SENATE BUDGET AND APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE
SENATE, No. 2850
STATE OF NEW JERSEY
DATED: DECEMBER 15, 2016
The Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee reports favorably Senate Bill No. 2850.
This bill would create 20 additional Superior Court judgeships to support implementation of the constitutional and statutory criminal justice reform established by the 2014 amendment to Article I, paragraph 11 of the New Jersey Constitution and sections 1 through 11 of P.L.2014, c.31 (C.2A:162-15 et seq.). This reform, which begins January 1, 2017, includes new pretrial release and detention proceedings, and speedy trial rights.
In support of the 20 additional judgeships, the bill appropriates $9.3 million to the Judiciary from the State’s General Fund. The bill takes effect on July 1, 2017, the first day of the State’s next fiscal year.
The Office of Legislative Services estimates the cost of 20 additional judgeships will total about $8.3 million in fiscal year 2018, or about $414,000 per judgeship, exclusive of fringe benefit costs. According to the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC), each judgeship (judge’s salary $165,000) necessitates a judge’s secretary, a law clerk and court clerk (total salaries about $141,500), requires ongoing operating expenses such as office supplies, telephone service, postage, and office machine rental (total about $12,500) and one-time start-up costs for a new courtroom and offices, such as furniture, technological equipment, phones, and law books (total about $95,000). In subsequent years, costs annualize to about $319,000 per judgeship, or a total of $6.38 million, exclusive of fringe benefits and any salary increases that might occur. The bill’s appropriation of $9,300,000 will cover most or all of fiscal year 2018 costs, depending on the pace of hiring and the cost of fringe benefits, which can be as much as 60 percent of salary costs.