Assemblyman Dave Rible / 732-974-1719
Assemblywoman Donna Simon / 908-968-3304
June 7, 2012
Assembly Republicans Donna Simon and Dave Rible introduced legislation today that will protect the public from dangerous defendants who are arrested and awaiting trial.
Currently, all defendants charged under state law have the right to be released on bail, except those charged with a capital crime “when the proof is evident or the presumption great.” Judges are not permitted to consider the danger posed to society.
“It is imperative that public safety be a high priority when a judge determines whether to grant bail,” said Simon, R-Hunterdon, Somerset, Mercer and Middlesex. “Federal law takes into account the dangers and risks posed by someone charged with a serious crime. New Jersey courts must have the same ability to protect the public.
“Judges must be allowed to keep dangerous individuals off the street and protect our communities, until their guilt or innocence is determined,” continued Simon. “Defendants have a right to due process and society is entitled to be protected from those who are considered a threat to their right to live in peace and without fear. This legislation will give judges the legal framework to deny bail if it puts that right at risk.”
Simon and Rible’s legislation, ACR-153, mirrors federal law.
“Empowering judges to deny bail to a defendant with a violent history affirms that New Jersey is serious about protecting its citizens and communities,” said Rible, who is the Assembly Republican Conference Leader and retired police officer. “Like federal law, there must be a balance between a defendant’s rights and keeping our neighborhoods safe. Judges must have the appropriate standards to determine this issue. Protecting victims and witnesses from intimidation by the offender is vitally important. No one wants to hear stories of a crime committed by someone with a dangerous past while they were free on bail awaiting trial.”