judges against all logical advice from arresting agencies and prosecutors to keep these offenders behind bars.

One of those Trenton politicians who recently supported a $9.3 million refueling bill to further fund the flawed bail reform act was Assemblyman Ron Dancer, who represents Jackson Township here in Ocean County.

Dancer recently proposed a bill that is aimed at curbing the flow child sex offenders being set free by judges around the state, an unfortunate byproduct of the bail reform act he voted to expand funding for just weeks prior.

“Suspects of sex crimes against children will be kept in jail while waiting for trial under a bill introduced by Assemblyman Ron Dancer. The bill (A4637) amends the new bail reform law, allowing courts to order the pretrial release of some defendants,” Dancer said. “The decision to hold a suspect should be based on the danger to the public and the possibility that more children may be victimized,In the case of sexual attacks on children, it is imperative that we exercise extreme caution. For the sake of potential victims, it makes sense to keep attackers off the streets until the case is decided by the courts.

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If approved, Dancer’s measure increases the likelihood a charged suspect would remain held by authorities, and creates an option under the bail reform law for prosecutors to argue for pretrial detention.  Keywords here are “likelihood”, “could” and “argue”.  In the end, the same judges letting out sex offenders today, would be the same ones looking at a computerized score, letting them out tomorrow.

Sexual offenders aren’t the only ones being sent back into the communities they prey upon.  This week, in Manchester Township, a drug dealer caught with over $1 million in heroin was set free hours after he was arrested in a multijurisdictional law enforcement operation.

While criminals across New Jersey are being released by judges under New Jersey’s new bail reform and speedy trial process, the very legislators who facilitated the new system are now scrambling.

They’re scrambling to save face and plug up the holes before a violent criminal, sexual offender, rapist or drug dealer in their own voting district makes headlines prior to this November’s election.

Want to contact your local shore legislators to tell them how you feel about bail reform?  Click here for a full list.




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