Murphy’s new guidelines are a joke since he broke his own rule (Opinion)
OK, by now you know the story. Gov. Phi; Murphy had to pander to black voters by protesting in two Black Lives Matter protests. Then, he was called out publicly by both constituents and other politicians, since other people protesting the state lockdown, were given summonses for violating Murphy's COVID-19 executive orders restricting gatherings.
So there was only one way out of this little problem. Make protesting okay for everyone and hope that no one notices that you did it retroactively just to try to save face ... not to mention your gubernatorial behind.
But now, what to do about all those pesky court orders and summonses that other people got? Well here is the solution to that little oopsie. Today, the attorney general released the very important and official-sounding mea culpa: “Guidance on Municipal Court Prosecutions of COVID-19 Related Offenses.”
The “proclamation” very poignantly begins, “While the vast majority of New Jersey residents followed the Governor’s Executive Orders and helped us to slow the spread of COVID-19 and save lives, and continue to do so, some did not.”
(Yeah, like the governor, when he was crammed in shoulder to shoulder with the only protesters who had 100% immunity at that point). In the interest of not boring any of you to tears, I’ll try to explain the rest of the “guidelines.”
The very convoluted message just basically gives judges and prosecutors huge latitude in punishing people who broke COVID-19 guidelines to protest. This is, of course, a backpedal to justify what the governor did. Whereas before, those who protested at the State House because their livelihoods were being threatened were treated like common criminals, now, Grewal, no doubt at the behest of the governor, wants prosecutors to be more lenient. He wants them to “understand that (this new set of guidelines) provides a significant number of options for the exercise of prosecutorial discretion in individual cases to achieve the interests of justice.”
AKA, a quick CYA. (cover your arse) for Protester Murphy.
In these guidelines, he also wants those in charge to chill out on people who received worship citations. This is obviously because when the governor got caught with his pants down at the protest many, many people had already been in big trouble for holding religious services outdoors.
I suppose for many New Jerseyans this will be enough to quiet any criticism of the governor. But to me, making something legal after the fact doesn’t erase the fact that you broke the rules the day before.
The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Judi Franco. Any opinions expressed are Judi's own.
More from New Jersey 101.5: