This report is a result of a comprehensive review of New Jersey municipal courts by the Supreme Court Committee on Municipal Court Operations, Fines, and Fees. NJ Supreme Court Chief Justice Stuart Rabner created the committee to examine aspects of the court system that raised many concerns about both the large number of municipal courts in New Jersey and their excessive use of fines and fees, bench warrants, license suspensions. The 8 guiding principles and 49 recommendations presented in this report attempt “to enhance access and fairness to all litigants and court users, to increase the independence of the Municipal Courts, and to enhance public confidence in those courts.”
You can read the full report here.
- Develop sentencing guidelines for discretionary, ranged financial penalties.
- Develop policies for the widespread review and dismissal of old complaints.
- Encourage the use of authorized post-disposition sentencing alternatives.
- Implement mandatory scheduling of an ability-to-pay hearing upon a failure to pay.
- Develop a formalized policy for recalling existing bench warrants for failure to appear and failure to pay.
- Provide automated text, email, and/or telephonic reminders of upcoming court dates and payment due dates.
- Modify court notices to fully advise defendants in plain language of the consequences of a failure to appear or failure to pay.
- Legislatively mandate the consolidation of small courts.