ASSEMBLY CONCURRENT RESOLUTION No. 153

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

215th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED JUNE 14, 2012

 


 

Sponsored by:

Assemblywoman  DONNA M. SIMON

District 16 (Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex and Somerset)

Assemblyman  DAVID P. RIBLE

District 30 (Monmouth and Ocean)

Assemblywoman  BETTYLOU DECROCE

District 26 (Essex, Morris and Passaic)

Assemblyman  ROBERT SCHROEDER

District 39 (Bergen and Passaic)

Assemblyman  ANTHONY M. BUCCO

District 25 (Morris and Somerset)

 

Co-Sponsored by:

Assemblymen C.J.Brown, Rudder, Caputo, Chiusano, S.Connors, Assemblywomen Schepisi, McHose, Quijano, Assemblyman Rumpf, Assemblywoman Gove, Assemblyman Ciattarelli, Assemblywomen N.Munoz, Handlin, Angelini and Assemblyman Space

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Proposes constitutional amendment to provide that release on bail may be denied to certain offenders.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

  


A Concurrent Resolution proposing an amendment to Article I, paragraph 11 of the Constitution of the State of New Jersey.

 

     Be It Resolved by the Senate of the State of New Jersey (the General Assembly concurring):

 

     1.    The following proposed amendment to the Constitution of the State of New Jersey is agreed to:

 

PROPOSED AMENDMENT

 

     Amend Article I, paragraph 11 to read as follows:

     11.  No person shall, after acquittal, be tried for the same offense. All persons shall, before conviction, be bailable by sufficient sureties, except [for capital offenses when the proof is evident or presumption great] that pretrial release may be denied if the court finds that no amount of sureties, non-monetary conditions of pretrial release or combination of sureties and conditions would assure the defendant’s appearance as required, or protect the safety of any person or of the community, or would prevent the defendant from obstructing or attempting to obstruct the criminal justice process. It shall be lawful for the Legislature to establish by law procedures, terms and conditions applicable to pretrial release and the denial thereof authorized under this provision.

(cf: Article I, paragraph 11)

 

     2.    When this proposed amendment to the Constitution is finally agreed to pursuant to Article IX, paragraph 1 of the Constitution, it shall be submitted to the people at the next general election occurring more than three months after the final agreement and shall be published at least once in at least one newspaper of each county designated by the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the General Assembly and the Secretary of State, not less than three months prior to the general election.

 

     3.    This proposed amendment to the Constitution shall be submitted to the people at that election in the following manner and form:

     There shall be printed on each official ballot to be used at the general election, the following:

     a.  In every municipality in which voting machines are not used, a legend which shall immediately precede the question as follows:

     If you favor the proposition printed below make a cross (X), plus (+), or check (a) in the square opposite the word "Yes." If you are opposed thereto make a cross (X), plus (+) or check (a) in the square opposite the word "No."

     b.  In every municipality the following question:

 

 

 

CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT TO ALLOW A COURT UNDER CERTAIN CONDITIONS TO DENY BAIL TO A DEFENDANT CHARGED WITH A CRIME

 

 

YES

   Do you approve amending the Constitution to allow a court under certain conditions to deny bail to a defendant charged with a crime?

   This change allows a court to deny bail prior to trial. The court could deny bail only if necessary to protect the community’s safety or the safety of a specific person, or to prevent the defendant from obstructing or attempting to obstruct the criminal justice process.

   The court also could deny bail if there is no way to otherwise assure that the defendant will appear for trial.

 

 


 

 

 

INTERPRETIVE STATEMENT

 

 

NO

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   Currently, the Constitution provides that all persons are entitled to bail before conviction except persons charged with capital crimes which are punishable by death.  Since New Jersey no longer has a death penalty, all persons are entitled to bail.

   If approved, this constitutional amendment would allow a court under certain conditions to deny bail to a defendant charged with a crime.  This change permits a court to deny bail only if necessary to protect the community’s safety or the safety of a specific person, or to prevent the defendant from obstructing or attempting to obstruct the criminal justice process. The court also could deny bail if there is no way to otherwise assure that the defendant will appear for trial. 

   A “yes” vote would amend the Constitution to allow a court under certain conditions to deny bail to a defendant charged with a crime.  This change would make New Jersey’s bail system similar to the Federal government’s system of determining bail. 

   A “no” vote would leave the Constitution unchanged.  All defendants would still be entitled to bail before conviction.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This concurrent resolution proposes an amendment to the New Jersey Constitution that would enhance the safety of the public, the integrity of the criminal justice process, and reduce reliance on monetary bail, by modifying the constitutional right to bail

     Currently, under the Constitution, all persons are entitled to bail before conviction, except certain persons charged with capital crimes which are punishable by death.  Because New Jersey has eliminated the death penalty, all persons are entitled to bail.

     This amendment authorizes courts under certain conditions to deny pretrial release of certain offenders.  In order to deny pretrial release, the court would be required to find that no amount of bail, pretrial release conditions, or combination of bail and conditions would assure the defendant’s appearance for trial.  The court also could deny pretrial release to protect the safety of any person or the community, or to prevent the defendant from obstructing or attempting to obstruct the criminal justice process. The amendment further authorizes the Legislature to enact laws establishing procedures, terms, and conditions applicable to releasing defendants prior to trial and denial of pretrial release.