Criminal Justice

Activists troubled that N.J. cities sought DEA surveillance of 2020 protests

BY: - October 22, 2021

Activists are concerned about reports showing three New Jersey law enforcement agencies requested the federal government provide surveillance operations during Black Lives Matter protests last summer. The Asbury Park Police Department, Newark Police Department and Essex County Sheriff’s Office all reached out to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in hopes of collecting intelligence on “radical […]

Judge reprimanded for making sexual comments to woman defendant

BY: - October 20, 2021

A former judge who alluded to sexual acts while speaking to a woman defendant has been publicly reprimanded by the state’s highest court. Hector L. Rodriguez, a former Franklin Township judge, violated three tenets of state judicial ethics rules during a Dec. 5, 2017 hearing involving an unnamed woman who was charged with multiple drug offenses, […]

Community investment would protect public more than over-policing, report says

BY: - October 14, 2021

New Jersey communities spend far more on policing than on health and human services, an imbalance that has increased rates of police use of force and incarceration while widening racial disparities in the criminal justice system, according to a new report by New Jersey Policy Perspective (NJPP), a progressive think tank. Community-based crisis-response and prevention strategies […]

Activists demand lawmakers act to curb police brutality on ‘Long March for Justice’

BY: - October 13, 2021

Cecille Hepburn marched for her grandson, Kashad Ashford, who police gunned down in 2014 after a car chase. Steven Young marched for change, a year after he quit Atlantic City’s civilian review board, which is tasked with police oversight, in protest over its powerlessness. And Larry Hamm marched because marching is what Larry Hamm does. An […]

Report: N.J. Parole Board too often refuses to release inmates, needs oversight

BY: - October 8, 2021

The New Jersey State Parole Board routinely refuses to release parole-eligible inmates from prison, leaving many people languishing behind bars far longer than sentencing judges intended, the New Jersey Office of the Public Defender says in a recent report calling for more oversight. The 1979 Parole Act requires inmates to be paroled as soon as they’re […]

Acting A.G. takes aim at law criminalizing sexual activity by people with HIV

BY: - October 7, 2021

Acting New Jersey Attorney General Andrew J. Bruck told county prosecutors Wednesday they should exercise caution before using a decades-old state law that criminalizes certain sexual activity by people living with HIV. The 1997 law makes it a third-degree crime for someone living with HIV to engage in an “act of sexual penetration” without the informed […]

N.J.’s last publicly run ICE facility will no longer hold migrant detainees

BY: - October 6, 2021

After years of hunger strikes and fiery protests, Bergen County’s controversial, indefinite contract with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to hold undocumented immigrants at its jail has come to an end. Bergen County Commissioners approved the move at their Wednesday meeting, giving federal authorities 45 days to transfer the 23 remaining detainees — 22 men […]

ACLU fights restraining order Hudson County officials filed against anti-ICE protestors

BY: - October 5, 2021

The temporary restraining order a Hudson County official filed against a group of anti-ICE activists who protested outside his Jersey City home violates the constitutional rights of protestors, the American Civil Liberties Union’s New Jersey chapter said in a brief filed Friday. The ACLU-NJ argues the restraining order should be dissolved because it limits the […]

Judge faces removal for her conduct in dispute with daughter’s school

BY: - October 1, 2021

A New Jersey Superior Court judge in Union County inched closer to being booted off the bench, with the state Supreme Court on Thursday ordering her to answer why she shouldn’t be removed or disciplined for getting into a protracted dispute with her daughter’s school. The Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct in May 2018 found Judge […]

N.J.’s top court strengthens consent standard in sex assault cases

BY: - September 28, 2021

For years, sexual assault victims typically were treated like criminal defendants, forced to prove their innocence, until the Me Too movement in 2017 sparked systemic reforms and conversations about consent. Still, in a 2018 sexual assault case, a New Jersey appellate court used a legal standard that applies to criminal defendants to decide that a […]

Forming a new group, N.J.’s immigrant advocates fight for release of migrant detainees

BY: - September 27, 2021

A Bergen County detainee who was woken up in the middle of the night to be flown to Arizona.  A Haitian migrant who was transferred from detention center to detention center seven times over four years. An Essex County resident who was detained while his wife was pregnant, and didn’t meet his child for two […]

Skyrocketing rates of anti-Asian hate show no signs of slowing

BY: - September 24, 2021

Ritu Chandra is a stand-up comedian, so deft at delivering a punchline that she was on stage almost every weekend before the pandemic. So she’s comfortable being the center of attention. But the unwelcome attention of a stranger in her local park one recent summer morning has left her with lingering nightmares — and a […]