This Manual gives practitioners the guidance needed to achieve pretrial release for clients. It tells the story of how New Jersey came to reform its system of pretrial release and detention. It also presents the state's risk assessment instrument and a decision making framework, which courts use to determine whether, and under what conditions, to release the accused pretrial. Because litigating pretrial release has such a critical impact on outcomes in criminal cases, the Manual provides a tools for litigating pretrial release, including: the initial client interview; understanding the risk assessment, new statutes, and applicable constitutional protections; and utilizing New Jersey case law to promote pretrial release. The Manual also provides advice for how to advocate on behalf of a client at both detention hearings and hearings designed to set conditions of release, before turning to a discussion of problem areas, such as onerous conditions of release, costs of supervision, and the rights of domestic violence victims to receive notice of change of conditions. Finally, the Manual reviews the steps a practitioner must take to appeal an adverse decision.
NACDL News Release on the publication of the New Jersey pretrial release manual