Governor Phil Murphy

Joint Statement from Governor Murphy, Senator Ron Rice, Assemblywoman Shanique Speight, and Chief Justice Deborah Poritz in Support of Legislation to Broaden the Scope of the Criminal Sentencing and Disposition Commission


“In order to more effectively address the undeniable presence of racial bias in our current criminal justice system, we must more fully understand the nature and extent of this problem. The State’s current Criminal Sentencing and Disposition Commission has already demonstrated its exceptional ability for this task when it issued its first report in November 2019, which produced a series of recommendations to eliminate racial disparity and unfairness in criminal sentencing. Both the Administration and Legislature embraced these proposals and many of them became law earlier this year. Enacting the remainder of the Commission’s recommendations as proposed is imperative as we move forward in tackling disparities in the criminal justice system.

To prevent unnecessary duplication and bolster the work of the current Commission, we’ve worked closely together to replace AJR172 with legislation that would expand membership on the Commission to include representation from the Legislative Black Caucus and Legislative Latino Caucus. This legislation would also direct the Commission to conduct in-depth analysis of disparities in more ‘front-end’ areas of the criminal justice process, such as policing, access to criminal defense legal representation, and jury selection processes. Importantly, it would give a permanent home to the exploration of relevant data, research, and policies to inform solutions that advance our shared goal to meaningfully transform people’s lives and reaffirm New Jersey’s position as national leader on front-end criminal justice reforms.”

A copy of the Governor’s Absolute Veto of AJR172 can be found here

A copy of the draft legislation can be found here.