[L]awyers in criminal courts are necessities, not luxuries. The right of one charged with crime to counsel may not be deemed fundamental and essential to fair trials in some countries, but it is in ours.
Justice Hugo Black, Gideon v. Wainwright
The rights guaranteed to the accused, defendants, offenders and prisoners are fundamental political rights that protect all Americans from governmental abuse of power. These rights include the guarantee against unreasonable search and seizure, the right to reasonable bail, the right to due process of law and the right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment. They are indispensable to a free society.
- November 29, 2018 New Policy Limits Aid to ICE, Protecting Rights & Safety in NJ
- November 26, 2018 Historic Marijuana Vote Makes Progress Toward Racial Justice in Legalization
- October 30, 2018 U.S. Supreme Court Declines to Hear Challenge to Criminal Justice Reform Act
- October 29, 2018 Middlesex County Implements Solitary Confinement Reforms
- October 16, 2018 Ed Barocas, an NJ Legal Giant, Retires as ACLU-NJ Legal Director
- August 28, 2018 AG Guidance Advises Weighing Impact of a Marijuana Prosecution
- July 24, 2018 AG Letter a Step Toward Reform of Unjust Marijuana Prosecutions
- July 9, 2018 Federal Court Victory: Limits on Cash Bail Are Constitutional
- June 4, 2018 Advocates Call for Automatic Marijuana Expungement in NJ
- May 30, 2018 Solitary Survivors & Former UN Official to Share Stories at Event
- C-Pod Inmates of Middlesex County v. Middlesex County
This lawsuit challenged solitary confinement practices at the Middlesex County Jail in “C-Pod”, a unit specifically for solitary confinement.
- P.D. v. Middlesex County
The ACLU-NJ represents P.D., a pretrial detainee with mental illness who, after being unable to make bail, was held in solitary confinement for more than four months.
- State v. Comer
Challenge to the constitutionality of the use of de facto sentences of life without parole for juveniles.
- State v. J.L.G.
Amicus brief challenge to the use of the scientific reliability of so-called Child Sexual Abuse Accommodation Syndrome
- State v. Green
Case addressing applicability of requirement that police record details of identification procedure to electronic databases.
- Ganzweig v. Ocean Co. Prosecutor’s Office
Amicus brief in support of a person who requested a police dashcam recording under the Open Public Records Act.
- State v. Rodriguez
Petition for Certification addressing the requirements of criminal lawyers to advise their clients of immigration consequences of guilty pleas.
- Kneisser v. McInerney
Challenge to a man put in jail for not paying a fine for littering same day as court date.
- State v. Barenholtz
Challenge to the state finding a man guity of obstruction for filming police activity.
- Colon v. Passaic County
Ongoing monitoring of settlement agreement with Passaic County requiring remedies for unsafe conditions at the Passaic County Jail.
- Marijuana Legalization
Legalizes possession and personal use of small amounts of Marijuana for persons age 21 and over.
- Medical Parole Expansion
Expands eligibility of medical parole to prisoners determined to be permanently incapable for performing basic daily functions of life and in need of 24-hour medical attention; creates presumption of release; requires medical parolees be provided assistance in applying for Medicaid upon release; requires Parole board to collect data on medical parole grants and denials.
- Expungement Reform
Reduces waiting period for eligibility for expungement of certain offenses; provides for automatic expungement of charges that did not result in conviction, as well as successful drug court graduates; expands eligibility of multiple offense expungement to one indictable offense and two disorderly persons offenses.
- Comprehensive Juvenile Justice Reform
Raises the minimum age for waivers from 14 to 15; eliminates some less serious crimes from the list of offenses subject to waiver; creates presumption that waived juveniles remain housed with juveniles until age 21; provides right to counsel and enhances due process protections before juveniles can be transferred from juvenile detention centers to adult prisons; eliminates use of solitary confinement except to protect health, safety, or the operation of a facility; mandates data collection and public reporting regarding the use of waiver and solitary confinement.
- Ending Overuse of Solitary Confinement
Prohibits Department of Corrections from housing in solitary confinement people under 22, people with mental illnesses, people with developmental disabilities, and other vulnerable populations. Limits, except in emergency situations, the use of solitary confinement for other prisoners to 15 consecutive days or 20 days in any 60 day period. Mandates data collection regarding the use of solitary confinement.
- Limits on Militarization of Police – Local Approval
Requires local unit approval of applications for participation in federal 1033 program.
- Limits on Militarization of Police – AG Oversight and Reporting
equires AG oversight of transfer of federal surplus military equipment to local law enforcement agencies; establishes review and reporting requirement.
- DNA Collection for Low-Level Offenses
Requires law enforcement to collect DNA samples from adults and juveniles convicted of certain non-criminal disorderly person offenses, including shoplifting and marijuana possession. This type of expansive collection will lead to massive government databases of New Jerseyans’ DNA, raising enormous privacy and due process concerns.
- Ban the Box
Prohibits large employers in most fields from conducting a criminal history inquiry of a job applicant until after a first interview
- Bail System Reform
Moves New Jersey’s bail system to a risk-based one and away from a wealth-based system that results in thousands of people facing long pre-trial jail sentences due to inability to afford bail. A system based on actual risk to the community—not ability to pay—better protects public safety, reduces jail overcrowding, keeps families together, and saves taxpayer resources.
- Marijuana Arrests in New Jersey (100kb PDF) (2013)
- Corzine on My Mind (2009)
- ACLU-NJ Urges AG to Revisit Flawed Directive (2007)
- AG's Guidance Needed On Cops and Immigrants (2007)
- Why Sex Offender Laws Do More Harm Than Good (2006)
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