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Case Name In the Matter of the Request to Commute or Suspend County Jail Sentences CJ-NJ-0005
Docket / Court 084230 ( State Court )
State/Territory New Jersey
Case Type(s) Criminal Justice (Other)
Jail Conditions
Special Collection COVID-19 (novel coronavirus)
Attorney Organization ACLU Chapters (any)
Case Summary
COVID-19 Summary: This is an emergency order by the New Jersey Supreme Court, temporarily releasing about 1,000 pepole serving time in county jails.

This case involves the release of individuals held in New Jersey jails during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy ... read more >
COVID-19 Summary: This is an emergency order by the New Jersey Supreme Court, temporarily releasing about 1,000 pepole serving time in county jails.

This case involves the release of individuals held in New Jersey jails during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy declared a state of emergency on March 9, 2020 due to the threat of COVID-19 to public health and safety. On March 19, the New Jersey Office of the Public Defender wrote to the Supreme Court of New Jersey, requesting the Court to consider commuting or suspending the sentences of individuals serving time in county jails as part of their probation or because of a municipal court conviction.

A group of criminal justice organizations, including both the Office of the Public Defender and the ACLU of New Jersey, created a proposed order that would temporarily release up to 1,000 people incarcerated in county jails in hopes of reducing the spread of the virus within the jail system. The order’s proponents then conducted mediation with the Office of the Attorney General and the County Prosecutors Association before Judge Philip S. Carchman.

On March 22, 2020, the Supreme Court of New Jersey approved the proposed order, requiring the release of a designated set of incarcerated persons from county jail by 6:00 am on Tuesday, March 24, 2020. This group would include individuals serving a county jail sentence either as a condition of probation or as the result of a municipal court order. The remaining individuals in the custody of county jails—except for individuals whose release was objected to by either the County Prosecutors or the Attorney General—would be released on Thursday, March 26, 2020. The order provided additional stipulations, such as requiring that all incarcerated persons who either tested positive for COVID-19 or displayed symptoms be isolated and not released and establishing special procedures for individuals connected with cases of domestic violence. It also suspended outstanding warrants for all but the most serious crimes.

The jail sentences would be suspended until the end of the Public Health Emergency in the state of New Jersey.

On March 23, 2020, the court amended its consent order to add in procedures for inmates who lacked a safe place to go upon release.

Elizabeth Helpling - 03/27/2020


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Defendant-type
Corrections
Medical/Mental Health
COVID-19 Mitigation Granted
COVID-19 Release Granted
COVID-19 Release Requested
Plaintiff Type
Non-profit NON-religious organization
State Plaintiff
Special Case Type
Appellate Court is initial court
Non-court arbitration/mediation
Causes of Action State law
Plaintiff Description Office of the Public Defender and ACLU-NJ on behalf of individuals incarcerated in county jail.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Chapters (any)
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Release consent order
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Filed 03/19/2020
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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  1,000 Inmates Will Be Released From N.J. Jails to Curb Coronavirus Risk
New York Times
Date: Mar 2020
By: Tracey Tully (New York Times)
Citation: Tracey Tully, 1,000 Inmates Will Be Released From N.J. Jails to Curb Coronavirus Risk, NY Times (Mar. 23, 2020), https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/23/nyregion/coronavirus-nj-inmates-release.html?action=click&module=Latest&pgtype=Homepage
[ Detail ] [ PDF ] [ External Link ]

  In the Matter of the Request to Commute or Suspend County Jail Sentences
https://www.aclu-nj.org/files/5415/8496/4744/2020.03.22_-_Consent_Order_Filed_Stamped_Copy-1.pdf
Date: Mar 2020
By: Stuart Rabner, Supreme Court of New Jersey (Supreme Court of New Jersey)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
Amended Consent Order
CJ-NJ-0005-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/23/2020
Source: ACLU
Consent Order
CJ-NJ-0005-0001.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 03/24/2020
Source: Public.Resource.Org
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Judges Rabner, Stuart Court not on record show/hide docs
CJ-NJ-0005-0001 | CJ-NJ-0005-0002
Plaintiff's Lawyers Krakora, Joseph E (New Jersey) show/hide docs
CJ-NJ-0005-0001
Shalom, Alexander (New Jersey) show/hide docs
CJ-NJ-0005-0001
Defendant's Lawyers Grewal, Gurbir S. (New Jersey) show/hide docs
CJ-NJ-0005-0001
Onofri, Angelo J (New Jersey) show/hide docs
CJ-NJ-0005-0001

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