A PUBLISHER WRITES: At last, New Jersey criminals who are found to represent a clear danger to the public will be denied bail — if our lawmakers in Trenton do the right thing on Thursday.
CLIFFVIEW PILOT readers have seen story after story describing violent criminals arrested for hurting someone else while still facing charges in previous cases.
Look no further than Sean Banks, a poster child for repetitive offending.
Banks, a former Englewood basketball phenom, was on the lam for nearly three months before city police caught him eight weeks ago.
He was supposed to be sentenced after pleading guilty to assaulting and restraining his girlfriend but never showed up for court.
The assault occurred while Banks was out on bail for even more serious crimes in Bergen and Sussex counties — all of which could put him in prison for several years when/if they are eventually resolved.
These include burglarizing an Englewood woman’s home and then slashing her tires when she told him to leave.
Banks agreed to the guilty plea in November in return for a reduction in six counts against him following an incident in which prosecutors said he assaulted his girlfriend with a broomstick and belt, then restrained her from leaving.
Knowing that he was wanted, Banks laid low, city police said at the time. They tracked him down soon after — and he fought with them before being subdued, according to police reports.
Banks was grabbed three years ago with other members of an offshoot of the infamous James Bond Gang burglary ring following a high-speed police chase and crash after break-ins at homes in Sparta and Jefferson Township.
Charges in other crimes have been pending elsewhere, as well, including in Wayne.
His criminal history may be a joke to some but not to the victims — or to the police who constantly find themselves chasing Banks, often at risk to themselves or innocent citizens.
Banks’s criminal history began with charges of drunk driving and the gang-related marking of a girl with a cigarette. It got worse fast.
He was in an SUV that took off after being stopped for speeding in August 2011 a short time after a pair of nearby burglaries. The vehicle flipped during the chase, trapping him and three other men with him inside. Police recovered more than $20,000 worth of stolen goods.
Someone could have been killed at any point during that chase.
Since then, Banks has been arrested several times and made bail each time.
Our State Senate was already prepared to vote on the bail reform proposal this Thursday, but the Assembly couldn’t muster up enough bodies to do the same.
Gov. Christie took care of that by calling for a special legislative session.
Whatever your feelings about the governor, this issue matters.
Enough posturing. Enough delays. Fix the bail system, lawmakers.
Protect my loved ones, neighbors, friends. Protect the public servants who have to deal with those criminals who only grow more violent each time they’re released.
Do the right thing — now.