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New Legislation Aims to Protect Public from Dangerous Defendants

Right now in New Jersey, all defendants charged under state law have the right to be released on bail, except those charged with a capital crime ‘when the proof is evident or the presumption great.’  Judges are not allowed to consider the danger posed to society. Assembly members Donna Simon and Dave Rible have introduced new legislation that they hope will protect the public from dangerous defendants who are arrested and awaiting trial by allowing judges to deny them bail.

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Simon explains, “It is imperative that public safety be a high priority when a judge determines whether to grant bail. Federal law takes into account the dangers and risks posed by someone charged with a serious crime. New Jersey courts must have the same ability to protect the public.”

According to Simon judges must be allowed to keep dangerous people off the street and protect communities until their found guilty or innocent by a jury of their peers. She says, “Defendants have a right to due process and society is entitled to be protected from those who are considered a threat to their right to live in peace and without fear. This legislation will give judges the legal framework to deny bail if it puts that right at risk.”

Rible is the Assembly Republican Conference Leader and retired police officer. He says, “Empowering judges to deny bail to a defendant with a violent history affirms that New Jersey is serious about protecting its citizens and communities.  Judges must have the appropriate standards to determine this issue. Protecting victims and witnesses from intimidation by the offender is vitally important. No one wants to hear stories of a crime committed by someone with a dangerous past while they were free on bail awaiting trial.”

The legislation is a result of a proposal put forth earlier this year by Governor Chris Christie.

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