New Jersey's Supreme Court is clarifying some of the ground rules of the state's new bail system that took effect in January.
The state's highest has ruled the defense should have access to documents and reports prosecutors rely on when seeking to hold violent defendants without bail until trial.
Alexander Shalom, the senior staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey says the decision sends a strong message that detention hearings need to be meaningful, adversarial proceedings.
"These are the hearings where the judge is making the decision about whether the person is going to get out or stay in. And so, in order to make that decision we want the judge and therefore the defense attorney to be armed with all the necessary information to make the appropriate arguments."
Shalom says the ruling affirms the due process rights of those accused of violent crimes.
The bail changes allow low-level defendants to be released without bail while awaiting trial.