I have read Ms. Staropoli’s letter defending bail reform. I see that Ms. Staropoli is a Policy Manager, I might guess she is a bail reform lobbyist, but I am pretty certain she is not from South Plainfield.
If Ms. Staropoli was from South Plainfield, she might know about Dawud Ward. Mr. Ward was arrested for breaking into a home on May Avenue in South Plainfield back in January and released one week later. Mr. Ward became a one man crime wave breaking into nearly a dozen homes throughout Central New Jersey only to be released after each burglary. It wasn’t until a public outcry of law enforcement officials and innocent victims that he was finally incarcerated after a burglary in Linden.
If Ms. Staropoli lived in South Plainfield she would probably have heard the name of Omar Perkins. Mr. Perkins was arrested in his Astor residence in South Plainfield also in January of 2017 with more than $50,000 worth of heroin and a 9mm handgun. Mr. Perkins was also released due to the bail reform changes. Feeling safer yet?
Lastly, if Ms. Staropoli lived in our community she may have heard about Douglas Baudriz-Diaz. Mr. Diaz was arrested for breaking into a Palmer Avenue home on May 22, 2017. He was released due to the new bail reform and then arrested less than 24 hours later for robbing a North Plainfield residence.
I am not an expert on setting state policy nor do I have an office in Trenton or Washington D.C. However, as a Councilwoman and resident of South Plainfield, I cannot see how any claim that bail reform has kept New Jersey safe from serious criminals can be based on reality. To me, having your home invaded and robbed is a serious crime. Perhaps policy experts should ask the residents on May and Palmer Avenue what they think? I never suggested the prior bail system was perfect but I think that policy experts will find that if they step out of their offices and into the real world and speak to local residents, officials and law enforcement officers they will hear them say that this system has produced far more disastrous accounts. Bail reform has threatened the safety of New Jersey communities and anyone that pretends otherwise is living in a world of make believe.