Bail Reform: State’s Advantages

by | Feb 13, 2017 | Blog, Criminal Law, Law Reform and Amendments

Fred Sisto Brick Lawyer“Until now, prosecutors have been precluded from seeking initial preventive detention under Article I, paragraph 11 of the New Jersey Constitution, which was interpreted to establish a “right to bail” in non-capital cases. However, courts in this State always had the authority to revoke a defendant’s release status if the defendant had been released on bail or non-monetary conditions and violated those conditions, thus forfeiting the state constitutional right to pretrial release by his or her wrongdoing. See Steele, supra, 430 NJ. Super. at 41 (recognizing that violation of a non-monetary condition of bail designed to protect the community may trigger revocation, referring to the court’s “inherent power to confine the defendant”). The Bail Reform Law, moreover , expressly recognizes in this regard that “nothing [in the Act] would be construed to affect the court’s existing authority to revoke pretrial release prior to the effective date of those sections [that depend on the effective date of the amendment to Article I, paragraph 11 to authorize the denial of pretrial release].” Statement to s.’ 946, Second Reprint. 216th Leg. (June 31, 2014) (emphasis added). In any case where there is probable cause to believe that a defendant has committed a crime subject to the No Early Release Act, N .J.S.A. 2C:43-7.2, while on release for any first- or second­ degree crime charged by complaint-warrant, the prosecutor shall file a motion seeking revocation of release pursuant to N.J.S .A. 2A: 162-24 unless the County Prosecutor or First Assistant Prosecutor, or the Director or a Deputy Director of the Division of Criminal Justice in cases prosecuted by the Division, finds that there are compelling and extraordinary reasons not to seek revocation of release.”

Thus, the state seeks to enjoy all of the benefits that it once enjoyed before the Bail Reform Law, along with the new benefits of the law, despite the alleged give and take that went into the drafting and passage of the new law.