Effective February 21st, civil and family trials will be suspended in two of New Jersey’s court jurisdictions which encapture six of the state’s counties. Judicial vacancies are blamed for the situation. New Jersey’s Supreme Court Chief Justice Stuart Rabner made the decision, saying that some cases could be heard under limited circumstances, but that the courts have to prioritize criminal, juvenile, and domestic violence cases. He urged the state’s governor and the legislature to take action and confirm judicial appointments to these vacancies.
Last May, when judicial vacancies reached 75, Justice Rabner offered a public warning signaling that this decision could come if changes are not made. He said that the courts can only operate with 25-30 judicial vacancies; today there are 69 open judicial positions, with ten additional judges expecting to retire from the bench by the end of the summer and another 13 plan on retiring at the end of the year. The backlog was already into the spring of 2024 before this announcement. The president of the New Jersey State Bar Association places blame on Governor Phil Murphy for not moving on appointments. Of the 17 appointments pending confirmation by the state legislature, only 1 would serve in a jurisdiction that is currently being suspended due to lack of judicial officers.
See the original article here: Courts suspend civil, divorce trials in six counties amid stunning judicial vacancies - New Jersey Monitor