‘Trenton has not done a damn thing.’ Mayor plans to sue state over bail reform

Mayor Tony Perry announced his plans to take on rising auto thefts by suing state officials who he says are to blame.

News 12 Staff

Jan 17, 2023, 5:57 PM

Updated 453 days ago

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The mayor of Middletown is suing the state of New Jersey following a rash of auto thefts over the last several years.
Mayor Tony Perry has been outspoken about how the crimes have affected the quality of life in town. He says they are also a rising cost to taxpayers. He says that the bail reform law is partly responsible for auto thefts rising 40% in the state since 2020.
"It is appalling. It is appalling that we are here today after so many months, after so many cases, after so many auto thefts - that we are standing here today and Trenton has not done a damn thing about it," Perry says.
The mayor – flanked by bipartisan officials – laid out a plan to address the rise in crime.
He wants bail reform amended to keep those accused of theft in jail before trial and tougher sentences for those convicted.
"This suit is simply to say, ‘You created a law in bail reform that is now creating a cost for the taxpayers of Middletown.’ Middletown is now suing saying, ‘You're not allowed to do that. This law is unconstitutional in the fact that you've created it, the township is now incurring a cost. Either you need to reform that law, or you need to pay for it,’” says Perry.
More than 14,300 vehicles were stolen in New Jersey in 2022. Many critics have placed blame on bail reform, dating back to the Christie administration. They cite weak penalties for those caught stealing cars, especially minors.
Monmouth County Sheriff Shaun Golden mentioned a daytime high-speed chase in Holmdel that happened this October. He says that two of the suspects were released immediately and that one of the suspects released a week later went on to steal a car once again.
“That ought to get your attention,” Golden says.
Legislation introduced by state Assembly members Vicki Flynn and Gerry Scharfenberger failed to pass committee.
"We can have a choice this year. We have a choice as to whether we want to be a nation and a state of laws or a nation and the state of chaos,” Perry says.
Perry says he wants Middletown residents and residents across the state to take action by going to SafeStreetsNJ.com and signing a petition
A spokesperson for Gov. Phil Murphy said in a statement, “This Administration has taken several steps to combat car theft in New Jersey over the past few years, which has resulted in a decrease in these crimes across our state. As the governor mentioned in his 2023 State of the State Address, from September through December 2022, car thefts were down 13% from the same four months of 2021. The governor will continue to work with his partners in the legislature to continue to drive these numbers down and create safer communities across our state.”


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