One of the most widely talked about inadequacies of New Jersey law is the racial disparity between black and white convictions. In fact, you may be surprised to learn that the state of New Jersey has the highest disparity between black and white convictions than anywhere else in the country. Fortunately, last week, Governor Phil Murphy signed three bills into law to address these inadequacies. Those bills are A2370, A4373, and A4371.
There are several aims of the new bills, though the overarching goal is to ensure that black and white individuals are treated fairly in the eyes of the law. The first goal of the bills is to establish a program that gives the inmates the right to petition to be released from prison if they have a “grave medical condition.” The bills will also work to address those who commit crimes at young ages. When someone commits a crime at a young age, now, this must be taken into consideration when they are sentenced. The bills will also launch a cost-savings study of compassionate release programs, as well as the elimination of mandatory minimums. Mandatory minimums are essentially the minimum sentencing that a judge is required to issue for certain crimes.
Of the bills passing, Governor Phil Murphy said in a statement, “Our administration has been committed to criminal justice reform since day one, and we have taken many steps to address the wide disparities present in our justice system.”
You should understand, however, many New Jersey lawmakers believe there is still much work to be done, including Phil Murphy, as the new bills do not yet abolish mandatory minimums for certain crimes. If and when a bill gets signed into law that does eliminate mandatory minimums, it will prevent certain individuals from facing serious convictions in the future, and it will also be enacted retroactively, making over 2,000 current inmates eligible for parole.
If you have any additional questions, or you believe these new bills may affect you, please do not hesitate to reach out to our experienced New Jersey criminal defense attorney today. Our firm is always here to help.
Contact our experienced New Jersey firm
Thomas DeMarco & Associates, LLC is an experienced Camden County criminal defense law firm located in Mt. Ephraim, New Jersey. We understand how potentially damaging a criminal can be, which is why we pride ourselves on our willingness to fight for our client’s rights. Our firm handles all criminal matters and is ready to provide you with our knowledgeable legal counsel. Do not hesitate to contact our firm to discuss your legal situation.