Chris Christie on Crime
Why is this important? A study by the federal government's Justice Department found that 1/3 of defendants released before trial ended up being charged with some type of pre-trial misconduct. 1/6 were arrested for a new offense--and half of those were felonies.
The federal government allows a violent criminal who is a danger to the community to be held without bail. NJ law does not. This must change. How can we justify exposing our citizens to the risk of violent crime at the hands of those, already in custody, who we know are disposed to commit it? There is no justification for that. Let us mirror federal law. Pass bail reform now.
Christie ultimately won Senate confirmation and was sworn in as the state's top federal law enforcement official in January 2002.
Corzine's very weakness had lured Christie into the race and the former prosecutor loved calling the incumbent timid. It drove Corzine bananas. In 7 tears running the US Attorney's office, Christie fully inhabited--and basked in--the role of chief federal lawman in NJ. You could see it on his face. In his strut. He loved the news conferences on courthouse steps to decry another public official trading on elected office. He eagerly traversed the state for speaking engagements in all corners, no matter how long the drive. And he was the rage of the press who provided clippings that wouldn't stop. Lengthy TV interviews with him trumpeting his efforts to clean up corruption and gangs. Announcement after announcement, laying out stings that nailed politicians, informants who fingered politicians, greed that destroyed politicians.
"You're kidding me," Christie said. They were not. Christie said almost jokingly, "That's definitely against the law, right?" His chief counsel nodded.
On Capitol Hill, the National Organ Transplant Act became law in 1984, spelling out the prohibition, though leaving the issue somewhat vague: "It shall be unlawful for any person to knowingly acquire, receive or otherwise transfer any human organ for valuable consideration for use in transplantation." No one had ever been prosecuted under the statute. If the prosecutor made a case, it was going to be a first.
Christie did not authorize it right away. It took several months to get the US Attorney's office to sign off on the approach.
This may require a constitutional amendment but it is reform that is long overdue. Do you know that if a person is arrested with a long record of violence we cannot detain that person in jail pending trial? We must release that person, regardless of how dangerous they are to potential witnesses against them or innocent members of our society. Let us amend our bail laws to allow judges to consider the factor of dangerousness to our communities before we release a violent person back on to the street to maim or kill while they await trial. This is just simple common sense.
"Sexual assault is a violent crime and its victims must be treated with respect and compassion," said Gov. Christie. "This legislation ensures the needs of assault victims are met appropriately and without cost and that forensic evidence is collected and handled correctly."
S-972 requires Victims of Crime Compensation Agency (VCCA) to revise their crime victim booklets to state that victims of sexual assaults will not be charged any fees for services associated with a forensic sexual assault examination. Services associated with these exams include routine medical screenings, medications for sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy tests. The legislation takes effect immediately.
Why is this important? A study by the federal government's Justice Department found that 1/3 of defendants released before trial ended up being
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