Chris Christie on Crime



De-criminalizing drug use has reduced prisoner population

Four years ago I also stood in this chamber and called for us to fundamentally change the way we treat nonviolent criminals who are in the thralls of the disease of addiction.

Through the reforms we delivered, like mandatory drug court, we have a smaller prison population today and we are closing a traditional state prison--Mid-State Prison--which I propose today that we open as a fully dedicated, certified drug abuse treatment facility for New Jersey prison inmates.

Source: 2016 State of the State speech to New Jersey legislature , Jan 12, 2016

Police officers are afraid to enforce the law

Let's talk about something that happened this week in the news. The president's appointed FBI director has said this week that because of a lack of support from politicians like the president of the United States, that police officers are afraid to get out of their cars; that they're afraid to enforce the law. And he says, the president's appointee, that crime is going up because of this.

And when the president of the United States gets out to speak about it, does he support police officers? Does he stand up for law enforcement? No, he doesn't.

I'll tell you this, the number one job of the president of the United States is to protect the safety and security of the American people. This president has failed, and when I'm in the Oval Office, police officers will know that they will have the support of the president of the Untied States. That's real moral authority that we need in the Oval Office.

Source: GOP `Your Money/Your Vote` 2015 CNBC 1st-tier debate , Oct 28, 2015

Justice department should stop picking winners & losers

Q: As a former prosecutor, do you believe the GM people responsible for the bad switch and the cover up belong behind bars?

A: You bet they do. This Justice Department has been a political Justice Department. It's been a Justice Department that's decided that they want to pick who the winners and losers are. They like General Motors, so they give them a pass. If they don't like somebody else, like David Petraeus, they prosecute them and send a decorated general on to disgrace.

Source: GOP "Your Money/Your Vote" 2015 CNBC 1st-tier debate , Oct 28, 2015

Community policing will avoid African-American police deaths

Q: There have been a lot of cases this year with traffic pullovers that ended up with a black citizen dead, killed by the police officer. Do we have a problem here? Is there a problem nationally with police not treating African-Americans fairly?

A: I think that there's a problem across the country with our citizens and our police force interacting with each other in a positive, constructive way. We need to engage in a different way. And you see what we have done in Camden. There we brought in an entirely new police force and we trained them in a different way in community policing.

Q: Recently Hillary Clinton said, "race still places a significant role in determining who gets ahead in America and who gets left behind"; do you agree?

A: I think there's still racism in our society. And every leader in our country should be speaking out against that and should be doing everything we can to provide opportunity for everyone.

Source: CNN SOTU 2015 interview series: 2016 presidential hopefuls , Aug 2, 2015

Strict bail for violent offenders; free bail for non-violent

I proposed two common-sense reforms to refocus New Jersey's bail system on whether a person poses a danger. These changes finally allow New Jersey courts to keep dangerous criminals off the streets and in jail until trial. In August 2014, I signed a law that created non-monetary alternatives allowing for the release of low-level offenders while they wait for trial. And in November, our citizens voted to pass a bipartisan ballot initiative that I championed to amend our state constitution and allow judges to deny bail for dangerous offenders, keeping them behind bars while they wait for trial.

Our constitution had been interpreted to require judges to set bail amounts for all offenders--even if judges thought they should be kept behind bars because they were dangerous.6 Judges should be able to look at defendants' criminal history, determine whether they pose a potential danger to other individuals--witnesses or innocent citizens on the streets--and then decide whether bail makes sense.

Source: Brennan Center for Justice essays, p. 21 , Apr 28, 2015

Ban the Box: no criminal background check for job applicants

In 2014, I also signed legislation to "ban the box" and end employment discrimination against people with criminal records.10 The Opportunity to Compete Act limits employers from conducting criminal background checks on job applicants until after a first interview has taken place. This will make a huge difference to people who have paid their debts to society and want to start their lives over again. They now have the opportunity to do that in our state.
Source: Brennan Center for Justice essays, p. 22 , Apr 28, 2015

Bail reform: Keep dangerous criminals in jail until trial

We must do everything we can to swiftly jail those violent criminals who bring additional murder and disruption to innocent victims. Almost two years ago, I announced a proposed constitutional amendment to modify the right to bail in NJ. The concept is simple: NJ courts should have the right to keep dangerous criminals off the streets and in jail until trial.

Why is this important? A study by the federal government's Justice Department found that 1/3 of defendants released before trial ended up being charged with some type of pre-trial misconduct. 1/6 were arrested for a new offense--and half of those were felonies.

The federal government allows a violent criminal who is a danger to the community to be held without bail. NJ law does not. This must change. How can we justify exposing our citizens to the risk of violent crime at the hands of those, already in custody, who we know are disposed to commit it? There is no justification for that. Let us mirror federal law. Pass bail reform now.

Source: 2014 State of the State address to N.J. Legislature , Jan 14, 2014

1994: Pushed for faster construction of county jail

1994: Pushed for faster construction of county jail Christie hit the campaign trail, seeking to be a Morris County freeholder, which is similar to a county councilman or commissioner. Christie's team went after county management, especially regarding the slow progress in construction of a new jail. It
Source: Rise to Power, by B. Ingle & M. Symons, p. 47-48 , Jun 5, 2012

Increased criminal convictions each year from 2002 to 2007

Increased criminal convictions each year from 2002 to 2007 As US attorney, every year from 2002 through 2007, his office recorded more criminal convictions than the year before. There were more than 1,000 convictions for violent crime, including 800 convictions of felons illegally using firearms. He used RICO
Source: Rise to Power, by B. Ingle & M. Symons, p. 80 , Jun 5, 2012

1995 juvenile justice plan: individualized to child's needs

1995 juvenile justice plan: individualized to child's needs Christie was the freeholder board's liaison to the county Department of Human Services, and in that role looked often to the private sector and to shared services as a way to keep costs down. For instance, the board privatized a center that helped 1995 juvenile justice plan: individualized to child's needs a troubled child's individual needs, rather than given in blocks to community-based agencies. "It really stands the traditional system on its head.
Source: Rise to Power, by B. Ingle & M. Symons, p. 53 , Jun 5, 2012

2002: Aggressive political campaign for US Attorney position

A graduate of the University of Delaware and Seton Hall Law School, Christie--who doesn't do things halfway--waged an aggressive campaign for the top federal law enforcement job in the state. The US Attorney is a political appointee of the president, and Christie received widespread backing from prominent NJ Republican leaders. Opponents to the nomination, though, argued that Christie was, at best, ill prepared to be US Attorney in an office with a reputation for its independence and known for high-profile cases ranging from espionage and political corruption to white-collar crime and health-care fraud. The executive committee of the Federal Bar Association of NJ passed a unanimous resolution urging the president to nominate a candidate with law enforcement experience.

Christie ultimately won Senate confirmation and was sworn in as the state's top federal law enforcement official in January 2002.

Source: The Jersey Sting, by Sherman & Margolin, p. 81-82 , Apr 10, 2012

OpEd: Loved decrying officials trading on elected office

The race for governor was in its final, frenzied months and Jon Corzine and Chris Christie were at the center, slugging it out now like street brawlers.

Corzine's very weakness had lured Christie into the race and the former prosecutor loved calling the incumbent timid. It drove Corzine bananas. In 7 tears running the US Attorney's office, Christie fully inhabited--and basked in--the role of chief federal lawman in NJ. You could see it on his face. In his strut. He loved the news conferences on courthouse steps to decry another public official trading on elected office. He eagerly traversed the state for speaking engagements in all corners, no matter how long the drive. And he was the rage of the press who provided clippings that wouldn't stop. Lengthy TV interviews with him trumpeting his efforts to clean up corruption and gangs. Announcement after announcement, laying out stings that nailed politicians, informants who fingered politicians, greed that destroyed politicians.

Source: The Jersey Sting, by Sherman & Margolin, p.269 , Apr 10, 2012

Prosecuted international scheme for human organ sales

There was someone in the Orthodox community in Brooklyn brokering human kidney transplants for about $150,000 a pop. As the story went, the broker would find donors in Israel and for the right price hook them up with people who needed transplants for operations here in the US.

"You're kidding me," Christie said. They were not. Christie said almost jokingly, "That's definitely against the law, right?" His chief counsel nodded.

On Capitol Hill, the National Organ Transplant Act became law in 1984, spelling out the prohibition, though leaving the issue somewhat vague: "It shall be unlawful for any person to knowingly acquire, receive or otherwise transfer any human organ for valuable consideration for use in transplantation." No one had ever been prosecuted under the statute. If the prosecutor made a case, it was going to be a first.

Christie did not authorize it right away. It took several months to get the US Attorney's office to sign off on the approach.

Source: The Jersey Sting, by Sherman & Margolin, p.136-137 , Apr 10, 2012

Bail reform package: jail violent offenders before trial

We can only improve our quality of life by keeping the most violent criminals off the streets. So, I ask you to approve my bail reform package, which would mirror the federal system. It would keep offenders with a history of violence who are a danger to our communities in jail until the time of their trial, instead of releasing them into society to prey on the public.

This may require a constitutional amendment but it is reform that is long overdue. Do you know that if a person is arrested with a long record of violence we cannot detain that person in jail pending trial? We must release that person, regardless of how dangerous they are to potential witnesses against them or innocent members of our society. Let us amend our bail laws to allow judges to consider the factor of dangerousness to our communities before we release a violent person back on to the street to maim or kill while they await trial. This is just simple common sense.

Source: N.J. 2012 State of the State Address , Jan 17, 2012

Disallow charging sexual assault victims for forensic exams

Gov. Christie today signed legislation ensuring that sexual assault victims are not responsible for costs of forensic examinations. Currently, each county provides forensic examinations by a physician or certified forensic sexual assault nurse examiners.

"Sexual assault is a violent crime and its victims must be treated with respect and compassion," said Gov. Christie. "This legislation ensures the needs of assault victims are met appropriately and without cost and that forensic evidence is collected and handled correctly."

S-972 requires Victims of Crime Compensation Agency (VCCA) to revise their crime victim booklets to state that victims of sexual assaults will not be charged any fees for services associated with a forensic sexual assault examination. Services associated with these exams include routine medical screenings, medications for sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy tests. The legislation takes effect immediately.

Source: Press release, "Victims of Sexual Assault" , Aug 18, 2011

As US Attorney, won 130 corruption cases and lost none

Christie was sworn in as US Attorney on January 17, 2002, but not without controversy. Some critics argued that Christie lacked criminal law experience while others pointed to his appointment as a political payoff for his fundraising efforts on behalf of President Bush. We must do everything we can to swiftly jail those violent criminals who bring additional murder and disruption to innocent victims. Almost two years ago, I announced a proposed constitutional amendment to modify the right to bail in NJ. The concept is simple: NJ courts should have the right to keep dangerous criminals off the streets and in jail until trial.

Why is this important? A study by the federal government's Justice Department found that 1/3 of defendants released before trial ended up being

Source: Link , Feb 17, 2011

Stand against child pornography and human trafficking

Above all, I am committed to protecting the most vulnerable in our society. As U.S. Attorney, I took an unprecedented stand against child pornography and human trafficking--breaking up criminal rings around the world. These crimes are not only despicable, they erode the moral fiber of our society and cannot be tolerated. As Governor, my vested interest in protecting those that are unable to fight for themselves will continue with a forceful hand.
Source: 2009 Gubernatorial campaign website, christiefornj.com , Jul 21, 2009

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Page last updated: Jun 15, 2016