TRENTON – Senator Ronald L. Rice today said any pay increases for prosecutors in New Jersey also should include increments for legal aid lawyers who help the poor defend themselves.
“I don’t like it when the words, ‘concern for the poor and the indigent,’ get dropped from our vocabulary,” said Senator Rice, D-Essex.
Senator Rice said he was reacting to published reports that legislation is being prepared to give county prosecutors and their staffs their first pay raises in five years.
“I will be opposed to that legislation unless it is tied to increases for legal aid and programs which provide legal services to the poor which are run by Seton Hall and Rutgers universities,” said Senator Rice.
“There’s something wrong if the poor keep getting prosecuted without adequate legal support to defend themselves,” Senator Rice said. “If judges and prosecutors get raises, then I say the legal aid lawyers should get financial help too. I don’t mean to be nasty, but my point is, ‘what’s fair for prosecutors is fair for the lawyers who defend the poor.’ As a senator, I take my responsibility seriously to represent all the people.”