New Jersey Chief Justice Stuart Rabner on Tuesday announced the formation of a 38-member committee empaneled to implement key recommendations from a recent report urging reforms to the state’s municipal court system.
The Working Group on the Municipal Courts includes representatives from all three branches of government, and law enforcement, the public defender’s office, prosecutors, non-profit organizations, civil rights groups, bar associations and local government.
The group is tasked with addressing recommendations from a report released last July by a separate panel, the Supreme Court Committee on Municipal Court Operations, Fines, and Fees.
The report took aim at what it said is a growing perception that municipalities rely on municipal court fines as a significant revenue source. The report made numerous recommendations, including the reduction of excess fines imposed on litigants, improvement of the process for selecting and retaining municipal court judges, and more emphasis on judicial independence.
The working group will hold its first meeting in the coming weeks, the judiciary said in a release.
Judge Glenn Grant, acting administrative director of the Administrative Office of the Courts, is its chair. The committee also includes three mayors, two chiefs of police, three municipal judges, three presiding municipal judges, three assignment judges, one municipal prosecutor, two public defenders and one county prosecutor.
Also represented in the committee are the NAACP, the Garden State Bar Association, the Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey and the New Jersey Muslim Lawyers’ Association.