SENATE, No. 2806

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

214th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED APRIL 11, 2011

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator  JEFF VAN DREW

District 1 (Cape May, Atlantic and Cumberland)

 

Co-Sponsored by:

Senator Bateman

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Provides for appointment of certain municipal court judges at the local or county level.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

  


An Act concerning the appointment of certain municipal court judges and amending N.J.S.2B:12-4.

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.    N.J.S.2B:12-4  is amended to read as follows:

     2B:12-4.  Judge of municipal court; term of office; appointment.        a.         Each judge of a municipal court shall serve for a term of three years from the date of appointment and until a successor is appointed and qualified.  Any appointment to fill a vacancy not caused by the expiration of term shall be made for the unexpired term only.  However, if a county or municipality requires by ordinance that the judge of the municipal court devote full time to judicial duties or limit the practice of law to non-litigated matters, the first appointment after the establishment of that requirement shall be for a full term of three years. 

     b.    (1)  In municipalities governed by a mayor-council form of government, the municipal court judge shall be appointed by the mayor with the advice and consent of the council.  Each judge of a joint municipal court shall be [nominated and appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the Senate] appointed pursuant to the provisions of paragraph (2) of this subsection.

     (2)   In the event that two or more municipalities agree to the establishment of a joint municipal court, the method of selecting and appointing each judge shall be set forth in the agreement establishing the joint municipal court.  A copy of the agreement shall be filed with the Administrative Director of the Courts. 

     (3)   In all other municipalities, the municipal judge shall be appointed by the governing body of the municipality.

     c.     In a county that has established a central municipal court, the judge of the central municipal court shall be [nominated and appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the Senate. In those counties having a county executive, the county executive may submit the names of judicial candidates for judge of the central municipal court to the Governor.  In all other counties, the governing body may submit the names of judicial candidates for judge of the central municipal court to the Governor] appointed by the county executive in those counties having a county executive and in all other counties shall be appointed by the governing body of the county.

(cf: P.L.1996, c.95, s.3)

 

     2.    This act shall take effect immediately upon the approval by


the voters of Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 154 of 2010-2011, or a substantially similar amendment, which amends the Constitution of the State of New Jersey to eliminate the requirements of nomination and appointment of joint municipal court judges by the Governor with the advice and consent of the Senate.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     Currently, the statutes allow for three types of municipal courts: municipal courts of single municipalities, joint municipal courts, and central municipal courts. A municipal court of a single municipality has jurisdiction over cases from that municipality. A judge of a municipal court of a single municipality is appointed at the municipal level. A joint municipal court is created by two or more municipalities and has jurisdiction over cases from these municipalities.  A central municipal court is created by a county and has jurisdiction over cases from all municipalities in that county. Judges of joint municipal courts and central municipal courts are nominated and appointed at the State level by the Governor with the advice and consent of the Senate. This bill is the enabling legislation to a proposed constitutional amendment, SCR-154 (identical to ACR-81), which would eliminate the constitutional requirement that the nomination and appointment be conducted in this manner.

     This bill amends N.J.S.A.2B:12-4 to provide that if two or more municipalities agree to the establishment of a joint municipal court, the method of selecting and appointing each judge would be set forth in the agreement establishing the joint municipal court.  A copy of the agreement would be filed with the Administrative Director of the Courts.  The Governor and the Senate would not be involved.

     In addition, the bill provides that a judge of a central municipal court would be appointed by the county executive in those counties having a county executive and in all other counties would be appointed by the county governing body.  The Governor and the Senate would also not be involved in this appointment.

     Under the bill, judges of municipal courts of single municipalities would continue to be appointed at the municipal level.