JERSEY CITY – The deal to make Phil Murphy the northern county Democratic nominee for governor came swiftly last year in the aftermath of the bow-out from the pre-primary contest of Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop.
Hudson folded into Murphy world amid rumors of the power players here getting the principal’s ear on courtesy for attorney general. If Speaker Vincent Prieto (D-32) gets iced, the Murphy administration will presumably have to shore up those Hudson pooh-bahs who will want something in return within the grander architecture of Trenton power.
A prime suspect for that ascent in a new Democratic regime if Murphy wins the governorship is Esther Suarez, the Hudson County prosecutor, who appeared on the steps of city Hall here this afternoon in vigorous support of legislation by senators Brian P. Stack (D-33) and Sandy Cunningham (D-31). The senators’ proposal would close a loophole in bail reform that as it exists in many cases allows violent offenders charged with illegal gun possession to get released back into the community prior to trial.
Michael Hill, news correspondent for NJTV News, promptly put Suarez through her paces with detailed, question after rapid fire uncompromising question.
“If you look at the spirit of the law right now, only in the most egregious occasions should someone be detained. and that’s the way it’s written,” said Suarez, standing with the senators and Mayor Steven Fulop. “Those most egregious cases are if someone is charged with murder or if someone is facing life in prison. In order to stay with the spirit of the law – we thought – the senators thought, I should say, they believed, and I agree with them, that possessing firearms is one of the most egregious because oftentimes that leads to someone facing life in prison.”
Hill pushed back.
“If someone is very dangerous, they should be detained,” Suarez said. “It should not be based on whether or not they can make the monetary bail. The presumption right now is that on most occasions individuals are released, and the state has to convince the judge and that’s our job to do it. Now that the law will be changed, that presumption will be changed. It will be the defendant or the defense counsel to convince the judge that the individual is not a danger to the community. They have that opportunity in court – just as we have that opportunity.”