This summer, NJ’s Sentencing Commission, both Chambers, and Governor Murphy agreed to significant criminal justice reform bills that included an important push to rid NJ of biased and racist inequities related to mandatory minimum sentences. Addressing this national problem, NJ’s Sentencing Committee recommended removing mandatory miminums from several offences. Everyone seemed to agree, until State Senator Nicholas Sacco and Senate President Sweeney changed their minds.
Senator Sacco submitted a late amendment to the bills, tacking on removing the mandatory minimum sentence for Official Misconduct which would be used to charge elected officials like him for abusing their elected office while committing a crime. In a recent Op-Ed, he defended his late amendment, which was originally anonymous, but failed to mention another potential motive for his amendment. Senator Sacco’s girlfriend’s son is actively facing Official Misconduct charges.
Since their inception these bills have been about racial justice. We now have white, connected politicians making it about them. With such a toxic amendment, Speaker Coughlin and the Assembly rightfully won’t vote on the bill, stalling these reforms inches from the finish line. Tell Senator Sacco and Senate President Sweeney to drop Sacco’s amendment and move criminal justice reform forward.