News Release

New Jersey’s and Nation’s Criminal Defense Bar Statement on Gov. Murphy’s Veto of Legislation Repealing Mandatory Minimums for Certain Offenses

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."


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Kate Holden, NACDL Public Affairs and Communications Associate, (202) 465-7624 or

The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers is the preeminent organization advancing the mission of the criminal defense bar to ensure justice and due process for persons accused of crime or wrongdoing. A professional bar association founded in 1958, NACDL's many thousands of direct members in 28 countries – and 90 state, provincial and local affiliate organizations totaling up to 40,000 attorneys – include private criminal defense lawyers, public defenders, military defense counsel, law professors and judges committed to preserving fairness and promoting a rational and humane criminal legal system.

The Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers of New Jersey was established in 1985 and has since become the primary organized voice for the criminal defense bar in New Jersey. It consists of more than 500 members across the state, assisting each other to become effective advocates on behalf of criminal defendants. It serves its members and clients through continuing legal education, amicus briefs, events and by otherwise promoting fair and equal justice for individuals impacted by the criminal legal system.