Municipal courts: Local lawmakers who profit from them could derail reform

New Jersey's municipal courts extract $400 million in fines and fees each year, with municipalities receiving just over half of that sum. A NJ Supreme Court Committee recently issued a report condemning abusive fines & fees practices and recommending the consolidation of municipal courts into county courts. NJ legislators are not thrilled with this suggestion—many of them  actually work for local courts themselves. FFJC's Co-Director Lisa Foster sat down with The Asbury Park Press to explain how conflicts of interest like these undermine the justice system and harm communities. Relatedly, NJ Supreme Court Justice Rabner[LF1] [BJ2]  announced hearings throughout the state to address whether he should dismiss as many as 788,000 open warrants for minor offenses, and NJ Superior Court Judge Rivas ordered the release of people arrested and held for failing to appear in municipal court over minor offenses.

 [LF1]It should read “announced hearings throughout the state  to address why he should not dismiss as many as 788,000 open warrants. (I didn’t want to mess with your link).

 [BJ2]Went with ‘whether he should dismiss’ for a bit more clarity

Jonathan Ben-Menachem