Suit by Mother of Murder Victim Challenges NJ Bail Reforms

June Rodgers alleges that the state should be held responsible after her son was shot and killed in April by a convicted felon who had been released without bail a few days earlier following an arrest for illegally possessing a handgun.

The mother of a man allegedly killed this year by a repeat criminal offender filed suit Monday in federal court in New Jersey, seeking to end the state’s criminal justice reforms, reports New Jersey Spotlight. The suit by June Rodgers seeks damages for the death of her son, Christian, 26, who was shot on April 9 in Vineland. The suit names Gov. Chris Christie and state Attorney General Christopher Porrino, among others. Authorities have charged Jules Black, 30, in the slaying. He had been arrested by state police just four days earlier and charged with illegally possessing a handgun. The lawsuit states that Black had multiple felony convictions, including resisting arrest, burglary and drug offenses.

The Rodgers suit is the latest legal effort to upend the state’s reforms, which began Jan. 1 and have pitted civil liberties advocates against the bail bonds industry and some in law enforcement. Bankrolling the suit is Nexus Services, a company involved in federal immigrant bail securitization and ankle monitoring. Under the old New Jersey arrest protocols, those accused of a serious crime were held in jail unless they paid bail. The reforms call for accused criminals to be released without bail, with varying degrees of monitoring. The prosecutor did not seek detention of Black following a risk assessment on his gun arrest, and he was released.