The New Jersey Supreme Court concluded with the following in relevant part: That a defendant who violates parole can benefit from excess service credits while a defendant who complies with parole cannot is an absurd result that the Legislature could not have had in mind. We must construe a statute, such as NERA, in a commonsense way “so that its reach does not exceed its constitutional limits.” See State v. Garron, 177 N.J. 147, 172 (2003).
The fundamental fairness doctrine is intended to provide a remedy for the inequitable and arbitrary decision-making that, in this case, has resulted in a year-and-seven-month loss of liberty for which the State will not give Njango credit toward his eight-year mandatory period of parole supervision. See Doe, 142 N.J. at 108. Here, notions of fundamental fairness compel us to conform NERA to our State Constitution in a way that the Legislature would likely have intended. See State v. Natale, 184 N.J. 458, 485 (2005).
Accordingly, we conclude that Njango’s eight-year period of parole supervision must be reduced by the excess time he served in prison. For the reasons expressed, we reverse the judgment of the Appellate Division. We remand to the New Jersey State Parole Board to calculate the excess time Njango served in prison and to credit that time toward the remaining period of his parole supervision. The Parole Board will conduct — consistent with this opinion — any proceedings that may be necessary. Justice Albin’s opinion was joined by: Chief Justice Rabner, Justice LaVecchia, Justice Patterson, Justice Fernandez-Vina, Justice Solomon, and Justice Pierre-Louis.
No Early Release Act (NERA) offenses like the one in this case carry significantly heavier sentences because they require 85% parole ineligibility in addition to parole supervision for three to five years upon release from prison. A violation of the subsequent term of parole supervision can lead to a defendant serving more than !00% of the potential sentence for the underlying offense.