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NOTICE TO THE BAR: Message from Bergen County Assignment Judge Bonnie J. Mizdol

NOTICE TO THE BAR

     The past two weeks have presented enormous challenges, and it has been inspiring to witness the dedication of the Bergen Judiciary, our Trial Court Administrator, Laura Simoldoni, senior administrative staff and all of our judiciary employees.

Quoting Chief Justice Rabner,

Our mission at this time of crisis is straightforward and complex all at once.  In a society based upon the rule of law, it is essential that courts remain open and that the public has access to the justice system.  Victims of domestic violence, defendants awaiting pretrial release, civil litigants struggling to get needed relief and countless others cannot wait for weeks or months to be heard.  And the responsibility to provide them a fair forum and address their dispute – even at the most challenging of time – falls on the Judiciary.

We are striving to carry out that responsibility as safely as possible.  The health of court staff, judges and members of the public is at stake and that concern has and will continue to guide all of our decisions about administering the courts at this time.

I have and continue to remain in daily communication with your Executive Director, Frank O’Marra, to provide the most up-to-date information available to the Bergen County Bar Association.

The Judiciary and the Bar are facing sobering tests daily and I suspect more lie ahead. As always, I will make myself available to your director, trustees and committee chairs to discuss concerns.

I am extremely proud of Bergen’s collective efforts to promote justice as we continue to prepare for yet greater challenges.  Our transition to a virtual Judiciary has not been seamless, but the results have been remarkable.

I expect that within the next business day or two, an Omnibus Order of the Supreme Court will issue with a continued suspension of  petit and grand jury proceedings, landlord/tenant proceedings, special civil/small claims proceedings, municipal court proceedings, civil arbitrations, matrimonial early settlement panels, and depositions of healthcare professionals, among others.

In the meantime, I ask that you practice social distancing, follow the protocols of the CDC and stay safe and healthy.

/s/ Hon. Bonnie J. Mizdol, A.J.S.C