NJ Supreme Court Rules That People Can Challenge Prolonged Confinement In Light of Unprecedented Trial Delays Caused by the Pandemic

February 11, 2021

The New Jersey Supreme Court decided a case brought by the ACLU of New Jersey and the Office of the Public Defender that sought a process to challenge pretrial detention in light of long delays in the judicial system caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The ACLU-NJ issues the following statement, which can be attributed to ACLU-NJ Director of Supreme Court Advocacy Alexander Shalom:

“We’re gratified that the court recognized a desperate need to address the crisis in the criminal courts precipitated by the pandemic, in which people are forced to wait for trials in jail with no certainty of a timeline for having their cases heard. With this ruling, the court will ensure that people have some way to challenge their prolonged confinement in an unprecedented environment in which trials – the engine that propels the criminal system forward – have ground to a halt. We’ll continue to work to make sure that, especially during this health crisis, people are held in jail pretrial only when a judge finds that it is absolutely necessary.”

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