County Prosecutors Association of N.J. ask Murphy to veto mandatory minimums bill

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The County Prosectors Association of New Jersey is asking Gov. Phil Murphy to veto a bill with sponsors out of Hudson County where mandatory minimum sentencing would be eliminated for crimes such as drug possession, burglary, and official misconduct.

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By John Heinis/Hudson County View

“The initial bills were drafted and while some of the recommendations have been enacted, cornerstone recommendations one through four, including elimination of the mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent drug and property crimes have floundered,” CPANJ President Esther Suarez, also the Hudson County prosecutor, wrote in a letter to Murphy yesterday.

“As has been reported, these recommendations have languished because of an attempt to add the elimination of mandatory minimum sentences for various crimes committed by state or local public officers or employees … The added provision was not part of the Commission’s unanimous recommendation. The CPANJ specifically opposed the addition of these crimes.”

The New Jersey Globe reported that the CPANJ decided internally to come out against the bill after New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal lobbied for their support – he has previously come out against the official misconduct aspect of the bill.

“The minimum mandatory sentences of the added crimes are a key deterrent to entrusted public officials and employees from violating their sworn duty,” Suarez, recently touted as a candidate for U.S. Attorney, also wrote.

Murphy has indicated that he is also against the official misconduct portion of the bill, which was introduced by state Senator (D-32) Nick Sacco and Assemblyman Nick Chiaravalloti (D-31) in the upper and lower houses, respectively.

The Senate passed the bill on February 22nd, while the Assembly approved the legislation on March 1st.

New Jersey Together, part of about 20 advocacy groups calling on Murphy to sign the bill, tweeted that they weren’t surprised the CPANJ was against the measure.

“Not surprising. Just a reminder — ending mandatory minimums takes power away from PROSECUTORS and puts it in the hands of JUDGES,” the group wrote.

“And one of the foremost bodies of legal experts in the US (the American Law Institute) opposes mandatory minimums for precisely this reason.”