New Jersey Lawmakers Work On Bail Reform

By David Madden

TRENTON, N.J. (CBS) — Bail reform in New Jersey could move along with expected action in the state senate next week — at least on one idea that could go before voters in the fall.

A proposed constitutional amendment would allow for some violent crime defendants to be denied bail. The state senate could vote on that idea Monday, according to Paulsboro Assemblyman John Burzichelli.

“Both houses are working closely together along with the Governor’s office,” Burzichelli says, “trying to come up with language for the constitutional question that’s acceptable to all parties.”

He’s also working on a bill that would ease the burden on some defendants charged with non-violent offenses who can’t afford even nominal bail.

“There are really two fronts here,” he says, “but they’re married because it involves incarceration, it involves trials and it involves public safety.”

Burzichelli suggests the two proposals are being tied together in the minds of many people. But he thinks there’s a 50-50 chance the voter referendum will make it to the fall ballot.

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