NJ Supreme Court: Kids Can’t Routinely Receive De Facto Life Sentences

The New Jersey Supreme Court today ruled in two juvenile justice cases that children convicted of crimes cannot be sentenced to de facto life sentences without the possibility of parole without carefully considering the role their youth played in their crimes. ACLU-NJ Senior Staff Attorney Alexander Shalom, along with Gibbons P.C. Criminal Defense Chair and Pro Bono Director Larry Lustberg and Gibbons Fellow Avram Frey, represented James Comer. Comer, currently in his 30s, will now have an opportunity to argue for his resentencing. Previously he was only eligible for a parole hearing at age 86, at the end of his natural life span.  More »

Incarcerated Students with Disabilities Sue New Jersey Over Denial of Education

Newark, NJ – Adult prisons in New Jersey routinely violate the rights of high school students with disabilities by denying them education, according to a federal class action lawsuit filed today. Some students in these prisons receive no education whatsoever, while for others, education consists of receiving worksheets while they sit in a cage in the center of a solitary confinement unit. More »

ACLU-NJ & Rights Groups to Council on Mandates: Keep Historic Bail Reform Intact

New Jersey-based civil rights and policy organizations submitted a friend of the court brief to the Council on Local Mandates on Dec. 21 arguing that a civil rights measure to reform bail set to go into effect on Jan. 1 should proceed undisturbed. The organizations — the ACLU-NJ, Drug Policy Alliance, Latino Action Network, NAACP New Jersey State Conference, and the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice — are all designated by law to serve on the Pretrial Services Program Review Commission for the 2014 Criminal Justice Reform Act bail reform law. More »

More Than 1,000 in NJ in Solitary Confinement, Newly Released Data Show

More than 1,300 prisoners were in solitary confinement on any given day in New Jersey’s prisons and jails as recently as last December, according to data released for the first time by human rights advocates. The release of these data, gathered by Students for Prison Education and Reform: Princeton (SPEAR), Solitary Watch, and the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey, previews a solitary confinement report to be issued in 2017. More »

Christie Tramples Human Rights with Veto of Solitary Confinement Reforms

The ACLU-NJ strongly criticized Christie’s veto of S51, legislation that would have stopped the abuse of solitary confinement. He announced his veto through a statement that mischaracterized what the bill would have done and revealed a lack of understanding of how solitary confinement is used in New Jersey. More »

ACLU-NJ Argues Pivotal Police Accountability Case at NJ Supreme Court

The ACLU-NJ made arguments for police accountability in North Jersey Media Group v. Lyndhurst, a pivotal case at the New Jersey Supreme Court case that could determine the future of police transparency in New Jersey. Along with North Jersey Media Group’s attorneys and other transparency advocates, ACLU-NJ Senior Staff Attorney Alexander Shalom argued that upholding a lower court’s ruling in the case could potentially shield basic information about police actions from the public unless the police choose to share it. More »

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