NJSBA to hold public hearings on judicial independence, financial issues in municipal courts

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March 16, 2016
Contact: Kate Coscarelli 
Senior Managing Director of Communications
A recommendation of the New Jersey State Bar Association’s Task Force on Judicial Independence, which spent 18 months examining the threats to a fair and impartial justice system and ways to keep it free from political influence, was to take a closer look at the issue in the municipal courts.
At the request of the association’s Board of Trustees, the Municipal Court Practice Section is taking steps to do just that. The section created a Subcommittee on Judicial Independence in the Municipal Courts, which has scheduled four public hearings to be held across the state to gather information and data from lawyers, judges and members of the public.
The subcommittee, which is comprised of municipal court practitioners, prosecutors, and retired judges, released a statement explaining the goals of the public hearings:
“The New Jersey State Bar Association’s Subcommittee on Judicial Independence in the Municipal Courts will consider the impact that fiscal constraints may have on the municipal courts and the inter-relationship that may exist in the appointment and the reappointment of the municipal court judges. The hearings will also address the impact of judicial independence on judicial salaries and the lack of tenure for judges in municipal courts.
The goal of the public hearings is to obtain anecdotal information from members of the bar, the Judiciary and members of the public that will enhance the operation of the municipal courts and ensure the independence of municipal courts in this state. The Subcommittee on Judicial Independence in the Municipal Courts seeks comments from new and experienced members of the bar, and the Judiciary, as well as members of the public, as to the independence and uniformity of the municipal courts in New Jersey,” the group said.
The public hearings will be held:
April 4 from 3 to 4:30 p.m. at the New Jersey Law Center in New Brunswick
May 2 from 5 to 7 p.m. at Rowan University in Glassboro
May 19 from 3 to 4:30 p.m. at the NJSBA Annual Meeting and Convention in Atlantic City 
June 6 from 4 to 6 p.m. at Seton Hall University School of Law in Newark
To sign up to testify, submit materials to the subcommittee or learn more about the hearings, contact Kate Coscarelli, senior managing director of communications and media relations, at [email protected]