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December 29, 2004

Sentencing developments in New Jersey

Proving (as I suggested in my Sentencing Year in Review) that smaller media outlets are also doing a great job with sentencing stories, today at NorthJersey.com there is this fantastic article about sentencing developments in New Jersey. 

Noting the recent reform of the Rockefeller drug laws in New York (basics here, some commentary here), the article is focused primarily on the prospects for drug sentencing reform in New Jersey.  But, with a review of important sentencing data and many interesting quotes, the article covers a broad range of important sentencing reform topics (e.g., the piece notes there are "23,000 people in [NJ] state prisons — 35 percent of them locked up for drug-related convictions;" it quotes Ben Barlyn, executive director of the NJ sentencing commission saying "This country is in the midst of what is essentially a revolution with regard to sentencing law and practice [and] our mandatory minimum laws are going to be reviewed very carefully.").

Especially noteworthy is (1) the article's review of prosecutorial sentencing authority in the wake of a recent decision by state AG Peter Harvey to allow county prosecutors to offer plea deals without mandatory minimums, and (2) the article's report that the newly created New Jersey Sentencing Commission is soon expected to release its first report on state sentencing and to make recommendations to the NJ Legislature.  These developments, combined with the interesting way Blakely is developing in New Jersey (details here and here), makes the Garden State one to watch especially closely in the year ahead.

December 29, 2004 at 02:18 PM | Permalink


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