A New Jersey high school teacher has been charged with sexually assaulting three of her students. The teacher faces multiple counts of endangering the welfare of a child and aggravated sexual assault. She faces 30 counts that involve three male students, all of whom are 15 years old.
The prosecutor’s office reports that the teacher, employed for nine years in Maplewood, allegedly engaged in vaginal and oral sex with her students. The reports say that incidents occurred in her car or on school premises. Bail was set at $500,000. She is being held in custody.
New Jersey Leads the U.S. in Current Bail Reform
While we don’t know for certain that the accused decided to remain in jail because she can’t make bail, a half million dollars is a substantial sum. In most U.S. states, the cash bail system might meet that a defendant with insufficient financial resources stays in jail as a better off defendant goes free.
This year, a new bail model went into effect to address the disparities in New Jersey.
However, some judges argue that if bail is set at $500,000 or a million dollars—and he or she suspects that the defendant can’t post the bail, it’s an excessive sum. An experienced criminal defense attorney might argue that it violates the “presumption of innocence” doctrine and/or the U.S. Constitution’s Eighth Amendment
Abolishment of Cash Bail for Nonviolent Defendants in New Jersey
The new bail reform in New Jersey was passed to remove the requirement of cash bail for many nonviolent defendants. In addition, the new system allows the court to monitor those defendants it releases—and requires prosecutors to bring cases to trial faster.
Governor Christie has said, “The criminal justice system (in New Jersey) permits judges to keep dangerous sociopaths behind bars but provides a means to release non-violent offenders who remain in custody because they’re poor.”
The question to consider in the above-referenced example of a teacher accused of aggravated sexual assault and child endangerment is—Does she pose a serious threat to public safety?
Did the judge set bail at a level he or she believed the defendant couldn’t meet?
Contact an Experienced New Jersey Criminal Defense Lawyer
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney/client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.