New Pro Se Materials a Customer Service “Plus” As part of its commitment to improve services for clear, accurate and easy to understand,” said Richard all New Jersey citizens, the Judiciary has released a J. Williams, Administrative Director of the Courts. new set of helpful materials to assist people who “Our new pro se packets will benefit all litigants who, want to try to represent themselves in court without for reasons of choice or financial need, represent an attorney. The release followed successful testing themselves in New Jersey courts.” in three counties. The Judiciary’s Ad Hoc Working Group on Pro Se “Pro se litigants—that is, citizens who represent Materials developed the new packets over the last themselves—deserve informational materials that are Continued on page 6 Judiciary Times The newsletter of the Judiciary, State of New Jersey More Space, Less Waste: Supreme Court Directive To Speed Up Disposal of Old Court Records by Linda Brown Holt Old court records never die, they just…accumulate! the Delaware River to the Great Lakes…and If you placed the state’s millions of inactive court beyond. Stashed in warehouses, crammed into file papers end to end, they would probably extend from courthouse basements and stuffed into cubicles throughout New Jersey, old court papers linger on long after they have exhausted their original useful- ness. “Actually, we don’t keep these files forever, it just seems like we do,” said Kate McCann, records manager for Superior Court. McCann pointed out that a retention schedule already in place allows for the periodic destruction of certain files. But there will soon be an accelerated pace to the removal and recycling of paper files that have outlived their usefulness. Thanks to a Supreme Court directive, expected to have taken effect by the time this newsletter is published, the time will be short- ened for retaining certain types of files. Under the new directive, paper files of criminal records, for example, would be retained for 20 years for third and fourth degree convictions and 40 years for first and second-degree convictions. Capital cases would continue to remain in the permanent files. Non-paper files will remain Space….the final frontier. This corridor of old court “This doesn’t mean that all traces of these cases records in the Superior Court Records Center is a small will disappear,” said McCann. “Historians and others part of the thousands of files in storage statewide. The interested in legal archives can rest assured that Judiciary will reclaim thousands of cubic feet of space we’ll always have records of these cases, thanks to an accelerated retention schedule directed by the Supreme Court this spring. (Photo by L. Holt) Continued on page 8 2. Judiciary Times Notes from the Director Customer Service: It’s Everyone’s Business by Judge Richard J. Williams Administrative Director of the Courts Whether it’s bad or good, cus- or service agency ignored or rity, fairness and quality service. tomer service is something we’ve incorrectly transferred. But while quality service is all experienced first-hand. At the same time, most of us clearly one of the pillars of the We know what it’s like to wait can remember with pleasure the Judiciary’s fundamental mission, in needlessly long lines, to be clerk who told us about an in-store we still have much to learn as we ignored by staff attending to special or a service provider who seek to improve as a customer personal business, or to have made time for us even when we service organization. How can we repeated phone calls to a business didn’t have an appointment. build on the Judiciary’s already excellent record in customer Judiciary Times is prepared by service? Constituent Relations, Publications Seven steps to extraordinary and Video Production Services, customer service Office of Public Affairs, the There are seven steps each of Administrative Office of the Courts us can take as we strive each day (AOC) for employees of the to improve our performance in this Judiciary and volunteers who work critical area. with the court system. The Chief First, we need to know the Justice of the New Jersey Supreme definition of customer. A cus- Court is Deborah T. Poritz. The tomer is each and every individual Administrative Director of the Courts is Richard J. Williams. who contacts our office or reaches Please e-mail short news articles, us by phone, e-mail, letter or in photos and/or suggestions to: person. This individual is poten- Linda_Holt@judiciary.state.nj.us tially our ally in building public trust or send disk, photos and paper Judge Richard J. Williams and confidence in the Judiciary copy to: Editor, Judiciary Times, statewide. A customer may be Office of Public Affairs, PO Box Increasingly, businesses and someone filing a suit or on proba- 037, Richard J. Hughes Justice non-profits alike are beginning to tion, but he or she may also be a Complex, Trenton NJ 08625-0037. realize that the quality of customer vendor, a journalist or the file clerk Submissions are subject to editing, service is as important as the down the hall. and not all can be published. quality of the product or service Second, we need to focus on Editorial Staff and Contributors they provide. Half-hearted or pro attitude . Each customer deserves Director of Public Affairs forma efforts will not do. Nothing to be treated in a pleasant, helpful Winifred Comfort less than first-rate customer manner. It is a privilege to help Editor Linda Brown Holt service is now being pursued by others in the service of justice, and Contributing Writers the most progressive companies our actions, facial expressions, Gina Barry, Terry Grabert, and agencies. even the care with which we dress Jeanette King, Anne While the importance of should show how seriously we Marasco, Dr. Yolande P. customer service may be news to take our charge. Marlow, Phyllis Pason, certain organizations, I am happy Third, we should constantly Marilyn Slivka, Debbie Thomson, Janet VanFossen. to report that it is already part of improve our ability to listen. Nancy Allen was co-writer the culture of the Judiciary. Our Sometimes what customers say is of the article, “Statewide logo, shown on the last page of this not what they mean. We need to Evaluation a Success,” newsletter, confirms that New listen to what may be the underly- which appeared in the Jersey courts are dedicated to ing concern they need resolved. winter edition of Judiciary principles of independence, integ- We can facilitate this process by Times. Continued on page 7 Judiciary Times 3. Judiciary Uses New Technologies To Protect Victims of Domestic Violence Mary Doe was terrified. One of these applications is information about domestic A resident of Bergen County, the New Jersey Central Registry, violence at the Judiciary’s Web she was visiting Ocean County on which has been in operation for site, available on computers at business when her estranged about two years. libraries and community service husband, John, showed up outside With the Central Registry, law agencies and organizations. her hotel. She had a restraining enforcement officials have 24/7 A function of PROMIS/ order against him in Bergen, but in access to information about GAVEL, a Criminal Division the press of business, had forgot- restraining orders and complaints application used by every Superior ten to bring the document with against offenders. “Law enforce- Court and Prosecutor’s Office, her. Without the actual order, the ment officers must consult it when generates a series of letters to police could not act immediately to they are dispatched to the scene of update victims regarding the status protect her from the man who had a domestic violence case,” said of their cases. abused her for a decade. Cassidy. “With this tool, the victim And the Family Automated This fictitious encounter could no longer has to be in possession Case Tracking System (FACTS), a have occurred in 1995. Today, the of the actual restraining order.” computer application with nine same scenario would have a far docket types in use for the past 15 more positive outcome for Mary years, now provides seamless and other victims of domestic connections with other agencies violence. and sources of information and Thanks to the foresightedness assistance. of Judiciary leadership, the talent “We now can record out-of- and hard work of staff, and the state orders in the central registry latest advances in technology, and include fingerprint ID numbers domestic violence victims in New in the Central Registry to help Jersey have more protections than The Central Registry also is officers link to Criminal and ever before. And the list of part of the background check Municipal-Criminal records,” said benefits keeps growing. when a person attempts to apply Cassidy. “Later this year, updates “New Jersey is definitely a for a gun permit or purchase a to temporary restraining orders national leader in the use of firearm. and dismissals will be entered technologies to protect domestic Because it is the only state in directly into FACTS from the violence victims,” said Harry which the Central Registry is also courtroom.” Cassidy, Family Division chief. the official record of the court, With more than 44,000 new “We’re providing police officers New Jersey is well positioned to domestic violence complaints filed with instantaneous sources of be a leader in the development of each year in New Jersey, the information and more complete a national registry to protect Judiciary’s approach bonds caring data, and keeping firearms out of domestic violence victims traveling professionalism with the latest the hands of offenders.” to other parts of the country. advances in technology to protect Family Division staff, working Other technologies spring to individuals whose homes are no closely with Information Technol- the fore if a restraining order is longer safe havens. “We are ogy Office professionals, are using violated. At the Municipal level, an constantly making improvements an ensemble of computer applica- Automated Complaint System to increase the level of protection tions and resources to store (ACS) form now contains a and support,” said Cassidy. information quickly and accurately, check-off box for domestic “Working in tandem with other and to make sure decisionmakers violence. Victims now can also file state agencies, the Judiciary have immediate access to life- complaints at any time in their continues to seek new ways to saving data. local police station and view help protect victims.” --LBH 4. Judiciary Times Middlesex Justice Symposium Sheds Light On How to Fund At-Risk Youth Programs Bright-eyed young people teamed up with judges, moderated a program filled with information sharing parents, police, school leaders and even “Noah’s Ark” and hands-on workshops designed to give people real on Jan. 18 as 250 guests and participants joined tools to improve lives in their neighborhoods. together in support of programs for at-risk youth in Michele LaBrada, vice chair, oversaw program Middlesex County. planning for this year=s conference. The morning The energizing event was the Fourth Juvenile program opened with a panel featuring key Middlesex Justice Symposium held in the New Jersey leaders: the Superinten- Law Center in New Brunswick. dent of Schools, Mary And while this year’s theme was, Jean Guidette, the “Awareness of Funding Alloca- Middlesex Vicinage tions Available for At-Risk Youth Family Division Man- Programs,” the full-day event ager, Charles Hager, was so much more, providing a Judge Roger Daly forum for open communication (Family Division) and and building understanding two administrators from among young people, families, the Juvenile Justice and court and community Commission, Bernice leadership. Manshel and Mark The sponsorship reflected a Ferrante. broad range of support from Afternoon work- diverse organizations and caring shops focused on professionals in the county. The funding sources and Middlesex County Vicinage Advisory Committee on alternative community-based programs as well as Minority Concerns (VACMC) sponsored this year’s focus groups, a mock trial and police-youth programs. gathering in collaboration with the Middlesex Family Alternative youth programs highlighted at the Division, the Middlesex County Bar Association, the conference were Noah=s Ark Outreach and the North Middlesex County Council for Children=s Services, the Brunswick Police Department’s Straight-Up Pro- Middlesex County Human Relations Commission, and gram. Noah=s Ark Outreach focuses on families at- the National Association for the Advancement of risk for juvenile delinquency, encouraging mentors and Colored People (NAACP)- Metuchen/Edison Chap- inspiring young people. The Straight-Up Program ter. introduces young people to new ways of thinking and Reginald Johnson, chair of the Middlesex County working, and leads to greater self-esteem. Vicinage Advisory Committee on Minority Concerns, With the strong support of Assignment Judge Robert A. Longhi and the Trial Court Administrator, Gregory Edwards, the Middlesex Vicinage Advisory Essex Bar Foundation Committees Committee on Minority Concerns has consistently Honor Helen Kaiser of ES Panel reached out to its local community, including various Two committees of the Essex County Bar Foundation agencies and organizations, schools, police, treatment honored Helen Kaiser, program coordinator of the programs and services, parents and youth to educate Early Settlement Panel (ESP) during a dinner re- them about the court and court programs and services cently. and the continuing problems of minority youth in their Kaiser has been coordinator for 10 years, during county. which time the Essex County ESP program became The dialogue which has resulted from these one of the strongest in the state, according to the continuing efforts has forged a stronger working Foundation’s Family Law and Family Bench Bar relationship among those organizations and agencies Committees. whose focus is on youth in the county. Kaiser has served 28 years in Essex County and previously served as secretary for three judges. Judiciary Times 5. Mercer’s Cynthia VanEk Named Child Support Supervisor of the Year Cynthia VanEk of the Mercer County Probation VanEk established cooperative working relation- Services Child Support Unit, was named Supervisor ships with the Family Court, the Mercer County of the Year recently at the 19th Annual New Jersey Welfare Agency and the County Sheriff’s Depart- Child Support Conference in Atlantic City. A vicinage ment, resulting in better coordination of services. assistant chief probation officer, VanEk was chosen Under her leadership, the unit continues to make for her outstanding performance as a probation child progress in the areas of enforcement and customer support manager. service. Identifying customer service as one her top VanEk was nominated for the award by Assign- priorities, VanEk established ongoing customer ment Judge Linda R. Feinberg, Michael Green, service training and implemented the use of customer vicinage chief probation officer; Linda Anthony, service surveys. A special area was created in the assistant Family Division manager; and Dennis Micia, child support unit to receive and serve customers. director of welfare, all with the Mercer Vicinage. To “She is an excellent supervisor and has mastered be considered for the award, candidates must have the talent for encouraging staff to develop and implemented innovative programs, cooperated with achieve high performance goals,” noted Judge other agencies, demonstrated leadership and good Feinberg. As a result of staff efforts, Mercer County management techniques, and established and attained Child Support Division exceeded its collection goal for management goals. a third consecutive year. VanEk began her career as a student intern in “Cindy, in our estimation, is truly a role model for Mercer’s Probation Service Child Support Unit. After us all,” commented Green. “Through her hard work, becoming an investigator, she rose through the ranks commitment to service and professionalism, she has of Child Support as a probation officer, senior proba- risen through the ranks of our profession. We are all tion officer and supervising probation officer. proud of her achievements…” Elaine Dietrich Appointed Counsel to Judge Williams Elaine D. Dietrich of Princeton has been appointed Dietrich & Mikulski, P.C., from 1990 to 1992 . She Counsel to Richard J. Williams, Administrative Direc- served as a deputy attorney general with the Depart- tor of the Courts, New Jersey Judiciary. ment of Law and Public Safety from 1989 to 1990 and “I am delighted to welcome Elaine from 1992 to 1993. Dietrich to her new role with the Dietrich serves on the Supreme Court Administrative Office of the Courts,” of New Jersey District VII Ethics Com- said Judge Williams. “Elaine brings to mittee; as a member and trustee of the her new position an impressive back- Mercer County Bar Association; and as a ground in legal affairs and a profound member of the Mercer County Women’s grasp of the most urgent issues facing Law Caucus. our courts. Her commitment to fairness, Born and raised in Trenton, Dietrich integrity and quality service will make graduated from Notre Dame High School, her an invaluable asset to the Judiciary Lawrenceville. Her father, J. Raymond as we seek continuously to improve Dietrich, a Trenton attorney for nearly 50 services to citizens.” years, currently practices law with two of Dietrich previously served consecutively as his five daughters, Virginia M. Dietrich Elaine D. Dietrich attorney, chief and administrator and Joanne M. Dietrich, in the law firm of the Labor and Employee Relations Unit of the of Dietrich and Dietrich. Administrative Office of the Courts since joining the “I look forward to continuing to work with Judge Judiciary in 1993. A graduate of Thomas M. Cooley Williams as the Judiciary seeks to provide consistent, Law School in Lansing, Michigan, Dietrich served as high-quality services to all the people of our state,” a law clerk in Superior Court in Trenton from 1988 to Dietrich said. 1989 and as a litigation attorney with Dietrich, 6. Judiciary Times New Pro Se Materials a Customer Service “Plus” Continued from page 1 actions in family and civil courts. plaint and for appealing a munici- The packets were tested in pal court judgment suggest that two years with extensive input from judges, statewide court staff and Essex, Hudson and Mercer litigants should consider legal the Supreme Court Committee on Counties where more than 80 representation in these more Minority Concerns. The Judiciary percent of all users found them to complicated areas of law. “The estimates that 85,000 people each be either “very helpful” or “help- court system can be confusing,” ful,” while three-fourths of small the special civil material states. year file small claims and special civil complaints without a lawyer. claims filers and two-thirds of “It is a good idea to get a lawyer if There are separate packets for special civil filers were able to you can.” each of the following areas: small complete the forms without Still, if litigants are unable or claims/auto; small claims/non-auto; assistance. unwilling to be represented by a Materials provided in the lawyer, the new packets will help appeal of a municipal court judg- ment; and the special civil part. The packets include information on them navigate through the court forms and other information in- what to expect in court, forms, system. cluded in the packets may be used definitions and concise, step-by- The new pro se packets are in any superior court in the state. step directions. available at all New Jersey Using the correct packet, superior courts and at the These are the first in a series of packets to be developed in the citizens should be able to file a Judiciary’s Web site, http:// areas of the court where people claim without an attorney in small www.judiciary.state.nj.us/ . The most frequently represent them- claims court. However, the pack- municipal appeals packet is selves. Others will cover various ets for filing a special civil com- available at the municipal courts. On the Light Side Passaic Vicinage Judges Retain Championship Cup by Frank M. Donato, J.S.C. general jurisdictions may play groups’s top player, attributed the in the Vicinage Cup Matches. team’s success to grit, skill, grace For the third year in a row, the The successful challenger does under pressure and to a solid team Passaic County’s Judge Golf Team not win the Cup, but only gains effort by members. In addition to successfully defended the Vicinage temporary possession of the Cup Judges Riva, Donato and Sabbath, the Cup at the annual Vicinage Cup and the absolute obligation of team included Judges Anthony Judge’s Tournament. The Cup’s Defending the Cup and thus Graziano, Ronald Sokalski, Michael Founder and Creator is Frank M. becomes the next Defender. The Diamond and Glen Wenzel. Donato, J.S.C. of the Civil Division. perpetuation of the tradition of Riva praised the efforts of all The team’s captain is Joseph J. the Cup is thus assured”. team members especially in the Riva, J.S.C., of the Criminal Divi- The first tournament was held absence of Judge Scancarella, Presid- sion and the director of golf is in 1998 at Bowling Green Golf ing Civil Part Judge, who he described George E. Sabbath, J.S.C. of the Club in Morris County. The as “the world’s greatest living judge Family Division. The Cup’s dedica- second tournament followed in athlete” and Assignment Judge tion reads: 1999 at the Pine Barrens Golf Passero, a solid contributor to the first “The Vicinage Cup is created Club in Ocean County. The Year two victories, who he noted is a “solid as perpetual Challenge Cup for 2000 event was held at the clutch player in the tradition of friends of golf among the vici- Linwood Country Club in Atlantic Hogan.” Next year, with these great nages. Any vicinage shall always County. Passaic’s team won all players back on board, we expect to be entitled to the right to chal- three tournaments, successfully do even better. lenge for the Vicinage Cup. Only defending the Cup and keeping it With the expectation that many Superior Court Judges of New at home, emblematic of the team’s vicinages will challenge for the Cup Jersey or similar judges of supremacy. Captain Riva, the next year, Judge Riva promises to field a strong team from Passaic County. Judiciary Times 7. Customer Service: It’s Everyone’s Business Continued from page 2 hours in the day to get everything mind. We need to identify possible politely helping customers focus done. This is all the more reason service requests in advance and to their questions so we can help for taking the time to show we have the necessary tools and them find solutions. care about customers and to personnel available. This is some- Customers are a high priority provide a level of service that thing we may already do well. Fourth, we need to help cannot be reached without an However, because it is such an customers get results. Sometimes investment of time. Where do we important point, we need to this process may be complex and find this time? It has been my constantly review and reevaluate seem to distract us from other observation that following sound the way we work from a customer activities. At these times, we need principles of customer service service perspective. to ask ourselves, “Who or what is from the first encounter eliminates Finally, number seven, we more important than our custom- many of the distractions that turn need to remember that the book is ers?” I think you’ll find this a good into wasted minutes and hours. never closed on a customer way to stay on track with service- Finding out exactly what a cus- contact. You could say, related issues. tomer wants through better a customer is forever. There is F i t , we need to take the time listening skills, for example, may fh always the need for assessment, with our customers that they lead to a quicker solution. follow-up and a plan for future deserve. Time is a precious Sixth, we need to make sure improvement. Customer service is commodity for each of us, and our offices and workspaces are far more than satisfying one there never seem to be enough organized with customers in citizen. Each person who contacts us may give a message about the Judiciary to countless other Statewide Recognition for a Job Well Done individuals. Do we want these customers to convey a positive message of quality service, or the unthinkable alternative? Each month, I see many wonderful testimonials from customers attesting to the excel- lent customer service they have received from our staff. By striving for continuous improve- ment, each of us can make extraordinary customer service the regular course of events. All it takes is seven steps and the realization that, by our actions, we can make a positive contribution to The Conference of Chief Probation Officers sponsored a Trainers’ Recog- equal justice for all. nition Dinner at the Richard J. Hughes Justice Complex on Jan. 30. The event included recognition of entry-level trainers from Probation (Supervi- sion and Child Support); Criminal; Family; staff safety trainers (from all divisions), EEO/AA trainers and AOC’s Education and Development Unit. Tina Matos Honored Among those attending the event were (left to right): John Higgins, vicinage chief probation officer, Somerset; Nancy Allen, AOC; Allen The Essex County Bar Quintavella, vicinage assistant chief probation officer, Bergen; John P. Association has presented a McCarthy Jr., director of Trial Court Services; Gayle Maher (at the time, Merit Award to Tina Matos, the Judiciary training coordinator, Somerset; appointed chief, Supervision EEO/AA Officer in the Essex Services, Juvenile, effective April 23); Patt Fowler, AOC probation special- Vicinage. ist (and party planner). 8. Judiciary Times More Space, Less Waste: Supreme Court Directive To Speed Up Disposal of Old Court Records Continued from page 1 whether they be in computer files or microfilm.” Using the Automated Computer Management McCann is quick to point out the dangers of storing System (ACMS), Judiciary staff now can keep track material entirely on PCs with technologies that may of the dates when files expire. Documents then can change and become obsolete over time. be shredded and recycled with the aid of a vendor The records retention schedule covers many specializing in records destruction. kinds of printed materials, not just transcripts. In the While the new directive will accelerate the Civil Division, for example, files affected by the retention schedule, McCann points out that a regular schedule may include cases, calendars, index records schedule of file removal has been in place since the and docket books. ‘80s. “In the past five years, we destroyed about 12,000 cartons a year,” she said. “The new process will build on this foundation.” AOC Reorganizes Court reporters’ noted included To Improve Services While vicinage staffs are enthusiastic about the prospect of more space and fewer old files, there is The Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) one area in which they particularly euphoric: court announced its reorganization earlier this year to reporters’ notes. The retention period for these two- streamline its structure and to improve services to inch-wide, fan-folded strips of paper has been vicinages, employees and the public. The following “forever, at least for criminal cases,” said Jeff changes have taken effect: Newman, chief of reporting and technical services. ISD becomes ITO—The former Informa- “We have had to store cartons of notes in court- tion Systems Division (ISD) is now known as the houses and other facilities. Now, cartons of these files Information Technology Office (ITO). With this can be disposed of, freeing space for other uses.” change, Jim Rebo was named the Judiciary’s Such a massive undertaking is being rolled out Chief Information Officer and joined other direc- with careful planning and preparation. Records tors at the top level of the AOC organization. coordinators—a new Judiciary position—are (or will Key additions to Trial Court Services— be) available in each vicinage to assist with records Trial Court Services now includes the Municipal management. Other elements being developed to Court Services Division, headed by Dennis L. ensure success include an implementation plan and a Bliss, and the Quantitative Research Unit, headed number of activities designed to introduce the new by Mark Davies. retention schedules to the vicinages. Counsel and EEO/AA changes—Keith M. In the meantime, public interest in viewing files Endo was named counsel to the Ethics 2000 remains high. According to McCann, thousands of Commission established by the Supreme Court. customers visit the Superior Court Records Center on Elaine D. Dietrich replaced him as counsel to the Jersey St. in Trenton each year to review civil cases. Administrative Director. The counsel’s office In the cheerful front offices, helpful staff assist combines its current legal work with the law- customers seeking information from files as recent as related work of the employment law section, yesterday’s news or as old as the Civil War. including the hearing officer role, previously under These services will continue to thrive even as Ms. Dietrich’s direction. EEO/AA under Bobby E. boxes upon boxes of printed material, some of it Battle and Minority Concerns under Yolande P. caged in securely locked cells, find new life as mulch Marlow now report to Deputy Administrative or paper pulp in an east coast recycling plant. Director Theodore J. Fetter. “The long anticipated revised schedule is a Units reassigned—Judicial Education, godsend,” said Thomas G. Dibble, Essex vicinage headed by Richard L. Saks, and Professional records manager. “Not only will it help us save space, Services, headed by Patrick J. Monahan, now are but more important, it will allow for better day-to-day part of the Office of Professional and Govern- management of one of our most important court Continued on page 11 resources.” Judiciary Times 9. Vicinages recount adventures with the “Ex-Files” Tireless Efforts Put a Cap on Record Overload Here are just a few of the ways vicinages have been coping with tons of old records, and what the new Supreme Court directive on records retention means for the future: Volunteers, interns and staff Passaic’s Records Retention Jails and basements are a recur- have worked together in Sus- Committee is “eagerly antici- rent theme among vicinages eyeing sex to shred over 4,300 cubic pating a massive records storage space, and Atlantic-Cape feet of files. “Shredding is a ‘purge’ pursuant to the new May is no exception. Clarence daily ritual,” reports Elizabeth retention directive, according Dickerson, general operations Domingo, assistant trial court to Phyllis Hornstra. manager, reports that the old jail, administrator. The vicinage is one block from the Atlantic also working with county Essex reports storing nearly Criminal Courthouse, and the officials to destroy “ancient” 15,000 cubic feet of files at a basement of the Cape May records from the basement of records center 12 miles from Courthouse both provide storage the Fire and Police Academy the courthouse. Following the for old records. Ditto a large and the County Clerk’s office. old retention schedule, the county-owned warehouse three “And we can’t wait to clean up vicinage disposed of hundreds block from Atlantic’s Civil Court- the court reporter notes pursu- of cubic feet of files and boxed house. ant to the new schedule,” she and shipped the equivalent of added with a smile. 250 five-drawer vertical Ocean is hard at work on the cabinet cabinets to the Family microfiche project, and In Burlington, progress has Division of Archives and plans to destroy selected dockets been steady and even. Boxes of Records Management for dated up to and including 1990. files no longer clutter hallways microfilming. Lisa Joyce, assistant systems and areas outside of offices. With the new directive, coordinator, reports storage in an Some material is stored with the Essex can dispose of at least off-site county facility and a room county in the jail basement, and 300 additional “filing cabinets” in—no surprise—the courthouse much progress has been made full of obsolete files weighing basement. in microfilming, reports Leigh about 75 tons, according to Eastty, general operations Thomas G. Dibble, vicinage Microfilm usage is helping Mer- manager. Certainly, one of the records manager. cer free up storage space for new most popular staff members in files and records. According to Mount Holly is Isaac Boykin, Debra D’Amico, records manager, who became the vicinage’s Mercer recycled 184 cubic feet of records coordinator on March old records in January. 12. Bergen stores its older files in a Passaic keeps old files in warehouse in Garfield. From several locations, including an there, the files generally go to outside storage facility. The microfilming or are destroyed per vicinage has secured funding to the records retention schedule. continue renovations to the Civil generates close to 60,000 courthouse basement “rec records per year between its law room” (that’s “rec” as in and special civil sections. Bergen “records”). With open shelving, is in the process of redesigning its the renovated basement provide record storage process, and hopes cost effective space for no- Valuable old records of historical interest will be conserved and main- to see some real results starting longer-needed files. Best of all, tained. (Photo by L. Holt) next year. 10. Judiciary Times NATIONAL VOLUNTEER WEEK April 22-28, 2001 The 2001 national theme: AChange the World . . . Volunteer!@ Ocean’s LaBruto Recalls Early Years of Volunteer Program by Jeanette King had put into place a new volunteer rounded by concerned, caring Coordinator of Volunteer Training program on jury issues, the Ocean individuals who simply want to County Citizen=s Judicial Advisory make a contribution to helping With more than 5,000 participants Committee. This committee’s people who need additional statewide, the Judiciary’s Volunteer mandate was to examine the jury assistance, may be economically Program is a true success story. system and make recommenda- disadvantaged or are just going But this remarkable program has a tions for improving the experience through a particularly difficult relatively short history. In a sense, it of jury duty, a responsibility that period of their lives,” MaryEllen can trace its current success to one later expanded to other areas of said recently. extraordinary individual: MaryEllen the court system. MaryEllen notes that many LaBruto of the Ocean Vicinage. MaryEllen=s leadership has Ocean Vicinage volunteers are In February 1989, MaryEllen resulted in a volunteer workforce working full-time, raising families accepted the challenge to increase and even attending school, and yet volunteer participation in the Ocean they make the time to give back to Vicinage. At the time a novice in their community. the area of volunteer program Drawing on 12 years of management, she now admits that experience, MaryEllen shares the she did not know the potential that following advice to vicinages volunteer programs could have in thinking about expanding their the courts. Today, these programs volunteer programs: have blossomed, and MaryEllen has Take it slow and steady; look the longest tenure of any Judiciary at what you have and where you employee in this position. want to go; carefully screen and At the time, there were few place your volunteers. You are resources to guide her in the devel- successful when you can: opment of a vicinage volunteer MaryEllen LaBruto select the right individual for program. To learn more, she took in Ocean County that is 550 a given program, courses offered by Rutgers Continu- persons strong. Ocean volunteers offer on-going educational ing Education program and read offer services in a wide range of and training opportunities, available literature on the subject of programs, including minority and volunteers. concerns, child placement review, retain your volunteer Building on this knowledge, domestic violence complaints, workforce because you have MaryEllen began to develop and mediation, probation and other offered them meaningful and propose innovative volunteer areas. fulfilling work. initiatives to Assignment Judge As a result of her experience, These are some of the elements of Eugene Serpentelli to enhance the this year’s national theme for a successful program which over existing volunteer programs already volunteers—AChange the World . . the years have sustained in place in the vicinage. She also . Volunteer!@—has real meaning MaryEllen LaBruto and made her shared her plans for ways to expand for MaryEllen. She states that work so enjoyable. Because of her the program and to offer more volunteers in Ocean have signifi- pioneering work and the tireless, opportunities to the community for cantly changed her world from the daily efforts of all staff who work participating in court volunteer time she specialized in criminal with volunteers, the program programs. case management (sex assault and continues to grow and to attract Judge Serpentelli encouraged child abuse) and mediating child new volunteers to share in the MaryEllen’s work and supported the custody cases. Judicary’s commitment to indepen- new volunteer initiative. He already “It is wonderful to be sur- dence, integrity, fairness and quality service. Judiciary Times 11. Camden Caseload Benefits Justices’ Portraits Return Mentally Ill Probationers Portraits of former New Jersey Trenton, where the Justices now Building on the success of its Justices, safely stored during can watch over the busy opera- program for mentally ill probation- building repairs, were returned tions of the press, constituent ers sentenced in superior court, the to the walls of the Judiciary’s relations and publications units. Camden County Probation Divi- Office of Public Affairs re- Shown here are two of the sion launched a municipal mental cently. portraits: Alexander T. McGill health caseload in November The portraits were hung on (left), who served from 1887 to 2000. the fifth floor of the Richard J. 1900; and Alfred Reed (right), Under the direction of Senior Hughes Justice Complex in who served from 1875 to 1911. Probation Officer Debra Thomson, the program links probation officers with mental health agen- cies and municipal courts to help officers provide the best services possible. Probation Officer Elaine Mancini notes that Camden’s specialized caseload for mentally ill probationers sentenced in superior court has grown steadily since it was launched in April 1998. Somerset Mural Honors Late Judge Halpern A Revolutionary War mural “Somerset County, Crossroads of nal Practice Committee and as painted in honor of the late Judge the Revolution,” the painting president of the Somerset County Joseph Halpern is now on display depicts important scenes in Bar Association. On many occa- in the Somerset County Court- Somerset County history, including sions, Judge Halpern sat by house. the burning of the courthouse, the designation on the New Jersey A group of the judge’s former capture of Gen. Charles Lee in Supreme Court when a particular law clerks commissioned Adrienne 1776 and the ambush at Two justice was unable to hear a case. Crombie of Frenchtown to pro- Bridges. duce the 6 x 18 foot acrylic Fairness, Intelligence, Compassion painting on canvas. Titled, Judge Halpern, who died in 1989, was widely respected and AOC Reorganization admired for his fairness, intelli- Continued from page 8 gence and compassion. A lifelong resident of the area, he served as mental Services headed by David a judge of Somerset County P. Anderson, Jr. Superior Court, Assignment Judge Staff training mission up- of Middlesex County and a graded—Organizational Develop- Presiding Judge for the Appellate ment and Training under Steve Division. Among many leadership Wilkins now reports to Deputy Ad- positions, he served as as chair- ministrative Director Fetter. man of the Supreme Court Crimi- 12. Judiciary Times Sculpture Honors Late Justice William J. Brennan A bust of the late United States and New Jersey ceremony included Association representative Joseph Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan, Jr., was H. Kenney, Esq., and Michael B. Himmel, Esq.; unveiled during a ceremony in the Supreme Court William J. Brennan III, Esq., son of the late Justice; Courtroom in Trenton on January 30. and Daniel J. O’Hern, a retired New Jersey Supreme The Association of the Federal Bar of the State Court Justice, who once clerked for Justice Brennan. of New Jersey presented the bust to the Court. The Deborah T. Poritz, Chief Justice, presided over the sculptor is Jon Bailey of Indianapolis, Indiana, a 1994 ceremony. magna cum laude graduate of Rutgers University at Born in Newark in 1906, Justice Brennan gradu- Camden. Mr. Bailey also received an MBA from the ated with honors from the Yale School of Management in 1997. Speakers at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylva- nia. After receiving a Corporate Leaders Discuss Ways degree from Harvard Law To Make the Judiciary Even Better School in 1931, he joined Corporate leaders offered ways to help the Judiciary the firm of Pitney, Hardin become better than ever during a panel on the topic, & Ward, where he was “Internal Consulting--An Insider’s Perspective,” on made a partner in 1937. Feb. 14. The program was sponsored by the Judiciary He served in the Army in Education and Training Council (JETCO). World War II and was Judiciary training coordinators and human re- discharged as Colonel in sources professionals from throughout the state 1945. He resigned from learned about organizational development techniques the firm, which then successfully used by companies such as Reebok, included his name, in 1949 to accept a Superior Court PNC Financial Services, Johnson & Johnson, and Judgeship. After service as the Assignment Judge for Resourts International Casino Hotel, according to Hudson and Burlington Counties, in 1950 he was Steve Wilkins, the Judiciary’s organizational develop- elevated to the Appellate Division. ment and training chief. In 1952, Justice Brennan was sworn in as an Associate Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court and became a public spokesman for individual rights during the McCarthy era. He was appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court by President Dwight David Eisenhower in 1956. Justice Brennan issued 1,360 opinions in his 34 years on the U.S. Supreme Court. Among his most notable opinions are cases that supported freedom of speech (New York Times v. Sullivan), the one-person-one-vote concept (Baker v. Learning from corporate examples. Panels included (left Carr) and other principles of justice. He died in 1997. to right) Joe Doyle of Johnson & Johnson, Kathie Birkbeck of Resorts International Casino Hotel, Ami Bagby of Vicinage 15 and Lee Goar of Vicinage 11. Mission Statement of the New Jersey Court System We are an independent branch of government constitution- ally entrusted with the fair and just resolution of disputes in order to preserve the rule of law and to protect the rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution and law.
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