Assembly Republican Rob Clifton, R-Monmouth, Burlington, Middlesex and Ocean, said he believes it is appropriate for legislation approved by an Assembly committee last June that would allow voters to decide if judges should have the authority to deny bail to defendants deemed dangerous while awaiting trial, to be considered as part of Thursday’s Assembly voting session.
The legislation, ACR-153, was unanimously released by the Assembly Judiciary Committee, but has yet to receive consideration by the General Assembly. Under the resolution, a court must find that no amount of bail, pretrial release conditions, or combination of bail and pretrial release conditions would assure the defendant’s appearance as required or to protect the public safety.
“Protecting the general public from dangerous criminals, especially the victims of their crime, witnesses who saw the alleged act and our families is something our state needs to address, just like many across the country already have,” said Clifton. “When approved by voters, this amendment would give a judge the authority to deny bail after weighing important factors that would affect the public’s well-being if the accused were released.
“There are numerous accounts of criminals who were released on bail and were subsequently arrested for crimes such as murder, robbery and the illegal purchase of drugs,” said Clifton. “These are not contrived examples, but ones that could have been prevented if the alleged perpetrators were not free on bail. Legislators are responsible to protect the public. Reforming aspects of the current bail system is entirely in order.”
Sponsors of ACR-153 include Clifton’s fellow Republicans Donna Simon, Dave Rible, BettyLou DeCroce, Scott Rudder, Chris J. Brown, Holly Schepisi, Alison McHose, and Assembly Democrats Ralph Caputo, Sean Connors and Annette Quijano.