New Jersey’s system of pretrial release has long relied on monetary bail to ensure the presence of an accused person at trial. State v. Robinson, 160 A.3d 1, 5 (N.J. 2017). But in 2017, following an amendment to its Constitution, the New Jersey Criminal Justice Reform Act took effect. It replaced New Jersey’s former monetary bail system with a new framework that prioritizes the use of non-monetary conditions of release over monetary bail to secure a criminal defendant’s pretrial liberty.
Brittan Holland and Lexington National Insurance Corporation challenge this feature of the Reform Act as a violation of the Eighth Amendment, the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, and the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution. They seek a preliminary injunction enjoining Kelly Rosen, the Team Leader for Pretrial Services in the Criminal Division of the Superior Court of New Jersey, Mary E. Colalillo, the Camden County Prosecutor, and Christopher S. Porrino, the Attorney General of New Jersey, and their agents (for convenience we refer to the named officials and their agents collectively as the “State”), “from taking any actions to enforce statutory provisions [of the Reform Act] . . . that allow imposition of severe restrictions on the pre-trial liberty of presumptively innocent criminal defendants without offering the option of monetary bail.” Proposed Order of Plaintiffs Granting Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order and a Preliminary Injunction at 2, Holland v. Rosen, 277 F. Supp. 3d 707 (2017) (No. 17–4317).
After considering the standing of Holland and Lexington to bring suit, we conclude, as did the District Court (per Judge Simandle), that only the former may make the challenge here. On the merits, the question key to Holland’s contentions is whether there is a federal constitutional right to deposit money or obtain a corporate surety bond to ensure a criminal defendant’s future appearance in court as an equal alternative to non-monetary conditions of pretrial release. Our answer is no. Thus we affirm the District Court’s comprehensive and well-reasoned ruling.