NJ Bail Reform – “The Players Club” – Part 1
Chief Justice Stuart Rabner…
A strong supporter, Judge Rabner has been promoting Criminal Justice Reform for years. We’re not exactly sure when the Judiciary decided it was ok to dabble in the legislative process but Judge Rabner often sounds more like a lobbyist than he does a Judge.
From an article posted 1/9/17 in the Star Ledger, Judge Rabner wrote…
“As recently as 2012, a study of New Jersey’s county jail population revealed that 1 in 8 inmates were in jail because they couldn’t make bail of $2,500 or less. They didn’t pose a risk of danger or flight but sat in jail because they didn’t have enough money to post even a modest amount of bail. Meanwhile, defendants who posed serious risks to public safety could be released if they had access to money.”
This is COMPLETELY FALSE. The “study” Judge Rabner is referencing is a study done by The Drug Policy Alliance that was completely biased and made false assumptions. Find the study here…New Jersey Jail Population Analysis
The $2,500 bail he is referring to is actually a $25,000 bail. The 12% they claim could not “make bail” was 1,547 offenders. Did they interview all 1,547 to ask them why they couldnt “make bail?” In fact, only 676 were held in New Jersey with a bail of $5,000 or less.
What the study did not take into consideration (unless they interviewed all 1,547 people they refer to as the 12% held) were…
- Defendants that WANTED to stay in jail to earn day credits towards a pending sentence.
- Defendants that had serious issues (drug addiction, etc) that played a role in a family decision NOT to bail him/her out.
- Defendants that were a risk of flight with multiple convictions and/or failure to appears where the family made the decision not to post bail…often times for good reason.
Terell Jones is a perfect example of how having a family involved in the posting of commercial bail may actually save lives…South Plainfield, NJ – Man Dead of Overdose after being Released TWICE under NJ Bail Reform
It is rarely, if ever, a question of money. It is, however, a question of accountability. Let’s not forget that the Judges have ALWAYS had the power to release someone on their own recognizance…this is nothing new. They simply chose NOT to.
The reality is…the study supported their agenda, so they ran with it.
The irony is…the Criminal Justice Reform Act did NOTHING for these defendants they claimed it would help! RIGHT NOW, hundreds of defendants are STILL locked up on Traffic Warrants, Time Payments, and Municipal Warrants…most with bails of…you guessed it…$2,500 or less.
Meanwhile, those with charges of Possession of Handguns, Sexual Assault, Aggravated Assault on Police, Endangering a Child…they get released with a “Pinky Promise” and a bus pass.
These small municipal bails will not go away though…why you ask? Because these warrants represent MAJOR income revenue for the 565 municipalities in New Jersey.
Follow the Money
Who do you think appoints the Judges in municipal courts? The Mayor does along with the support of the city counsel or governing body of that court. Do you think that perhaps the revenue generated by the municipal court judge in fines and fees (which many cannot pay) has anything to do with who they appoint…and how long they can keep that appointment? OF COURSE IT DOES.