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125 Years Ago February 1879: A Senate bill proposed gubernatorial appointment of two vice-chancellors to the Court of Chancery, to be paid wholly by case fees. The Law Journal editors feared that appointment of the judges by the governor rather than the chancellor “might impair the unity of the court” and called the fee-driven system “a pernicious one [that] ought not to be perpetuated without consideration.” 100 Years Ago February 1904: Police courts — lower criminal courts handling bail hearings and initial charging — could not try indictable cases unless defendants waived a grand jury. Many were loath to do so because police “justices” were policemen. But two new justices in Newark, Frederick Kuhn and Algernon Sweeney, were stanching the flow of cases to the grand jury. “[They] have endeavored to make it plain that if the persons charged with offenses should waive indictment and trial by jury, they would not suffer,” the Law Journal editors noted. 75 Years Ago February 1929: The Essex County Bar’s refusal to admit women inspired Newark lawyer Elizabeth Blume to versify, “Oh, Members of the Essex Bar/ Why did you take the Vote/ And have the Press cite near and far/ Your action, so that all did note/ That ‘Portias’ in your club you wanted not/ When argument did wax real hot;/ Could none the question move to table/ To spare us this inferior label?” 50 Years Ago February 4, 1954: Widespread availability of preprinted legal forms was both a blessing and a curse. The forms’ popularity was rising among the public, and lawyers rightfully feared they could lead people to cut out the middleman. Bar groups in a few states, including New York, finally prevailed upon forms printers to place upon each form the legend, “This is a legal instrument and should be executed under the guidance and supervision of an attorney.” 25 Years Ago February 1, 1979: Chief Justice Richard Hughes drew excited responses with his call — in an interview in the Jan. 14 Sunday Star-Ledger — to abolish the “scandal-ridden” municipal court system. Montgomery Township Judge Frank Yurasko carped that Hughes had “neglected” to float such a plan at any recent municipal court judges’ conference nor had sought judges’ input. Hughes insisted he was misquoted — that he never said “scandal-ridden” but only repeated well-worn criticisms voiced by his predecessors.

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