TRENTON, N.J. – Assemblyman Jay Webber called upon Gov. Phil Murphy to exercise his gubernatorial power to pardon those cited for violating his executive orders after twice violating his own order that limits the size of gatherings amid the pandemic.
The state constitution says, “The governor may grant pardons and reprieves in all cases other than impeachment and treason, and may suspend and remit fines and forfeitures.”
On Wednesday, Webber (R-Morris) released the following statement:
“In both Hillside and Westfield last weekend, Governor Murphy violated his own Executive Order 148 concerning social distancing and outdoor gatherings of more than 25 people. In fact, he supplied the words and images to prove it. Since he ordered New Jersey into emergency status in mid-March and has been issuing executive orders, various citizens across the state have been criminally cited for violations of his orders. Indeed, almost every day at his briefings, there are announced new citations for purported violations. Cited citizens face imprisonment and fines upon conviction. Governor Murphy brazenly violated his own rules, then wrongly deflected accountability onto local law enforcement, and finally changed the rules to fit his own misconduct after the fact – all in about seventy-two hours. In light of those triple-standard gymnastics of self-absolution, the governor owes our citizens some consistency and clarity going forward. The governor should exercise his legal authority to compel dismissal of any pending criminal charges against any citizens who have been cited for violation of his orders and should pardon fully and absolutely any persons already convicted. Our citizens are entitled to equal protection of law, and the governor should show that he respects that principle by treating the rest of New Jersey the way he has treated himself by dismissing charges and pardoning citizens now.”