With many questions as yet unanswered, prosecutor’s offices around the state continue to gear up to meet the new requirements of the Criminal Justice Reform Act (N.J.S. 2A:162-15 et seq.), set to go into full force and affect January 1, 2017. Leveraging their InfoShare™ assets to create a collaborative online environment where police and prosecutors share information and documents, prosecutor’s offices are doing what they can to prepare for handling of the most serious offenders within the narrow confines of the new law’s requirements.
The first 72 hours after a serious violent offender has been arrested will be the crucial time when the offender’s release or pre-trial detention is determined by the court. Only in the most serious cases will there be a presumption of pre-trial detention by the court. The prosecutor must move for detention in almost all cases involving first and second degree crimes and show by clear and convincing evidence that no amount of monetary bail, non-monetary conditions, or combination thereof will ensure the defendant’s appearance in court, the safety of the community, and that the defendant will not obstruct the criminal justice process.
“CSI is working closely with our prosecutor’s office customers to help them take maximum advantage of Infoshare™’s line of products at the initial stages of the most serious criminal prosecutions,” states CSI VP Josh Ottenberg, an attorney who served as an assistant prosecutor in Camden County before joining CSI. “InfoShare™’s CJP/ Screening tools make available all the crucial information about a defendant and his new charges to screening attorneys, either at the push of a button from an InfoShare™ police RMS system, or after a simple upload procedure. This facilitates the ability of the prosecutor to make an informed decision about whether to move for pre-trial detention or allow the court to structure the conditions of the defendant’s release. In addition, by making it easy for the local police to provide the screening prosecutors with more of the related case documents, the prosecutor has a better chance to muster sufficient evidence without calling vulnerable witnesses to the stand in the preliminary stages of an investigation,” Ottenberg explains.
InfoShare™ helps the prosecutor’s office assemble and distribute the documentation necessary to successfully handle a detention hearing. Having made the decision to move for detention, the prosecutor must then muster witnesses and/or provide discovery to the courts and defense attorney in preparation for the hearing. InfoShare™’s eDiscovery products enable the prosecutor to package, redact and Bates stamp any group of documents in a case that has been given a Promis/Gavel number. The ability to push out documents to the other players in the criminal justice system is of particular importance in an environment where the risk assessment instrument that is to be the court’s principle guide in making the release decisions is intentionally blind when it comes to assessing the risk that the defendant will obstruct or attempt to obstruct the criminal justice process. N.J.S 2A: 162-25, Section 11 b (1) states that “[t]he risk assessment instrument shall not be required to include factors specifically pertaining to the risk for obstructing or attempting to obstruct the criminal justice process.” Prosecutors are completely on their own when it comes to mustering this crucial evidence needed to convince the court to detain a defendant.
As your organizations prepares to adjust for new bail reform legislation, call CSI so we can show you how InfoShare™’s Intelligence module, Fugitive module, Master Name Index and a host of other tools brings crucial information about the defendant within the reach of the prosecutor, helping him or her meet the burden of proof, and get the information into the hands of the court and defense.