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NJ weighs ditching minimum sentences for some crimes

Posted: 5:05 PM, Nov 14, 2019
Updated: 2019-11-14 17:05:14-05

TRENTON, N.J. — New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy says the state will work to overhaul its criminal sentencing guidelines, including eliminating certain mandatory minimum sentences.

The first-term Democrat unveiled recommendations Thursday from the Criminal Sentencing & Disposition Commission.

Among their recommendations is eliminating mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent drug offenders as well as nonviolent “property crimes,” like shoplifting.

The commission goes back to 2009, but it didn’t operate under Murphy’s predecessor Republican Chris Christie.

Murphy says the recommendations have bipartisan support.

Democratic Senate President Steve Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin attended Thursday’s event. They say they’ll work on legislation to enact the recommendations quickly.

Other proposals include applying the elimination of some minimums retroactively to make it easier for inmates to be released.