The three-judge panel continued in relevant part: Defendants argue that in passing the CJRA, the Legislature intentionally omitted a similar provision authorizing prosecution for contempt of court for a violation of a condition of pretrial release. In this regard, we note that when the legislation was first introduced, N.J.S.A. 2A:162-24 stated that: In addition to revocation of release as authorized by this section, a violation of a condition of pretrial release imposed pursuant to the CJRA or any other law, may subject the defendant to civil contempt, criminal contempt, forfeiture of bail, or any combination of these sanctions and any other sanctions authorized by law.
In addition, when the legislation was first introduced, N.J.S.A. 2A:162-15 stated that the Act: shall be liberally construed to effectuate the purpose of relying upon contempt of court proceedings or criminal sanctions instead of financial loss to ensure the appearance of the defendant, that the defendant will not pose a danger to any person or the community, and that the defendant will comply with all conditions of bail.
These provisions were deleted from the proposed statute and enacted into law. There is, however, no statement by a sponsor of the legislation or any legislative committee that explains why the references to criminal contempt initially proposed for inclusion were deleted.
In the absence of such a statement or some other evidence of legislative intent, it is reasonable to conclude that the members of the Legislature believed there was no need to include a provision in the CJRA similar to the provisions in the federal BRA and D.C. Code authorizing a criminal contempt prosecution for a violation of a pretrial release order. It is also reasonable to infer that the members of the Legislature believed a pretrial release order was a judicial order under N.J.S.A. 2C:29-9(a) and that statute sufficiently addressed the potential criminal consequences of a violation of a pretrial release order.
The fact that the provisions supporting a criminal contempt charge were deleted should be strong evidence that our Legislature never intended criminal contempt to be a potential penalty for a violation of the conditions of pretrial release. The Court’s reasoning regarding a lack of explanation for the deletions from the legislation’s sponsors is not persuasive. It is not reasonable to expect explanations for every piece of a proposed legislation that is deleted before a law is passed.