BRUCE EVAN CHASE, ESQ.
Bergen County Bar Association
Co-Chair, Family Law Committee

On December 10, 2021, Judge Melchionne agreed to meet with me and to provide an update of certain information important to the Family Part and the practicing Bar.

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE MATTERS
First appearances continue to be conducted via Zoom platform. However, all other proceedings are now being conducted “live” in the courthouse. The change from “Zoom” proceedings was in part a reaction to litigants participating in online, video proceedings while in a car, in a bathroom, and in a coffee shop!

To deal with the domestic violence backlog, in addition to Judge Antoniewicz and Judge Janeczko regularly assigned to FV, Judge Francois has a domestic violence additional assignment one day per week. The FM Judges were enlisted to assist by covering FV calendars as needed and maintaining the cases they are assigned. Read More

In light of the ongoing COVID-19 surge and consistent with COVID-19 public health recommendations, the Judiciary will continue the current reduction in on-site presence of judges and staff through January 23, 2022. As of now, we plan to resume regular on-site presence on Monday, January 24, 2022, and we will continue to monitor the situation.

State court operations will continue as follows:

  • All state court locations will remain fully open to the public and all judicial operations will continue uninterrupted.
  • State court judges and court staff will support all essential functions and conduct emergent matters.
  • Virtual jury selection and virtual trials will continue. For ongoing jury matters that are not entirely virtual, judges should advise jurors that they should plan to report in person on or after Monday, January 31, 2022. For new jury selections, judges should advise jurors that they should plan to report in person as of January 31 or a later date (e.g., February 7 or February 14) as determined by the judge.
  • Certain other in-person court events will also continue to proceed as scheduled.

Managers will provide further direction regarding work requirements, including as to employee requirements to report on-site to court locations during this time.

Chief Justice Stuart Rabner

Administrative Director Glenn A. Grant

In light of the current COVID-19 surge and consistent with COVID-19 public health recommendations, the Judiciary will reduce on-site presence of judges and staff for the first two weeks of January 2022. As we monitor and assess the changing COVID-19 conditions, we currently plan to resume regular on-site presence as of Monday, January 17, 2022.

During this period, notwithstanding the reduced on-site presence, all state court locations will continue to be fully open to the public and all judicial operations will continue uninterrupted. State court judges and court staff will support all essential functions and conduct emergent matters. In-person trials already in progress may continue. Virtual jury selection and virtual trials will continue but jurors will not report in-person for new trials until after January 17. Certain in-person court events will also proceed as scheduled. The Presiding Judge for Administration of the Appellate Division, Vicinage Assignment Judges, and the Presiding Judge of the Tax Court will provide judges with more detailed guidance as to ongoing and scheduled in-person court events during this time.

Managers will provide further direction regarding work requirements, including as to employee requirements to report on-site to court locations during this time.

Everyone is reminded of the importance of following the masking and social distancing requirements when working in on-site locations. Care should also be taken when working remotely and outside of work.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this week issued revised isolation and quarantine recommendations. In light of those recommendations, the Judiciary is in the process of revising certain COVID-19 policies so as to reduce the time for exclusion from work of employees who have tested positive, been diagnosed, developed symptoms, or have been exposed to the virus. Further details will be provided.

Chief Justice Stuart Rabner

Administrative Director Glenn A. Grant

 

The New Jersey State Bar Association (NJSBA) Working Group on Jury Selection has formally submitted its interim report to the New Jersey Supreme Court’s Judicial Conference on Jury Selection that will be conducted on November 10th and November 12th.  The report reflects the collective wisdom, analysis, and extensive experience in the courtroom and in thought leadership in the New Jersey Legal Community. See below to read the report in its entirety.

The Bergen County Bar Association ( BCBA) leadership has made significant contributions to the interim report and we will continue to support the NJSBA and our allies in preserving peremptory challenges and proposing meaningful reform to the jury selection process to eliminate or substantially reduce the impact of implicit and explicit bias in selecting a fair and impartial jury from a fair cross-section of the community.  

The filing of this interim report is just the beginning of our joint efforts to reform the jury selection process and, if any member wishes to share an experience during jury selection where explicit or implicit bias affected the jury selection process, please share your experience with the BCBA and we will consider how that experience may be helpful in demonstrating the needs for historic reforms in New Jersey’s jury selection procedures.

Members of the BCBA and the public are invited to attend the virtual Judicial Conference. Information can be found by clicking here.

To pre-register (which is encouraged), please click here

Jury Selection Interim Report – Final Version

 

Pursuant to Rule 1:40-12(c), all individuals wishing to serve as arbitrators in the court-annexed civil arbitration program must complete at least three classroom hours of initial training in a course approved by the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC). To remain eligible for continued inclusion on the roster, arbitrators must complete two hours of training after the first two years, and two additional hours of training during each subsequent four-year period. Read More

The July 14,2021, Order of the Supreme Court requires the use of a new Landlord Case Information Statement (LCIS) and Tenant Case Information Statement (TCIS). The LCIS and TCIS are to be filed in all pending and newly filed cases. Attorneys are instructed to file the LCIS or TCIS in eCourts. Self-represented landlords and tenants must file the LCIS or TCIS in JEDS.

The LCIS and TCIS must be filed with the Court five (5) days prior to mandatory case management conference or any other scheduled Court proceeding, whichever comes first. To ensure your case is not delayed, please be sure to timely file the LCIS or TCIS as required. Please be guided accordingly.

/S/ John D. O’Dwyer P.J.Cv.

On October 4, 2021, the Bergen Family Division will continue with a gradual expansion of scheduled in-person events for Domestic Violence Cases. First appearances will continue on a remote basis, thereafter, all subsequent scheduled hearings will be conducted on-site and in-person. Parties wishing to dismiss their matter in advance of a scheduled hearing may contact the Domestic Violence Unit to request a remote hearing. Attorneys and litigants with concerns or considerations are directed to contact the respective Judge handling the matter. Read More

By Bruce E. Chase, Esq.,                                                                                                                                                    Co-Chair, Family Law Committee

All of us have had to provide our medical history to our doctors.  Amongst the questions, “Do you smoke?  Do you drink?  If so, how much/how often?  What do you drink?”  Next comes the question that leads to this short article, “Do you use recreational drugs/substances?”  Should this same question now become an essential part of our divorce, custody and parenting time initial consultation?

As you will soon come to know, the answer is a resounding YES!

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As earlier advised by Notice dated May 13, 2021, two-factor authentication is now in place as an information security requirement for attorneys accessing any Judiciary application. Two-factor authentication requires attorneys to authenticate their account after receiving a security code at the cell phone number or email address provided by the attorney during annual attorney registration.

This is notice o advise that effective immediately, attorneys will be permitted to provide two additional email addresses and two additional cell phone numbers to receive the two-factor verification code.

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