New Jersey Ban on Bail has devastating consequences

Many people point to New Jersey as a glowing standard in bail reform.  The reality is that 31-year-old Tiffany Wilson would still be alive if New Jersey had listened to the real concerns presented by law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, judges and other critics of the reform.  Wilson’s boyfriend Kareem Dawson was released on his own recognizance in October and December for domestic violence and weapons charges prior to shooting and killing Wilson.  Dawson was released without bail after a “Pretrial Risk Assessment” tool determined that he was not a danger to the community and that he was not a flight risk.  His release came over the objection of prosecutors who argued for the judge to detain Dawson because of his violent past including aggravated assault.  Dawson has since been charged with murder.

The incident caused Newark Mayor Ras Baraka to issue a public statement regarding the bail reform laws that he once advocated.  Baraka believes that more criminals have been allowed back on the streets because of the reform.  The concerns presented by law enforcement, prosecutors and judges have caused the New Jersey Attorney General to issue stricter guidelines regarding those charged with gun crimes and those with a history as a sex offender.  The directive also instructs prosecutors to seek detainment for those on parole or pre-trial release for a new crime.

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