In light of Gov. Phil Murphy’s conditional veto of a bill eliminating some mandatory minimums, and Attorney General Gurbir Grewal’s issuance of a new directive related to mandatory sentences, the ACLU-NJ issued the following statement.

This statement can be attributed to ACLU-NJ Executive Director Amol Sinha:

“Mandatory minimums have been a tool of injustice for decades, and S3456 takes important steps to limit them. While the rationale for Gov. Murphy’s conditional veto, which asks the Legislature to keep intact the mandatory minimum for official government misconduct, raises some legitimate concerns about political process and transparency that New Jersey must grapple with, we are disappointed by today’s action. The directive issued today by Attorney General Gurbir Grewal takes significant steps to mitigate the harms of some of the most problematic mandatory minimums, and importantly provides relief for those currently incarcerated because of unjust mandatory sentences. Still, our state falls short by failing to enact legislation that can promote justice for thousands of New Jerseyans, disproportionately Black and brown people.  

In order to make sure people can escape some of the injustices of mandatory minimums, we strongly urge the Legislature to approve the Governor’s conditional veto and to pass S2593, which makes the changes from S3456 retroactive, to codify what the Attorney General achieves through the new directive. And, we urge that our elected officials put the politics aside, and work together to end all mandatory minimums in New Jersey.