I travelled to Trenton, New Jersey last Thursday to attend a meeting of bail agents in that state. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss proposed changes to the law that would effectively put the taxpayers of The Garden State in the bail bond business while putting public safety at risk.
New Jersey Assemblyman John Burzichelli has introduced a bill that would put court personnel in charge of monitoring defendants released on their own recognizance pending trial. In other words place the cost of tracking defendants on the backs of taxpayers. Costs currently shouldered by criminal defendants and private bonding companies.
Bail professionals fill a critical role within the criminal justice system. They get defendants to court at their own expense. Without a defendant present in court the criminal attorney has no one to represent, the prosecutor no one to prosecute and the judge has holes in his docket. According to a study recently released by the University of Texas at Dallas, it costs taxpayers $1700 each time a defendant fails to appear for court.
It defies logic why Assemblyman Burzichelli and others want to intentionally transfer the costs of monitoring defendants released from jail pending trial to the backs of New Jersey taxpayers. If you can think of good reason other than money, money or money, let me know.