NJ Democrats Back Christie on Bail-Denial Amendment

Thursday, 14 Jun 2012 11:17 AM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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New Jersey Democrats appear to be on board with a constitutional amendment proposed by Republican Gov. Chris Christie that would allow state judges to deny bail to offenders considered dangerous or violent.
 
New Jersey and New York are the only states in the country where judges don’t have the discretion to consider violent backgrounds or crimes when determining a defendants bail. But the Christie amendment, sponsored in the state Senate by Democrat Donald Norcross, would change that, according to a report Thursday in the Philadelphia Inquirer.
 
“If you lock up these [drug] dealers and murderers, and people know that they're not getting back out, and witnesses know that they’re not getting back out, you can start making a real difference,” Norcross said.
 
The Inquirer noted that the amendment has the backing of police chiefs and prosecutors in the state.
 
But opponents say if the amendment makes it through the state House and Senate — and is approved by voters —  it would pressure judges into keeping all accused of a violent crime in jail. That, they say, would drive up costs and keep potentially innocent suspects behind bars.

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