Bail Reform Act
On January 1, 2017, the New Jersey Criminal Justice reform act became effective. The new law is a sea change for many aspects of the criminal justice system in New Jersey. The new law covers areas such as speedy trial and pretrial detention. Now New Jersey, like the federal system, is not a bail based formual based on the seriousness of the alleged crime. Now a suspect is released, or detained, until the matter is resolved through a plea or trial, based on certain criteria set down by the act. The purpose of the act is now focused on public safety and whether the suspect/defendant is a danger to society. Also, for most alleged suspects arrested there is no need to post bail since most offenders will be released unless the Prosecutor requests a detention hearing. Under the new law the court will decide whether to release the defendant at his or her first appearence which must be held 48-hours after arrest. Unless the the Prosecutor files a motion for detention, the suspect will be released or detained based on the recommendations of pretrial services. If a detention hearing is requested by the prosecutor, said detention hearing must be held within 72 hours. Attorney Sanzone has represented numerous defendants in detention heaarings. It is essential that your New Jersey Criminal Defense attorney be knowledeable of the new law, and familiar with the new bail reform act. If the defendant is in this country illegal, or a registered alien, with a prior deportable conviction this might cause additional problems. In some cases the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), will place an immigration detainer on the defendant. This means that even if the defendant is released by the judge on the charge, he or she will not be released because DHS has a hold on the defendant.
Speedy Trial Reform
Until the Justice Reform Act was signed, the State of New Jersey was one of only a few states did not have statutory speedy trial. Therefore, many defendants languished in jail for many years until there case came to trial or the defendant took a plea offer. However, under the new law the prosecutor has a time table in which it must indict the defendant and bring him or her to trial. Under the new law a defendant must be indicted within 90 days of arrest. After indictment the prosecutor has 90 days to bring the defendant to trial. Even if the judge grants additinal time, in no case can the prosecutor request more than 2-years of delay after a detention order is signed. Of course, the law provides that all of these time limites are stayed if the delay is attributed to the defendant, such as change of attorney, etc.If the defendant is in this country illegal, or a registered alien with a prior deportable conviction, the defendant is usually not entitled to a immigration bail detention hearing pursuant to 8 U.S.C. § 1226(c), However, in the recent case Aguasvivas v. Elwood, one federal district court judge in New Jersey held that if the defendant had a prior conviction and was released than DHS must give that defendant a federal immigration detention bail hearing, pursuant to §1226(a). In that case the judge held that after the defendant was released the DHS should have taken him into custody for deportation proceedings. In other words, pursuant to federal immigration law, once a defendant is convicted of a deportable offense, and released from prison, DHS must take him or her into custody, after he or she is released, or within a resonable time after release. In that case DHS waited 9-years