What the ACDL-NJ Does


For more than 30 years, the ACDL-NJ has played a vital role in New Jersey's criminal justice system. The overarching mission of the ACDL-NJ, which it carries out through its Lawyers' Assistance programamicus representation, monitoring of legislation, presentation of events and CLE programs, and numerous other activities, is to secure the Constitutional rights guaranteed to all, and to defend these rights against government infringement or encroachment.

United States Constitution

Amendment IV
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Amendment V
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Amendment VI
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

Amendment VIII
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Amendment XIV, Section 1.
... No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Article 1, Section 9 
... The privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it. No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed....

No system of criminal justice can, or should, survive if it comes to depend for its continued effectiveness on the citizens abdication through unawareness of their constitutional rights. No system worth preserving should have to fear that if an accused is permitted to consult with a lawyer, he will become aware of, and exercise, these rights. If the exercise of constitutional rights will thwart the effectiveness of a system of law enforcement, then there is something very wrong with that system. 

- Escobedo v. Illinois, 378 U.S. 478 (1964)






“Surely, law enforcement would be easier without the Constitution, but that is not the way that the Framers chose.”

Justice Daniel J. O’Hern, 
State in Interest of T.L.O., 94 N.J. 331 (1983)

New Jersey State Constitution

Article I, "Rights and Privileges"
7. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated; and no warrant shall issue except upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the papers and things to be seized. 

8. No person shall be held to answer for a criminal offense, unless on the presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases of impeachment, or in cases now prosecuted without indictment, or arising in the army or navy or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger. 

9. The right of trial by jury shall remain inviolate.... 

10. In all criminal prosecutions the accused shall have the right to a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury; to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor; and to have the assistance of counsel in his defense. 

11. No person shall, after acquittal, be tried for the same offense. All persons shall, before conviction, be bailable by sufficient sureties, except for capital offenses when the proof is evident or presumption great. 

12. Excessive bail shall not be required, excessive fines shall not be imposed, and cruel and unusual punishments shall not be inflicted. It shall not be cruel and unusual punishment to impose the death penalty on a person convicted of purposely or knowingly causing death or purposely or knowingly causing serious bodily injury resulting in death who committed the homicidal act by his own conduct or who as an accomplice procured the commission of the offense by payment or promise of payment of anything of pecuniary value. 

13. No person shall be imprisoned for debt in any action, or on any judgment founded upon contract, unless in cases of fraud; nor shall any person be imprisoned for a militia fine in time of peace. 

14. The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, unless in case of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it. 

Article IV, Section VII
3.   The Legislature shall not pass any bill of attainder [or] ex post facto law....