Until now, the New Jersey Second Amendment Society has not taken a position on the state’s new bail reform system. Though, after reviewing changes proposed by some of New Jersey’s worst anti-gun legislators, it’s clear our organization and other concerned civil liberty advocates must mobilize.
Freedom itself is at stake, literally.
On January 1, 2017, voter-approved bail reform changes took effect across New Jersey. The reforms, according to the New Jersey Attorney General (AG), replaced the monetary bail system with a risk-based approach, requiring courts to assess the likelihood that a defendant will flee, commit new criminal activity, or obstruct justice by intimidating victims and other witnesses.
Yesterday, the AG issued a new directive regarding bail reform that "establishes a presumption that police and prosecutors will apply for pretrial detention for any defendant who commits a Graves Act firearms offense." Last month, Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop, Hudson County Prosecutor Esther Suarez, and other politicians that have done nothing to stop real criminals, were using the new bail system as a tool to defend their own incompetence.
These officials claim they're focused on keeping dangerous people off the street. In reality they're pushing “reforms” that will keep folks like Shaneen Allen, Brian Aitken and Meg Fellenbaum in jail with no chance of release.
Under the legislation proposed by Hudson state Senators Sandra Cunningham (D-31) and Brian Stack (D-33), there will be a “rebuttable presumption” that a person charged with a Graves Act offense be detained prior to trial. The Graves Act was passed in 2009 and makes all firearms related offenses a felony with a mandatory minimum. Regardless of criminal intent. That's why any mistake with a gun in NJ leads to 5-7 years in state prison.
Simply put, even though prosecutors already have the power to keep dangerous criminals locked up without bail, the proposed changes would treat an upstanding citizen with paperwork violations as if they committed murder.
Even the liberal, anti-second amendment Star Ledger conceded that:
“Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop's makes no sense. He points to the murder of DaJour Riley, who was arrested with an illegal gun and then released under this reform. Riley didn't hurt anybody while he was out. He was shot to death by someone else. How is this the fault of bail reform? Are we supposed to hold people behind bars just to keep them safe?”
Human error is possible, with or without this reform. In another case, a man with two felony priors reportedly had his hand on a loaded gun when the cops stopped him in Kearny. He was released pretrial, when he likely should have been detained. But for some reason, the prosecutor in that case never asked the judge for detention. That's on [Suarez], not bail reform.”
Even if the New Jersey Second Amendment Society doesn’t know the true motives of such broadly-worded legislation, we do recognize the consequences. Decent people will be locked in jail, with little chance of media exposure, as prosecutors pressure them into plea deals that will result in lengthy prison sentences.
We cannot continue to surrender our rights and freedom to the incompetence of Jersey City and Hudson County Democrats. When their proposed “reforms” are enacted, it will be non-violent, law-abiding citizens locked in jail with no chance of release - not the real criminals.
Please call your legislators today and tell them that there must be criminal intent or a history of crime for someone to be held without bail!
Please join NJ2AS today to make a difference in this state. Reminder that everyone that joins NJ2AS or becomes an NJ2AS Frontline Donor in the month of May will automatically be entered into our May Giveaway for a chance to win a free Handgun Training Course from GST Firearms Training. Join now and make a difference in this state and also get a chance to win a free training course!