Criminal Justice

Judges can’t ignore jury verdicts in deciding sentencing, N.J.’s top court rules

BY: - September 23, 2021

Judges cannot consider conduct defendants are acquitted of in deciding how to sentence them when they are found guilty of lesser offenses, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled in a unanimous decision issued Thursday. The ruling came in the consolidated appeal of two defendants who were tried in unrelated cases that left three people dead […]

Business owner can get names, addresses of dog owners, N.J. top court rules

BY: - September 20, 2021

In a win for advocates of governmental transparency, the New Jersey Supreme Court on Monday sided with a dog-fence vendor who fought for the names and addresses of Jersey City dog owners, declaring such information is public record regardless of who asks and why. Justice Faustino J. Fernandez-Vina rejected Jersey City’s argument that businesses shouldn’t […]

Court slaps N.J. judge with 30-day suspension for ‘misogynistic’ comments

BY: - September 17, 2021

A New Jersey municipal judge has been suspended without pay for 30 days for commiserating with a domestic violence suspect in 2019 about getting “frustrated with the women human beings” and advising the suspect to “let them know you’re the man, and you’re in control.” In an order filed Thursday, the New Jersey Supreme Court […]

Hudson County seeks to sever ICE contract after years of protests

BY: - September 10, 2021

Hudson County officials are planning to exit their 10-year contract with U.S. Immigration Customs and Enforcement to hold immigrant detainees at the county jail, a change that comes after years of protests by immigrant advocates. The move would make Bergen County the only publicly run jail in New Jersey that houses ICE detainees, following Essex […]

Case of Jersey City cop highlights lack of police transparency

BY: - September 9, 2021

It was a fight that started stupidly enough, as fights at boozy bashes tend to do. The party’s host got mad at a guest packing leftovers into a cooler to take home. The host threw tomatoes at him — and then went and grabbed a shotgun. “Today is your day!” he shouted at a few […]

State watchdog scolds Newark for $5.4M ‘illegal’ ice rink upgrade

BY: - September 1, 2021

The Office of the State Comptroller accused the city of Newark Wednesday of illegally awarding a no-bid, $5.4 million contract to a private, New Jersey Devils-related firm to renovate a public ice rink, with investigators saying this was the third time since 2008 the city broke state laws intended to protect taxpayer dollars and avoid […]

N.J. prisons get so-so grade on pandemic response — but still the best in the U.S.

BY: - September 1, 2021

A civil rights group that graded prisons nationwide on how they handled the COVID-19 pandemic gave New Jersey a ‘C’ — and blasted the response of correctional facilities around the country as “a shameful failure.” New Jersey’s mediocre grade was the best in a bad showing by all states, which are “failing on even the […]

Reformers eye N.J.’s top court in push for shorter prison terms for juvenile offenders

BY: - August 31, 2021

When Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver recently signed a new law intended to divert juvenile lawbreakers away from prison, a long line of legislators gave speeches to declare there are no disposable children in New Jersey and kids who make mistakes deserve a second chance. But reformers say that’s not true in New Jersey for juveniles […]

Criminal charges for Passaic surrogate over estate dispute involving friend

BY: - August 27, 2021

This story was updated with comment from an attorney for Toledo at 4:03 p.m. on Aug. 27. State authorities lodged a criminal charge against Passaic County Surrogate Bernice Toledo claiming she falsified a judgement during an estate dispute to benefit a personal friend. Toledo, 51, a Democrat, faces a single count of fourth-degree falsifying or […]

Groups demand protections for transgender inmates in county jails

BY: - August 27, 2021

The American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey and Garden State Equality on Thursday urged officials running jails in New Jersey’s 21 counties to house inmates by their gender identity, not the gender they were assigned at birth. The civil rights groups, which made their plea in a letter to the state’s jail wardens, noted […]

Judiciary plan calls for demographic data collection, better access to court records

BY: - August 26, 2021

The New Jersey Supreme Court unveiled its plan for reducing bias in the state’s judiciary branch on Wednesday. The nine-point plan includes a call for partnerships between lawmakers, state agencies, and jurists to increase job opportunities and training for drug court participants and those on probation, plus mandatory bias training for all court employees. “The […]

Impact of new prison redistricting law remains unclear

BY: - August 23, 2021

The impact of a new law that will count incarcerated New Jerseyans as living in their home communities — hailed by supporters as an end to “prison gerrymandering” — remains unclear. “It was a long time coming,” said state Sen. Shirley Turner (D-Mercer), a sponsor. “In fact, it’s long past time that we eliminate prison […]