New Jersey State Bar Association
Board of Trustees Report
May 19, 2021
Note: This is a summary of the recent Board of Trustees meeting, which was held virtually due to the ongoing public health pandemic. This report does not constitute official minutes.
Landlord/Tenant Committee Report: The Board voted to send comments to the Supreme Court regarding its Landlord Tenant Committee Report. The Board agreed with the majority of the Special Committee’s proposed changes to the process for handling landlord tenant matters, but approved submitting some suggested alterations based on comments from relevant NJSBA groups. Overall, the Board noted the process set forth by the Special Committee increases access to the judicial system, is fair to all parties, and treats litigants with dignity and respect. While the process that is recommended may take a longer, both landlords and tenants will benefit from a structured exchange of information, enhanced opportunities for resolution, and, if need be, a more focused trial. The NJSBA Trustees also recommended that the Judiciary engage in community outreach to educate individuals about what to expect in landlord tenant proceedings and where to find resources for assistance. The Association also committed to doing the same within the legal profession, and the broader community.
Commission on Racial Equity in the Law: The NJSBA Commission on Racial Equity in the Law (COREL) submitted an interim report to the Board. The Board affirmed its continued dedication to seeing the work of COREL into reality.
State v. Cassidy: The Board agreed that the Association would reach out to the Judiciary and Attorney General to inquire about the status of pending municipal court post-conviction relief motions filed in the wake of State v. Cassidy, which called into question DWI convictions obtained using certain Alcotest machines that were not calibrated properly. The NJSBA will urge the parties to provide an update and projected timeline for addressing the cases.
Government affairs: The Board voted to support several pieces of pending legislation:
• A-5176 (Taliaferro)/S-3049 (Sweeney) which would establish a regional municipal court pilot program. The board voted to support the concept of the bill, but to meet with the sponsors to discuss the bill’s language or consider a different version that would incorporate stakeholder input.
• A-4656 (McKnight) / S-2963 (Rice) which would authorize the creation of local civilian review boards (CCRBs) to review police operations and conduct and appropriate $800,000. Amendments were considered to allow flexibility for communities to create and implement CCRBs dependent on size and specific issues; to include a mechanism for the removal of commissioners; and to include the right to subpoena electronically recorded evidence.
Trustees: Eight new trustees were introduced to the Board. They are: Dara A. Quattrone, Atlantic County; Daniel M. Kurkowski, Cape May County; Robert Scrivo, Essex County; Kristyl Berckes, Somerset County; Janine M. Cerra, Sussex County; Sheryl Seiden, Family Law Section; Ryan J. Gaffney, Young Lawyers Division; and Kathleen N. Fennelly, New Jersey State Bar Foundation president.
The Board also recognized the outgoing trustees. They are: Alan J. Cohen, Atlantic County; Carol N. Goloff, Cape May County; Jodi L. Rosenberg, Essex County; Diane K. Smith, Somerset County; Lauren D. Fraser, Sussex County; Alexander V. Gallo, a section/committee trustee; Rajeh A. Saadeh, YLD; Emily Kelchen, YLD; and James Lewis, a section/committee trustee.
Presidential farewells: NJSBA 2020-2021 President Kimberly A. Yonta expressed her gratitude to the Executive Committee, board and NJSBA staff.
NJSBA Immediate Past President Evelyn Padin also extended her gratitude to the Executive Committee, Board and NJSBA staff. She urged the Association to stay active and focused on advocating for access to justice, adding that it is important to provide services to people who are disenfranchised and without access to lawyers.