Christie proposes bail discretion for judges in N.J.

Gov. Chris Christie has proposed a constitutional amendment to modify the bail process in New Jersey.

New Jersey’s Constitution now requires bail for all defendants in criminal cases. Christie said Tuesday that judges should have the option to keep those considered a danger to the community behind bars while they’re awaiting trial.

“The change, which parallels the federal system, aims to provide our courts with the ability to keep dangerous offenders in jail and off community streets rather than giving them an opportunity to commit further acts of violence, intimidate witnesses, until the time of their trial,” he said.

The governor will be looking for bipartisan support in the Legislature to get the constitutional amendment on the November ballot.

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New Jersey Attorney General Jeff Chiesa said the proposal is a “common-sense measure.”

“If a person is bailed, the people affected by it, the victim, the victim’s family, their communities, the places where these crimes occurred, should have the peace of mind to know that the judge has considered whether or not they pose a danger to that community,” he said.

Christie previously proposed mandatory treatment for nonviolent drug offenders, something he says would free up jail space to house violent criminals.

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