There has been much discussion about removing the right to bail in New Jersey for those charged with serious offenses if they're deemed a threat to the community by a judge - without any requirement of a conviction or any bona fide opportunity by the defense to challenge such classification.
This is a seriously bad idea. I know this because I have experienced a miscarriage of justice in a judicial system that already uses such standard: New Jersey's Juvenile Justice System.
At age 16, a mentally-ill middle aged man on probation for a making a bomb threat made a frivolous and highly inaccurate report to the police regarding a joke he overheard. The police failed to do a background check on this mentally disturbed man and as I result I was wrongly detained for a month in the Monmouth County Youth Detention Center for a crime I was clearly not guilty of.
Despite the fact I had numerous supporters who could have helped post bail, as a juvenile I was not given this option by the courts. I was detained because the prosecutor falsely argued that based on the charge I posed a threat to the community. This assertion was completely false and libelous, but the dysfunctional and ineffective Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office was not required to prove anything, nor did they care to do a proper investigation.
Wrongful arrests and convictions are all too common across America. Despite the fact I did nothing unlawful, my liberty was wrongly taken and I was forced to endure severe psychological trauma and physical assault as a result. Had I been able to post bail I would have been able to prove my innocence without being wrongly punished, taken out of school and now suffering from a lifetime of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Denying bail has been a disaster in the juvenile system and will be a train wreck if brought to the adult system. We must put constitutional rights above pseudo-populist politicians trying to score votes at the expense of our nation's values. Eric Hafner Toms River