NJ voters to weigh-in on bail reform in November
Under current law in New Jersey, judges must set bail for every defendant even those that are known to be violent. Garden State residents will get the opportunity to change that in November.
At Gov. Chris Christie's urging, the full Assembly approved legislation Monday to place a question on the November ballot asking voters if they'd like to amend the constitution to allow judges to deny bail for dangerous defendants pending their trials. The full NJ Senate passed the measure last week.
"Violent criminals, they'll be held so they don't go out and commit another crime, homicide, things that are really violent," said Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo (D-Northfield), co-sponsor of the legislation. "This is long overdue. It just makes common sense to reform our bail system."
The constitutional amendment is about protecting our families and stopping violent criminals from roaming our streets as they await trial, according to Mazzeo.
"I say vote for it, because it's the right thing to do and it's a long time overdue," Mazzeo said.
Last week, the full Senate also approved a bill that would allow judges to set non-monetary alternatives for non-violent offenders. Monday, the Assembly followed suit and passed that measure too. Christie strongly supports both measures and even sent out an emailed statement, despite the fact that he is on vacation.
"This is what good, bipartisan public policy looks like, and I look forward to signing these reforms into law and working to ensure passage of the constitutional amendment this fall," Christie said in the statement.