Following an emergent plea by the New Jersey Office of the Public Defender, hundreds of incarcerated inmates throughout New Jersey’s county jails will be released as of today with the goal of preventing the transmission of COVID-19 to uninfected inmates and jail staff and corrections officers. This unprecedented move resulted from a collaborative effort among the State Public Defender’s Office, the ACLU-New Jersey, the Office of the Attorney General and the County Prosecutors Association. They were assisted in reaching a consensus through the mediation efforts of retired Appellate Division Judge and former Director of the Administrative Office of the Courts Philip S. Carchman. The mediation culminated in a comprehensive consent Order entered by the Supreme Court of New Jersey on March 22, 2020, which can be found at https://njcourts.gov/notices/2020/n200323a.pdf?c=Pai
The Order provides for the rapid release of inmates serving county jail sentences for minor offenses while also insuring that prosecutors maintain the ability to timely object to the release of inmates on the grounds that release of an inmate would pose a significant risk to the safety of either the inmate or the public. The Order does not eliminate any remaining unserved custodial sentence. Instead, it provides that the balance of each sentence is to be addressed by the sentencing court at a later date.
Inmates who have tested positive for COVID-19 are not to be immediately released pursuant to the Order and any inmate who would otherwise be eligible to be released has the option to remain incarcerated and complete his or her applicable sentence. Inmates released pursuant to the Order will be required to comply with any applicable conditions of probation and release. Importantly, while the impacted inmates are low level offenders, prosecutors and other law enforcement must make efforts to give notice to victims of the release of the inmates.
Finally, it is important to note that this expedited release Order applies only to inmates who have been sentenced to county jail for certain classes of offenses and does not provide for the release of those being held pursuant to pretrial detention orders. Those inmates must seek separate relief.
If you have a criminal law concern related to COVID-19, please contact John E. Hogan at 732-855-6470, or any member of our Criminal Law Team.
The postings on this blog were created for general informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice or a solicitation to provide legal services. Although we attempt to ensure that the postings are complete, accurate, and up to date, we assume no responsibility for their completeness, accuracy, or timeliness. The information in this blog is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, a lawyer-client relationship. Readers should not act upon this information without seeking professional legal counsel.
This blog may contain links to independent third party websites and services, including social media. We provide these links for your convenience, and you access them at your own risk. We have no control over and do not monitor the content or policies (including privacy policies) of these third-party websites and have no responsibility for, and no liability with respect to, their content, accuracy, or reliability. Unless expressly stated, we do not endorse any of the linked websites or any product, service, or publication referenced herein or therein. We will remove a link to any site from this blog upon request of the linked entity.
We grant permission to readers to link to this blog so long as this blog is not misrepresented. This site is not sponsored or associated with any other site unless so identified.
If you wish for Wilentz, Goldman & Spitzer, P.A., to consider representing you, please obtain contact information from the Contact Us area of this blog or go to the firm’s website at www.wilentz.com. One of our lawyers will be happy to discuss the possibility of representation with you. However, the authors of Wilentz blogs are licensed only in New Jersey and/or New York and do not wish to represent anyone who viewed this site in a state where the site fails to comply with all laws and ethical rules of that state.