SENATE PASSES CODEY-SACCO BILL BARRING ATTORNEYS GENERAL AND CERTAIN PROSECUTORS FROM POLITICAL ACTIVITIES
LIVINGSTON – The Senate today passed S-3242, sponsored by Senator Richard J. Codey and Senator Nicholas J. Sacco, with overwhelming bipartisan support. The legislation would ban certain public officials from holding elected public office and participating in political activities during their tenure and for three years following it.
“Anybody who knows anything about criminal law knows that prosecutors have enormous power over deciding what cases their offices pursue. As Former Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Puccio of the Eastern District of NY is quoted with saying, ‘I could indict a ham sandwich,’” Senator Codey (D-Essex/Morris) said. “We need to know that a prosecutor is doing what is best for the people of our state. We should be sure that she or he isn’t making decisions based on what might help them in their future endeavors. This legislation will help to make sure that prosecutors are making choices based on the interest of the public and not their political careers.”
“The abuse of prosecutorial powers is one of the biggest threats to our democratic society, because when the power of law enforcement is used to settle political scores or push political agendas it undermines faith in the system of laws that our society is built on,” Senator Sacco (D-Hudson/Bergen) said. “Unfortunately, we have seen this happen time and time again, both here in our state and in other countries where the separation of law enforcement and politics has broken down. This legislation will put a safeguard on any abuse of prosecutorial power for political gain by preventing the people we entrust to prosecute crimes from using that career as a springboard to political office.”
“Anyone who doesn’t believe that in our recent history public officials in positions of trust have investigated or indicted people because of the benefit if might give them politically in the future needs to look again,” Senator Codey added. “If you don’t think this happens, you probably still accept that Chris Christie didn’t know anything about Bridgegate.”
The bill passed the Senate 36-0 with four members not voting.