Cowboys v. Eagles Brawl Spawns N.J. Bail Challenge

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By Perry Cooper

A New Jersey law supported by Gov. Chris Christie unconstitutionally denies bail to criminal defendants, a class complaint filed June 14 alleges ( Holland v. Rosen , D.N.J., No. 17-4317, complaint filed 6/14/17 ).

Dallas Cowboys fan Brittan Holland was charged with assault after a bar fight with a Philadelphia Eagles fan. A court ordered Holland to be released wearing a GPS ankle monitor pending trial, without the option of release on bail.

Holland and surety company Lexington National Insurance Co. challenged the Criminal Justice Reform Act, the New Jersey law underlying the court’s release conditions.

The law, which took effect Jan. 1, 2017, requires courts to consider more restrictive release conditions before setting bail. It’s intended to benefit defendants who can’t afford to post bail.

But it also restricts the pre-trial liberty of defendants, who are innocent until convicted, Holland argues.

Holland brought in Supreme Court heavyweight and former U.S. Solicitor General Paul Clement to represent the 1,286 potential class members. He seeks an order preventing the state from enforcing the law and monetary relief for class members who suffered compensable harm because of the restrictions.

The Camden County prosecutor’s office didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Kirkland & Ellis LLP and Robinson Miller LLC represent the criminal defendants.

To contact the reporter on this story: Perry Cooper in Washington at pcooper@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steven Patrick at spatrick@bna.com

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