Criminal Justice

N.J.’s top court orders ex-Black Panther freed after 49 years behind bars

BY: - May 10, 2022

The New Jersey Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered the state to free Sundiata Acoli, rejecting the state Parole Board’s claims that the 85-year-old should stay in prison for the 1973 slaying of a state trooper. The ruling, split 3-2 along party lines, brings to a close a decades-long battle by Acoli’s supporters to release him […]

Governor Murphy names new watchdog for state prisons

BY: - May 5, 2022

New Jersey is getting a new corrections ombudsperson nearly one year after the official who formerly held the post resigned over lax oversight of the state’s only women’s prison. The post will be filled by Terry Schuster, the manager of Pew Charitable Trusts’ Public Safety Performance Program, Gov. Phil Murphy announced Thursday. “Terry’s successful professional […]

Judges say killer with multiple sclerosis should be released from prison

BY: - May 3, 2022

An appellate panel has ruled a Morris County woman with multiple sclerosis who was convicted of killing her husband 12 years ago should be released from prison under a new law that expanded who can seek medical parole. The three judges Monday reversed a lower court’s decision that denied a petition for release by Amalia Mirasola, who has […]

GOP lawmakers aim to increase punishment for car thieves

BY: - May 3, 2022

Two Monmouth County Republicans plan to introduce legislation this week to toughen penalties against some car thieves, saying “liberal, failed policies” have “tied police hands” and led to rising rates of car theft. Assemblywoman Vicky Flynn and Assemblyman Gerard Scharfenberger announced their plans after acting Attorney General Matt Platkin announced Friday the state is reversing a […]

Cops can’t contradict or diminish Miranda warnings to coax suspects to talk, court rules

BY: - May 2, 2022

Police who read suspects their rights before interrogations cannot then lie or contradict the Miranda warning to entice them to talk or confess, the New Jersey Supreme Court unanimously ruled Monday. Chief Justice Stuart Rabner, who wrote the opinion, upheld an appellate ruling that suppressed statements a man made in 2013 to a Hackensack detective […]

In reversal, New Jersey to again allow cops to chase car thieves

BY: - April 29, 2022

New Jersey officials announced Friday they will curb a spike in car thefts statewide by again allowing police to engage in pursuits of car thieves and by spending $10 million to expand the use of license plate recognition technology. Law enforcement previously had only been allowed to pursue vehicles as a last resort to prevent […]

All eyes on New Jersey as it grapples with letting cops use cannabis

BY: and - April 29, 2022

During his decade in law enforcement, AJ Jacobs fell into a trap of cracking open a beer after a long, stressful shift in the suburbs of Phoenix. Jacobs didn’t spend much time with his family — he had the “super cop” mentality to work all the time, he said. But after 11 years on the […]

N.J. police officers are overwhelmingly white and male, data shows

BY: - April 28, 2022

Citizens can now investigate the demographics of their police departments in a new public database unveiled Thursday by the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office. The police diversity dashboard is intended to increase transparency, two years after state lawmakers passed a law requiring agencies to work toward making their staff as diverse as the communities they serve. […]

N.J. racetrack probes rise, as more horses test positive for banned substances

BY: - April 25, 2022

The number of horses that tested positive for banned substances more than doubled in the past year at New Jersey’s three horse racing tracks, state police data shows. The New Jersey State Police’s racetrack unit conducted 51 barn searches in the 2021 fiscal year at the Meadowlands Racetrack, Freehold Raceway, and Monmouth Park, up from […]

Solving N.J.’s judicial vacancy problem would be giant task for Governor Murphy

BY: - April 19, 2022

Judiciary leaders have warned about an overtaxed stable of judges as they work to clear a staggering case backlog, but if Gov. Phil Murphy wants to give the courts a full cohort this year, he’d have to get more judges confirmed than he has since taking office in January 2018. Seventy-three seats on the Superior […]

State law allows police to consume marijuana when off duty, attorney general says

BY: - April 14, 2022

With legal sales of recreational marijuana beginning potentially next week, acting Attorney General Matt Platkin has issued a memo to law enforcement leaders reminding them New Jersey law allows cops to light up when they’re off duty. The memo makes clear police officers can consume marijuana legally purchased within the state while off duty, but […]

N.J. court chief warns lawmakers about judicial vacancies

BY: - April 12, 2022

Members of the judiciary told the Assembly Budget Committee funding levels proposed by Gov. Phil Murphy would cover the state court system’s costs but warned again about the effect of judicial vacancies. Judge Glenn Grant, the administrative director of the courts, told lawmakers 75 seats on the bench — 16% of the judiciary’s 463 judgeships […]