Report on Proposed Municipal Court Rules Released

The Administrative Office of the Courts has released the Report of the Supreme Court Committee on Municipal Courts which contains proposed amendments to the Part VII Rules. Those that are adopted by the Court will be effective with the start of the new court year in September. Among the proposed changes to the municipal court rules are the following:

1. An addition to the plea bargaining guidelines that would permit the plea bargaining of DWI school-zone charges under certain circumstances.
2. The elimination of private prosecutions in municipal court. All prosecutions would be conducted by a public prosecutor.
3. Removal of time limitations for the filing of Laurick PCR applications and formalized filing requirement for this type of motion.
4. A new procedure which would permit the filing of guilty plea by mail in criminal cases.
5. Revised procedures for submitting not guilty pleas or guilty pleas by mail in traffic cases.
6. A grant of authority for a municipal court judge to order the stay of a jail term imposed as part of a sentence.
7. An increase in the time to petition the court for a new trial to 20-days.
8. An expansion of the municipal appeal procedures that will authorize the appeal of the denial of a motion to suppress evidence following the granting of a conditional discharge.
9. Elimination of the ability of anyone to appeal the dismissal of a municipal court complaint on a pre-trial basis except for a publicly appointed prosecutor.
10. Elimination of the municipal court’s authority to conduct probable cause hearings in indictable matters.

The Supreme Court invites written comments on the proposed amendments to the Part VII Rules. Comments should be sent to:

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

Comments may also be submitted via Internet e-mail to the following address: Comments.Mailbox@judiciary.state.nj.us.

The Justices will not consider anonymous comments, although the confidentiality of the person making the commentary will be maintained upon request.

Download the committee’s report.

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