Municipal Court Proposed Rule Changes – 2004 Rule Cycle

Earlier today, the New Jersey Supreme Court released the Rules Committee Reports for the 2002-2004 Rule cycle. Attached to this muni-mail you will find the report of the Supreme Court Committee on Municipal Courts.

Among the highlights of the Committee’s Rule change recommendations to the Justices are the following:

1. Guideline 4 to the plea bargaining rules would be amended so to to permit the dismissal on State’s application of any Chapter 35 or 36 offense in consideration of a defendant’s plea of guilty to a single drug offense arising out of the same factual transaction. The State would also be permitted to move for the dismissal of related drug offenses if the defendant is granted a conditional discharge on a drug offense arising from the same factual transaction.

2. Rule 7:2-2(a)(2) would be amended so as to give police officers the option of issuing process for disorderly and petty disorderly persons offenses on a special form of summons and complaint and releasing the defendant without effecting a custodial arrest.

3. Under an amendment to Rule 7:6-2(d)(5), municipal prosecutors would be required to personally place on the record the terms and conditions of plea agreements. Moreover, the use of ad hoc forms and slips of paper containing information about plea agreements would be eliminated. Under a proposed amendment to Guideline 3 of the plea bargaining rules, the prosecutor need not appear on the record for offenses that are set forth on the statewide violations schedule. Rather, the prosecutor may complete and sign a standard form to be used statewide that contains information about the plea offer. The form must also be signed by the defendant. A copy of the proposed form is included in the appendix to the report attached herewith.

4. The provisions of Rule 7:12-3 related to defenses by affidavit would be amended to permit defenses by certification.

5. The dismissal Rule 7:8-5 would be amended to clarify that a dismissal granted under the Rule is final and that the underlying complaint may not be reopened unless to correct a manifest injustice.

The proposed Rule amendments contain numerous other technical and substantive changes, all of which should be thoroughly reviewed by you.

The Supreme Court encourages public comment to proposed Rule amendments. You may forward any comments you have to:

Richard J. Williams, J.A.D.
Administrative Director of the Courts
Rules Comments
Hughes Justice Complex; P.O. Box 037
Trenton, New Jersey 08625-0037

Comments on the Committee reports and recommendations may also be submitted via Internet e-mail to the following address: Comments.Mailbox@judiciary.state.nj.us. The Supreme Court will not consider comments submitted anonymously.

Please submit your comments on or before April 19, 2004. Any Rule amendments adopted by the Justices will become effective in September at he beginning of the new court year.

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