State law makes most people who skip court immune from arrest

Acting New Jersey Attorney General Matthew Platkin last week announced a new policy aimed at reducing the time police officers spend on low-level warrants.

According to NJ Spotlight, police will no longer arrest residents with pending warrants in cases where bail is set at $500 or less.

A bank order is issued when a person fails to show up for a court date or otherwise “breaches the rules of the court”.

Platkin issued a statement that read: “Residents will no longer be subject to unnecessary and intrusive arrests for hundreds of thousands of outstanding low-level warrants — and officials across New Jersey will avoid spending time making and processing such arrests, which, by and large, do not promote public safety.”

This will allow police to “deploy law enforcement resources more efficiently and safely,” the statement said.


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Under the new order, the defendants will be “notified of a new court date and released at the scene.”

According to, this measure has broad support. It is supported by “the state’s Association of Police Chiefs, the ACLU, black clergy and the state’s largest police unions.”

The media outlet spoke to Sayreville Police Chief John Zebrowski, who said: “These are low-level crimes where city courts routinely issue new data. This policy allows police officers to remain on duty and on patrol by reducing the time they spend speaking to the public about county court warrants.”

Jeanne LoCicero, legal director for the New Jersey section of the American Civil Liberties Union, considers this “an important step in preventing unnecessary arrests and prison sentences that are destroying lives, jobs and families.”

There’s a big problem with this new mildness. It deprives the legal system of one of its most useful tools. What incentive is there for a defendant to show up for a court hearing or pay a fine if there are no consequences? Why should anyone bother to take responsibility for their actions?

Do you think it wise to allow defendants to skip scheduled court dates?

As for the argument that police no longer need to spend their valuable time and resources chasing down petty offenders, those courts that have set a specific period of time in their schedule to hear a particular case will be the ones whose time is due is wasted.

The move to relieve criminals of accountability for their actions has recently become a growing trend, particularly in democratically-run states.

Last year, lawmakers in deep blue Washington state passed House Bill 1054, a package of police reforms aimed at addressing racial disproportionality in policing, according to The Associated Press.


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One of the provisions of the law prohibits police from “pursuing at high speed except in very limited circumstances,” the AP reported.

Unfortunately, one of the effects of the law was that many drivers stopped stopping for police officers.

A Northwest News Network report cites data from the Washington State Patrol showing that 934 drivers have refused to stop for law enforcement since January.

WSP spokesman Sgt Darren Wright told the station: “Something has changed. People don’t stop now. It happens three to five times a shift some evenings and then a few times a week on the day shift.”

In November 2020, Oregon voters approved a measure to decriminalize possession of limited amounts of hard drugs, such as heroin, crack and methamphetamine. Offenders are issued subpoenas of no more than $100, which, according to Britain’s Daily Mail, “can be waived if the person calls a hotline for a health assessment. However, of the 1,885 people who received tickets for personal possessions in the first year, only 91 called the hotline.”

Oregon State Assemblyman Lily Morgan appeared on Fox News’ “Jesse Watters Primetime” Friday night to discuss how this initiative has made an impact. Watters found that the number of overdoses in one county increased by 520 percent.

“Overdoses are increasing and people are dying,” Morgan said. “We find that no one interferes with treatment,” was the goal of this ill-conceived program.

“Just today,” Morgan told Watters, “the Oregon State Police notified one of my judiciary committees that the amount of fentanyl they took off the streets in 2020 was 27,000 doses. But in 2021 it was over 482,000 cans.”

Washington State and Oregon are already suffering from their misguided pursuit of justice. I can’t imagine New Jersey doing much better.

At this point, the legal system becomes more and more of a suggestion system for criminals.

Small court appearances may not seem like a big deal, but when people are able to mock and ignore a court order without major repercussions, what’s stopping that attitude from catching on?

Passing laws and creating policies in the name of social justice is a bad idea. And it won’t end well. State law makes most people who skip court immune from arrest

Grace Reader

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