Criminal Justice

Bill would OK civil forfeiture funds for minority recruitment, training

BY: - March 14, 2022

A bill now before the New Jersey Legislature would allow law enforcement agencies to spend civil forfeiture funds on diversity training for officers, minority recruitment, and community outreach. The legislation has raised eyebrows among criminal justice reformers, who have long lambasted civil forfeiture as a problematic police practice that disproportionately impacts low-income communities of color. “These are […]

Disgraced ex-Paterson mayor charged anew after making forbidden bid for office

BY: - March 11, 2022

Former Paterson Mayor Jose “Joey” Torres was charged Friday with criminal contempt for launching a new mayoral campaign despite a 2017 criminal conviction that barred him from seeking public office again. Acting Attorney General Matt Platkin announced the fourth-degree charge against Torres, 63, who said last month he would challenge Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh in this […]

Another 852 inmates to get early pandemic release Sunday

BY: - March 10, 2022

The state will release another 852 inmates Sunday as part of a pandemic-era program to limit the spread of COVID-19 behind bars, the Department of Corrections announced Thursday, bringing the total number of people released under the program to more than 6,000. The releases are allowed under a law Gov. Phil Murphy signed in 2020. […]

Murphy budget proposal boosts criminal justice spending

BY: - March 9, 2022

New Jersey’s correctional officers would get fatter paychecks, prisoner re-entry programs would get millions more in funding, and corrections oversight would be beefed up under the $48.9 billion budget proposal Gov. Phil Murphy announced Tuesday. The plan, which Murphy detailed during an hourlong address in the Statehouse in Trenton, hints at the governor’s criminal justice priorities […]

N.J. comptroller’s office to examine police accountability statewide

BY: - March 7, 2022

The Office of the State Comptroller is launching a new project aimed at ferreting out fraud, misconduct, waste, and abuse in law enforcement agencies statewide. The goal is to uncover systemic problems that can cost taxpayers a bundle when people sue police departments for civil rights violations or other wrongdoing. Researchers also will identify inefficiencies […]

Vaccination rate for prison workers jumps to 51% as Murphy postpones mandate deadline

BY: - March 2, 2022

Vaccination rates among state corrections workers jumped nearly eight percentage points since a vaccine mandate for prisons and other congregate settings went into effect last month, but nearly half have yet to complete their vaccine regimen. This comes as Gov. Phil Murphy has delayed the deadline for corrections officials and workers in other non-health care […]

A.G. mulls statewide policy on facial recognition technology

BY: - February 25, 2022

Supporters of facial recognition technology say it can help law enforcement identify elusive criminals and find missing people. Critics counter it’s a privacy invasion that contributes to racist policing. The New Jersey Attorney General’s Office now wants the public to weigh in. The agency has opened an online portal to collect public input officials say […]

Cannabis panel paves way for THC concentrate sales

BY: - February 25, 2022

No date has been set for the long-awaited launch of New Jersey’s recreational cannabis industry, but cannabis officials are already moving for dispensaries to sell a wider array of THC products.  During the Cannabis Regulatory Commission’s meeting Thursday, officials unanimously voted to pass a waiver for medical marijuana providers to produce and sell cannabis concentrates.  […]

Turnpike Authority approves $250K payout in privacy suit against ex-trooper

BY: - February 23, 2022

The New Jersey Turnpike Authority agreed Tuesday to pay $250,000 to a woman who sued the state after a now-fired state trooper secretly stole a sexually explicit video off her phone during a car stop. The New Orleans woman was in New Jersey to visit her mother in July 2016 when Marquice Prather pulled her over […]

Disparities in police discipline drive calls for more transparency

BY: - February 21, 2022

A police officer can take someone’s life in New Jersey and receive no punishment. But if he takes a nap on the job? For Passaic County Sheriff’s Officer Angel Lopez, on-duty snoozing snagged him a five-month suspension. A cop who uses excessive force can get away with little or no discipline. But those guilty of […]

Scrutiny of Bridgewater mall fight leads to A.G. warning on racial profiling

BY: - February 18, 2022

In response to the outcry surrounding the actions of police officers who handcuffed a Black teen at the Bridgewater mall, acting Attorney General Matt Platkin reminded law enforcement in a letter Friday of a directive banning “racially influenced policy.” Platkin, who assumed the role of the state’s chief law enforcement officer on Monday, notes in the letter […]

Nearly 400 New Jersey cops faced major discipline last year

BY: , and - February 17, 2022

Burlington County Correctional Sgt. Matthew Peer channeled his inner Hulk Hogan when he leaped off a metal table onto inmates to break up a jail fight. Newark Police Officer Tigee Pagan let a civilian drive his police car “in an unsafe manner” and posted a video of the illicit joy ride to Instagram. Jersey City […]