“Bail reform, it’s lit!” Charles Barry said as he was being transferred by police to Manhattan Central Booking. “It’s the Democrats! The Democrats know me and the Republicans fear me. You can’t touch me! I can’t be stopped!”
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has defended the law, calling it an “ongoing process.”
“We need to respond to the facts but not the politics, we need to act on information and not hyperbole,” he said in January.
The New Jersey Criminal Justice Reform Act took effect in 2017 and essentially overhauled the state’s bail system by eliminating cash bail.
A 2019 report from the state’s Administrative Office of the Courts concluded that those released under the new law were no more likely to commit a crime while awaiting trial than those released under the prior system.
Meanwhile, the state’s jail population has decreased while defendants continue to make their court appearances.
“Concerns about a possible spike in crime and failures to appear did not materialize,” the report says, according to NorthJersey.com.
The state’s landmark voter referendum to end cash bail has been put on hold after the bail industry successfully launched a referendum drive to let voters decide the issue again in November, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Former Gov. Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 10 in 2018 to end cash bail for most suspects accused of nonviolent felonies, which was slated to go into effect last year. The bill would give judges greater power to decide who should remain in jail until trial and would eliminate cash bail.
The bail industry argues the legislation would release violent criminals onto the streets.
Alaska joined the national trend of enacting bail reform in 2018, only for it to be rolled back months later by Republican Gov. Michael Dunleavy.
Senate Bill 91 gave the state the ability to create a tool to assess a criminal suspect’s risk of whether or not they will show up to court or will commit a crime while out on bail.
In July 2019, Dunleavy signed into law House Bill 49, which effectively repealed the Senate legislation.