The New Jersey Supreme Court has cleaned the slate for some juveniles who were facing warrants and fines from more than five years ago under a plan “to ensure equal justice in the courts.”
The court on Wednesday ordered the dismissal of up to 1,400 failure-to-appear warrants that are more than five years old for nonviolent minor offenses that were issued against juveniles.
County prosecutors can then determine whether to proceed with underlying complaints, the court said.
The court also vacated more than $140,000 in discretionary juveniles fines that were imposed before July 1 on 592 juveniles.
According to the court, the fines being dismissed “are discretionary and non-mandatory county and state assessments.” They do not include money owed to victims for restitution.
“The young people who owe those fines – including disproportionate numbers of youth of color – overwhelmingly lack the capacity to make necessary payments, and the fines serve only to prolong involvement with the juvenile and criminal justice systems,” the court wrote in an order signed by Chief Justice Stuart Rabner.
The actions follow a plan that the court issued in July outlining a series of reforms that support juvenile rehabilitation.
The justices have instructed courts to periodically review and dismiss similar warrants.