SENATE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION No. 128

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

216th LEGISLATURE

INTRODUCED JULY 10, 2014

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator† DONALD NORCROSS

District 5 (Camden and Gloucester)

Assemblyman† VINCENT MAZZEO

District 2 (Atlantic)

Assemblyman† TIMOTHY J. EUSTACE

District 38 (Bergen and Passaic)

Assemblyman† BOB ANDRZEJCZAK

District 1 (Atlantic, Cape May and Cumberland)

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† ANTHONY M. BUCCO

District 25 (Morris and Somerset)

 

Co-Sponsored by:

Senator Beck and Assemblyman O'Scanlon

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

†††† Proposes constitutional amendment to authorize, under certain circumstances, pretrial detention of persons in criminal cases.

 

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] eligible for pretrial release.† Pretrial release may be denied to a person if the court finds that no amount of monetary bail, non-monetary conditions of pretrial release, or combination of monetary bail and non-monetary conditions would reasonably assure the personís appearance in court when required, or protect the safety of any other person or the community, or prevent the person 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: Art. I, par. 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 TO ORDER PRETRIAL DETENTION OF A PERSON IN A CRIMINAL CASE

 

 

YES

†††† Do you approve amending the Constitution to allow a court to order pretrial detention of a person in a criminal case?† This would change the current constitutional right to bail.

†††† The change to the Constitution would mean that a court could order that a person remain in jail prior to trial, even without a chance for the person to post bail, in some situations.

†† ††The amendment also removes language in the Constitution about bail eligibility for death penalty cases.† The death penalty no longer exists in New Jersey.


 

 

 

INTERPRETIVE STATEMENT

 

NO

†††† The Constitution currently requires a court to grant bail to a jailed person in a criminal case before trial.† If the person posts bail, the person is released from jail pending trial.

†††† The amendment would give a court the option of ordering a person to remain in jail in some situations.† The court could order such detention based upon concerns that the person, if released: will not return to court; is a threat to the safety of another person or the community; or will obstruct or attempt to obstruct the criminal justice process.†

†††† The amendment authorizes the Legislature to pass laws concerning pretrial release and pretrial detention.† The amendment would take effect on January 1, 2017 to allow any new laws to be enacted and their requirements to be established.

†††† The amendment would also remove language in the Constitution about bail eligibility for death penalty cases.† The death penalty no longer exists in New Jersey.

 

†††† SCHEDULE

 

†††† This Constitutional amendment, if approved, shall take effect on January 1, 2017.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

†††† This concurrent resolution proposes an amendment to the New Jersey Constitution that would authorize a court, under certain circumstances, to order the pretrial detention of a person in a criminal case.† This would be authorized by changing the current constitutional right to bail.

†††† At present, the Constitution provides that all persons are entitled to bail (with an exception concerning death penalty cases), which, if posted, grants a release from jail pending trial.† The amendment would change this right, so that a court could deny a personís release from jail even without a chance for that person to post bail.

†††† While eliminating the upfront right to bail, the proposed amendment would still make all persons eligible for pretrial release from jail (which could be by bail or other means).† However, this release could be denied by the court based upon concerns that a jailed person, if released: would not return to court when required; would be a threat to the safety of another person or the community; or would obstruct or attempt to obstruct the criminal justice process.†

†††† The amendment authorizes the Legislature to pass laws concerning pretrial release and pretrial detention.† In order to permit the Legislature time to properly establish appropriate procedures, terms, and conditions related to these matters, and their requirements to be implemented by the other branches of government, the amendment would not take effect until January 1, 2017.

†††† The amendment would also remove language in the Constitution about bail eligibility for death penalty cases that is unnecessary; the death penalty no longer exists in New Jersey.