Social Justice

N.J.’s top court upholds state ban on racial profiling in new ruling

BY: - January 25, 2022

Police officers investigating crimes can’t stop a car merely because its occupants match the race and gender of a suspect, the New Jersey Supreme Court unanimously ruled Tuesday in an opinion upholding state prohibitions on racial profiling. The state’s top court tossed the conviction of one man — and upheld the vacated sentence of another […]

Activists incensed after N.J. fund for immigrant workers cut by 85%

BY: - January 20, 2022

Immigrant advocates expressed anger Wednesday over the state reallocating the majority of a $40 million fund for residents excluded from COVID-era relief, which advocates secured after 18 months of protests and a 24-day hunger strike. “We didn’t think it was real. We didn’t think it could be possible. Now, instead of fighting for more money […]

Judges side with A.G. on waiving mandatory minimum prison sentences

BY: - January 20, 2022

A New Jersey appellate panel weighed in this week on a yearslong battle over mandatory minimum prison sentences, affirming the state Attorney General’s directive last year ordering prosecutors to waive mandatory minimums for nonviolent drug offenses. Superior Court Judge Carmen Messano, writing for the three-judge panel Tuesday, rejected a lower court’s argument that the directive wrongly set […]

Judge delivers new victory for juvenile offenders serving lengthy prison terms

BY: - January 19, 2022

A New Jersey judge ordered a new hearing Wednesday for a man sentenced to life in prison for two murders he committed as a teenager, the latest in a string of state court rulings holding that juvenile offenders have a greater capacity than adults to reform and shouldn’t be condemned to lifetime imprisonment. William Thomas […]

Gov. Murphy signs flurry of bills just before second term begins

BY: and - January 19, 2022

Gov. Phil Murphy signed a controversial law Tuesday that will allow New Jersey police officers to review their own body-camera footage before writing incident reports. Reformers fought the measure, fearing it would enable officers to omit details the camera didn’t capture and thereby evade accountability. Police unions pushed for it, saying it would improve the […]

Murphy signs law solidifying abortion rights in New Jersey

BY: - January 13, 2022

Gov. Phil Murphy signed a bill Thursday codifying the right to an abortion into state law, a move abortion rights advocates say is necessary as the U.S. Supreme Court has signaled it may overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade decision later this year. The new law (S49), dubbed the Freedom of Reproductive Choice Act, will […]

Activists urge Murphy to stop planned Newark power plant

BY: - January 13, 2022

Environmental activists and community organizers are urging Gov. Phil Murphy to halt plans to construct a gas-fired power plant in the Ironbound, a minority-majority community in Newark already dealing with pollution from three other nearby power plants.  The Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission canceled a vote scheduled for Thursday on a contract to build the plant, […]

Justices give hope to juvenile offenders, allow sentencing review after 20 years

BY: - January 10, 2022

The New Jersey Supreme Court ruled Monday that juvenile offenders serving lengthy prison sentences may ask for sentencing review after they’ve served 20 years behind bars, a decision juvenile justice reformers celebrated as overdue recognition that children don’t deserve to be locked away for life. The ruling stems from the cases of James Comer, who […]

Public defenders could soon be free for minors

BY: - January 5, 2022

Assembly lawmakers are set to advance a bill Thursday that would make New Jersey minors eligible for free representation by state public defenders. Under existing law, the state’s family courts decide whether underage criminal defendants qualify for representation from the Office of the Public Defender, weighing whether they can afford to hire attorneys on their […]

Bill to abolish some juvenile offenders’ fines awaiting governor’s OK

BY: - December 29, 2021

A bill that would eliminate many fines and costs imposed on juvenile offenders now heads to Gov. Phil Murphy after passing in the Legislature. The measure would excuse youthful offenders from having to pay: certain testing and laboratory fees; a penalty for false public alarms; a monthly penalty imposed on juvenile sex offenders; and the cost of […]

Lawmakers approve writing same-sex marriage into N.J. law

BY: - December 20, 2021

Same-sex marriage is one step closer to being codified into New Jersey law. A bill approved by both chambers of the Legislature Monday, S3416, would enshrine gay couples’ right to marry into law. Same-sex marriages were legalized by a New Jersey court decision in 2013, and the U.S. Supreme Court did the same for the […]

Five more correctional officers charged in inmate assaults at women’s prison

BY: - December 16, 2021

Acting Attorney General Andrew Bruck announced criminal charges Wednesday against four senior correctional police officers and the administrator who was in charge of the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women on the night last January when the officers allegedly severely beat and injured several inmates. The new charges bring to 15 the total number of […]