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It has been reported that New Jersey leads the nation in bail reform, this the result of the Bail Reform Act (N.J. Pub Law 2014, Ch. 31), approved in August 2014 and authorized by a constitutional amendment which had been approved by the voters in 2014. In the past, bail in New Jersey could be denied only in “capital offenses when the proof is evident or presumption great.” (Art. I, par. 11). Persons charged with other types of offenses were entitled to bail on “sufficient sureties,” which could not be “excessive.” (Art. I, par. 11 and 12). Bail was set based on factors that included the risk of non-appearance, the likelihood of conviction, criminal record and the potential sentence. The result of the former system was that thousands of people languished in custody before trial only because they could not afford to raise the required bail.

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