A.G. calls for immediate action on early release

TRENTON – Two early release inmates recently accused of murder have generated concern over a questionable law that allowed them out of prison. Questioned on Monday, Attorney General Paula Dow called for action on the flawed legislation.

State Sen. Joe Pennacchio, (R-26), of Montville, raised the concern as Dow testified before the Senate Budget Committee. He recalled the rushed nature of its passage in the lame duck term of Gov. Jon Corzine, who signed it “under duress,” Pennacchio said, and expected supplemental legislation to follow. It has not.

Dow said former A.G. Anne Milgrim “formally opposed” the bill at the time, and Dow agrees with the denouncement: “Well-intentioned, but ill-considered,” she said.

“I believe it should be something that’s corrected immediately,” she told the panel. “As currently structured, (released prisoners) should have ties in terms of parole when they come out.”

Several of the Democratic state senators on the budget committee voted in favor of the law – which passed 21-16 – though none were defending it today.

Ayes on the panel include state Sens. James Beach, (D-6), of Voorhees; Barbara Buono, (D-18), of Metuchen (absent today); Sandra Cunningham, (D-31), of Jersey  City; M. Teresa Ruiz, (D-29), of Newark; Brian Stack, (D-33), of Union City; and Jeff Van Drew, (D-1), of Cape May. None of the Republicans in the Senate voted in favor of the bill. A.G. calls for immediate action on early release