Bail Reform Laws in New Jersey are being begrudgingly accepted by many across the state, but many others aren't ready to acquiesce and feel this measure needs more tweaking. 

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It costs Ocean County municipalities $500.00 every time they send their own public defender to the County Courthouse for a Disorderly Persons Case because state-appointed public-defenders aren't allowed to handle them.

"It's an expense and an inconvenience to these municipalities who have to send their local public defender to superior court, particularly when state public defenders are there in any event," said Barnegat Township Committeeman John Novak.

Ocean County Mayors seek an amendment to expand the state attorney's jurisdiction.

Novak who also serves as a public defender himself proposes sticking with the media already in place in the court rooms to help cut costs.

Video chats exists, he says,"where the judge and many times the public defender or a private attorney will be physically in the court room but the defendant whose incarcerated will be on the TV screen."

Ocean County Freeholder Director Joe Vicari believes the current bail reform laws in place aren't making us safer because dangerous criminals are being released.

"We're talking about sex-offenders, people dealing drugs or someone who has a weapon," said Vicari. "What's happening is, they're letting them out of jail."

Novak concurs with Vicari, adding that in his encounters with other public defenders it's hard to find many agreeing with the expense portion of the measure at a minimum.

"I hear nothing but complaints about how ineffective, inefficient and problematic this is," said Novak.

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Contact Reporter Vin Ebenau at 848-221-8100 or at

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