Statement on Holland vs Rosen
by Jeff Clayton, Executive Director of the American Bail Coalition
Camden, NJ – Today, in the case of Holland v. Rosen, where the Plaintiffs are challenging the constitutionality of New Jersey’s reformed bail system, the judge issued an order denying the motion for preliminary injunction filed by the Plaintiffs. While this is a setback in terms of the Plaintiffs’ ability to ultimately succeed on the merits in this case, the case is far from over as the judge noted in his order. A preliminary injunction is “extraordinary” relief, and for that reason the law generally disfavors the granting of such injunctions in favor instead of having cases be resolved via dispositive motions or a trial on the merits.
While we have not spoken to the Plaintiffs, we believe the Plaintiffs are currently evaluating whether to file an interlocutory appeal, meaning an immediate appeal of this order, or whether to proceed forward on the merits. Plaintiffs could certainly opt to do that.
In reviewing the order, it appears to us that the judge believes a case of this nature could succeed. He held that Plaintiff Holland had standing to bring the case, that the Civil Rights Act of 1871 was the proper vehicle to bring the case, and that the claims were properly before the Court. While we think the analysis on the Eighth Amendment was erroneous vis-a-vis the individual’s right to bail under the Eighth Amendment, we think the debate over the meaning of the Eighth Amendment is far from settled.
Instead, the key reason, it appears, that Judge Simandle denied the preliminary injunction seemed to hinge on one key factor: that Plaintiff Holland agreed to the conditions imposed upon him that he now seeks to challenge. In other words, while the Civil Rights Act of 1871 does not require that he exhaust his claims in state court, here he actually agreed to them. Of course, he did so with a gun of sorts to his head. He was faced with the choice of being preventatively detained by the state with no bail for the entire pendency of the case if he did not agree to all of the various other conditions he faced. That fact did not, however, seem to faze Judge Simandle.
Judge Simandle has now set a further briefing schedule, and the case will continue to proceed toward trial. While proponents of New Jersey bail reform will trumpet this case as an Iwo Jima of sorts, the truth is this case is far from over.
Paul Clement, former US Solicitor General, who is representing plaintiff Holland is quoted in an article in NJ.com as saying that the case is “far from over.”