Washington, DC (April 20, 2021)– The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) President Christopher W. Adams and the Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers of New Jersey (ACDL-NJ) President Aidan P. O’Connor released the following statement after Governor Murphy conditionally vetoed bill S3456 to repeal mandatory minimums for certain crimes.
Christopher W. Adams, President, NACDL & Aidan P. O’Connor, President, ACDL-NJ:
"Mandatory minimum sentencing statutes undermine the values of our criminal legal system, weaken judicial discretion in individual cases, and give prosecutors overwhelming power to bargain prison terms via coercive plea deals. We are disappointed Governor Murphy vetoed this bill, but encouraged by Attorney General Grewal’s directive requiring prosecutors to waive mandatory minimums for individuals accused of and serving time for nonviolent drug offenses, and by Senators Cunningham and Scutari’s persistence with the introduction of a new bill to remove mandatory minimum statutes for all nonviolent offenses from law. While we believe that mandatory minimums should be abolished, we urge the legislature to move swiftly to get this issue back on the Governor’s desk, as each further delay adds to the toll of excessive days of incarceration in state prisons and strengthens the trial penalty in New Jersey courts."