PATERSON, N.J. (PIX11) — New Jersey lawmakers did something Monday that New York has struggled to do despite rising crime: make a significant change to its bail reform laws.
The Garden State will now make it much tougher to post bail if the offense you are accused of involves a gun.
“Today we are standing in solidarity against the senseless gun violence,” said Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh.
He was flanked by law enforcement officials and elected leaders from around North Jersey, who cheered a change to the state’s landmark bail reform law passed in 2017. The mayor and others have argued for some time that certain suspects arrested for gun crimes were able to take advantage of the new system and post low or no bail.
“Well today, they do not walk out the door anymore … that’s what’s important,” State Sen. Joe Cryan declared.
He estimates between 2,000 and 3,000 gun arrests for crimes like armed robbery, carjacking and domestic violence will no longer be presumed to be bail eligible.
Toward the end of the press conference, Sayegh heaped praise on New York City Mayor Eric Adams, who has been pushing for changes to New York’s bail laws with only minor success.
“We are hoping that your legislature in New York follows suit in the footsteps of our legislature in New Jersey,” Sayegh said.
New York state lawmakers have refused to implement a quote “dangerousness” standard, which gives a judge more discretion on bail, fearing it will lead to racial discrimination. However, New Jersey already had something similar known as a “public safety assessment” and still felt it necessary to make this change for gun crime suspects.
Cryan said the legislature in New Jersey realized it had to adjust.
“You were supposed to make laws, understand the time you are in, and make those laws work for the times that you are in and we’ve all had enough,” Cryan said.