This case is part of the ACLU-NJ's ongoing work to ensure pretrial justice reforms in New Jersey are implemented fairly and protect liberty. The ACLU-NJ, joined by the National ACLU and several other civil rights groups, submitted a friend-of-the-court brief opposing a federal lawsuit brought by plaintiffs challenging New Jersey’s pretrial justice reforms. The reforms, which went into effect in January 2017, effectively eliminated money bail, creating a presumption of release for the vast majority of defendants and ensuring that people do not languish in jail awaiting trial simply because they are poor. The plaintiffs, which include a Florida company based in Maryland, brought a lawsuit to halt these historic reforms. The lawsuit aims to force New Jersey to use commercial bail bonds companies and wrongly claims that the ability to buy one’s way out of jail and out of conditions of pretrial release is a constitutional right. The ACLU-NJ, which helped spearhead bail reform across New Jersey, is fighting to ensure it is implemented fairly despite the legal attacks of those who unjustly profit off the backs of people accused of crimes.
On September 21, 2017, the federal trial court denied the plaintiffs' preliminary injunction, which the ACLU-NJ had opposed. The court agreed with many of the ACLU-NJ's points and found that “Plaintiffs have not made a substantial showing of possibility of success nor of irreparable harm stemming from unconstitutional conduct under the CJRA, either on the face of the statute or as applied." The plaintiffs appealed the order to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, where the ACLU-NJ again submitted a friend-of-the-court brief and was allowed to participate in oral argument on February 21, 2018.