Submitted by New Jersey Criminal Lawyer, Jeffrey Hark.
The Municipal Courts Practice Committee has proposed changes to the NJ Rules regarding the issuance of summons and warrants to be effective on January 1, 2017.
The rules changes address the municipal court’s ability to issue special terms of pretrial release/condition to enable the Judge to condition release, and no pretrial incarceration, on limiting contact and exposure a proposed defendant with a victim or location of an offense.
Sections b, c, and d enable the judge to take testimony of an officer over the phone or by way of electronically transmitted affidavit to determine probable cause and terms of pretrial release. The special conditions now allowed to be placed on a summons include no contact with the victim, and other provisions of the Domestic Violence Act prohibiting a person from having contact with the alleged victim and or a victim of a sex crime. These are new condition the bail reform is instituting in order to enable a defendant to not lose his job, and not be incarcerated, pending successful completion of trial and or resolution of the case.
The rule requires the law-enforcement officer to demonstrate to the judge sufficient grounds to impose the special conditions of restraints taking into account the safety of the community, person and other reasonable factors related to the charges.
The new section G, addressing arrest warrants issued as a result of a complaint, require a defendant to be charged and appear before a court.
They are the conditions of bail but now the defendant shall be taken into custody and remanded to the county jail. At this time the Superior Court Judge is required to establish the terms of pretrial release. As before,the Municipal Court administrator, Deputy Court Administrator, or judge can issue the warrant for arrest on sworn testimony however this too can be done electronically via telephone radio where are other electronic means which includes anticipated use of the Internet.
The key here is the defendant shall detained for no more than 48 hours pursuant to section 3 of the rules of criminal procedure. During that 48 hours the defendant shall be brought before a Superior Court Judge and terms of pretrial release shall be put in place.
The major problem with the current bail system the long wait times to trial and the substantial number of low level defendants who can not even make their current bail amounts! The courts want to move away from this model! The court does not want to have a jail full those who cannot make bail on the low level nonviolent charges. This does not include domestic violence cases. Now those defendants will be required to be transferred to the county jail for risk assessment and subject to pretrial release conditions within 48 hours of being arrested.
The key is this Section of the proposed Municipal court Rule changes is the fact that we are discussing section 7 of the criminal court rules.
These relate only to Municipal Court practice. This section of the rules do not include indictable offense is which are in all cases going to be set up to the county and will fall within the scope of pretrial monitoring services as well.
Jeffrey S. Hark, Esq.