Friday, April 10, 2015

NJ Courts Head Warns Against Continued Judicial Vacancies | New Jersey Law Journal

Fifty two judicial vacancies remain in the Superior Court of New Jersey. Fifteen of them are in Essex County, home of Newark, the State's largest City. Although the Democratic legislative majority blunted Gov. Chris Christie's assault on the State's Supreme Court's progressive legacy, bringing the state's judicial corp to full strength remains a problem.  Perhaps when Christie's Presidential aspirations reach their inevitable (probably imminent) end he will turn to the State's business. - gwc
NJ Courts Head Warns Against Continued Judicial Vacancies | New Jersey Law Journal
by Carmen Natale
The New Jersey judiciary’s top administrative official warned state lawmakers on April 9 that they and Gov. Chris Christie must make more of an effort to address an increasing number of judicial vacancies, or run the risk that the courts will not be able to meet the demand for services.
Appellate Division Judge Glenn Grant, the acting director of the Administrative Office of the Courts, told the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee that the number of empty Superior Court seats—despite a spate of nominations of new judges being made in recent months—is becoming worrisome.
“We continue to experience a distressing number of judicial vacancies, which greatly detracts from our ability to provide service to the public,” Grant told the committee. “If judicial vacancies continue at these historically high levels, we may be forced to triage the types of cases we can handle, and some litigants will simply not be able to have their cases heard in a timely manner.”
Grant made his remarks as the committee was considering the judiciary’s proposed $926.69 million proposed budget for fiscal year 2016. The proposed budget represents a 2 percent increase over the current year’s $908.65 million budget. Much of that increase, nearly $8.5 million, would go toward expanding the Drug Court program, while other funds, which are largely being generated through increases in filing fees, would go toward developing electronic filing systems and the creation of a pretrial services program.
According to figures provided by the AOC, there presently are 52 vacancies at the Superior Court level. If all Superior Court positions were filled, there would be 443 judges, including those in the Appellate Division.
The hardest-hit county remains Essex County, which currently has 15 vacancies, despite eight nominees being approved last August in a deal between Christie and the Essex County senatorial delegation. Mercer County, which has seven vacancies, and Passaic County, where there are six vacancies, are also being significantly affected

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