New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, in his recent State of the State address, called for no bail for repeat violent offenders. Christie said, “We can only improve our quality of life by keeping the most violent criminals off the streets”.
This is not a new direction for New Jersey. Last November, Governor Christie signed into law A 1491, which expanded the current list of criminal offenses carrying a bail restriction, to include crimes involving domestic violence. Anyone arrested for a charge of an aggravated nature like sexual assault, robbery, carjacking and now domestic violence must either post full cash, a bond secured by real estate or a fully insured bail bond. This class of offender cannot be released on their own recognizance or a ten percent cash bond.
The peoples’ representatives of New Jersey and their governor clearly understand the public safety ramifications of releasing offenders charged with aggravated offenses on anything less than a fully secured bond. This is public policy safety minded residents can support.
Conversely, we have bail states like Indiana, Ohio and South Carolina and nonbail states in Oregon, Wisconsin, Illinois and Kentucky with judges and legislators willing to release with regularity offenders charged with aggravated offenses on a mere 10% cash deposit of the full bond amount. The logic being, a defendant will return to court if there is a chance of getting the deposit money back.
Requiring aggravated offenders to post a bail bond to guarantee their appearance in court is sound public policy. In what universe do individuals who perpetrate crimes on individuals deserve a 90% discount or a free bond? Citizens living in and around communities with these soft release policies have a right to be concerned for their safety. Who would have thought you would need to move from northern Indiana to New Jersey to feel safer. Every state should have bail restriction laws identical to The Garden State.