Originally published by Donna Weaver, MCPO
Want to know how many arrests have been made in Monmouth County since the Bail Reform and Speedy Trial Act went into effect on January 1, 2017?
This new law represents one of the most dramatic changes to our criminal justice system in many years. Under the new law, New Jersey shifted from a system that relied principally on monetary bail, to a risk-based system that assesses a defendant’s risk of flight and dangerousness to the community. Additionally, defendants have a right to a speedy trial under the new law.
In Monmouth County’s first month under the new system, there were 302 arrests made and 546 summonses issued across the county.
Of those 302 arrests, the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office filed 45 detention motions seeking to have those defendants detained pending trial. Of those 45 cases, 36 had pretrial risk assessment (PSA) recommendations of “release not recommended,” and 21 defendants contested the State’s motion for detention, seeking pretrial release.
When a defendant contests the State’s motion for detention, the new law provides a defendant the right to a detention review hearing within five days of arrest. Of the 21 defendants that contested our Office’s detention motions, 15 were detained by the Monmouth County Superior Court.
Of these 15 detained defendants, 13 had PSA recommendations of “release not recommended;” one had a PSA recommendation of home detention with electronic monitoring and weekly reporting to the Pretrial Services Unit; and one had a recommendation of monthly reporting to the Pretrial Services Unit.
Additionally, our Office withdrew two detention motions that were initially filed, and those defendants were released on bail conditions. Six defendants were released pretrial on conditions by the Court over objections from this Office.
At this time, 18 detention hearings remain pending, and two defendants have appealed detention decisions to the Appellate Division. Four cases with detention motions were resolved via guilty pleas before the detention hearing occurred. Three defendants, who were released pretrial, have violated pretrial release conditions as a result of new arrests. In these three cases, the Office asked for increased conditions on pretrial release as a result of the new arrests.
From this point forth, the Office will publish Bail Reform and Speedy Trial Act statistics in this fashion covering each quarter in the calendar year (e.g., April 1, July 1, October 1, January 1).