ACLU-NJ Joins Coalition to Tax and Regulate Marijuana

New Jersey United for Marijuana Reform will highlight the failures of New Jersey’s marijuana laws and the enormous costs of tens of thousands of arrests -- which disproportionately affect black residents -- in a campaign to legalize, tax and regulate marijuana in New Jersey. More »

Civil Rights Advocates Urge NJ State Senate Committee to Severely Restrict Solitary Confinement

Members of the Campaign for Alternatives to Isolated Confinement, a coalition of groups committed to ending solitary confinement, as currently practiced in New Jersey's jails and prisons, testified today in favor of a bill to severely restrict its use. The bill, S2588, sponsored by State Senators Peter Barnes III and Raymond Lesniak, would impose limits and safeguards that have been shown to improve both institutional and community safety. More »

ACLU-NJ Challenges State Policy Denying Legal Residents Health Care

NEWARK - The New Jersey Supreme Court today heard oral arguments in Guaman v. Velez, an immigrant rights case in which the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey submitted an amicus brief challenging the state’s discriminatory cuts to a state health insurance program for low-wage workers. The lawsuit challenges the state policy that denied participation in the state’s FamilyCare program to immigrants who have been lawful permanent residents less than five years. More »

Offensive Language Not Child Abuse Per Se NJ Supreme Court Rules, Affirming ACLU-NJ

The New Jersey Supreme Court today handed down a ruling affirming that a parent is not guilty of child abuse just for admitting to cursing and using off-color language. The ACLU-NJ argued as a friend of the court in State of New Jersey v. Tate that a foster father’s vague description of having cursed and used off-color language in front of his child as part of a guilty plea -- which he requested to withdraw -- was not strong enough evidence of habitual use of obscenity. More »

Advocates Greet Newark Mayor’s Police Oversight Proposal with Cautious Optimism

Newark’s leading advocates for police accountability reacted today with cautious optimism to the announcement of a planned executive order from Newark Mayor Ras Baraka to establish a civilian complaint review board (CCRB) to help oversee the Newark Police Department. The proposed executive order would create a CCRB with the power to receive and investigate complaints — including by subpoenaing documents and witnesses — relating to a broad array of police misconduct, as well as the power to audit police policies and practices. More »

NJ Supreme Court Strikes Down Unconstitutional Mandatory Minimums

The New Jersey Supreme Court yesterday issued a decision that accepted the ACLU-NJ’s call to strike down a New Jersey statute that had improperly increased criminal sentences by increasing periods of parole ineligibility based on a factual finding by a judge rather than a jury. In State v. Grate and Cromwell, the state Supreme Court determined that the statute at issue violated a previous United States Supreme Court decision that only a jury’s findings, rather than a judge’s determination alone, can increase a punishment given in a criminal case. More »

ACLU-NJ Wins Injunction in New Brunswick Begging Ban

The ACLU-NJ won a temporary injunction today in Middlesex County Superior Court that prevents New Brunswick from enforcing two laws that make it illegal to beg. Judge Frank Ciuffani expressed concerns about the ordinances’ constitutionality, and the City of New Brunswick asked to schedule the hearing in February to consider ways to amend the ordinances to align them with constitutional principles. More »