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NOTICE: In the Matter of Request to Commute or Spend Certain County Jail Sentences

This matter having come before the Court on the request for relief by the Office of the Public Defender (see attached letter dated March 19, 2020), seeking the Court’s consideration of a proposed Order to Show Cause (see attached) designed to commute or suspend county jail sentences currently being served by county jail inmates either as a condition of probation for an indictable offense or because of a municipal court conviction; and

The Court, on its own motion, having relaxed the Rules of Court to permit the filing of this request for relief directly with the Supreme Court, based on the dangers posed by COVID-19, and the statewide impact of the nature of the request in light of the Public Health Emergency and State of Emergency declared by the Governor. See Executive Order No. 103 (2020) (Mar. 9, 2020);

And for good cause shown; it is

ORDERED that the Attorney General, County Prosecutors Association, Municipal Prosecutors Association, the Office of the Public Defender, the Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers of New Jersey, the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey, and any other interested party should file, by PDF submission to the Supreme Court Emergent Matter inbox, simultaneous briefs on or before noon on March 23, 2020, addressing the issue of why an Order should not be entered:

  1. Immediately releasing any defendant currently serving a county jail sentence as a condition of probation, such that the custodial portion of the sentence shall either be served at the conclusion of the probationary portion of the sentence or converted into a “time served” condition, at the discretion of the sentencing judge, after input from counsel.
  2. Immediately releasing any defendant serving a county jail sentence as a result of a municipal court conviction, such that the custodial portion of the sentence shall be suspended until the conclusion of the COVID-19 pandemic or deemed satisfied, at the discretion of the sentencing judge, after input from counsel.
  3. Granting such other relief as the court deems equitable and just.

And it is further ORDERED that the Attorney General, County Prosecutors Association, the Office of the Public Defender, and the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey show cause on March 24, 2020 at 2:00 p.m., why an Order should not be entered in accordance with the terms outlined above. Counsel shall appear virtually, in coordination with the Clerk’s Office, and each shall have fifteen minutes to make their oral presentations to the Court.

And it is further ORDERED that the Attorney General, County Prosecutors Association, the Office of the Public Defender, and the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey, shall appear for a conference call with the Clerk of the Supreme Court, Heather Joy Baker, at 12:30 p.m. today, March 20, 2020.

And it is further ORDERED that the Attorney General, County Prosecutors Association, the Office of the Public Defender, and the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey, represented by their respective principals or a high-level designee, shall engage in mediation before the Honorable Philip S. Carchman, J.A.D. (ret.) beginning at 2 p.m. today, March 20, 2020.

 

For the Court,

/s/

Chief Justice Stuart Rabner

In the Matter of the Request to Commute or Suspend County Jail Sentences.pdf