N.J. judge: Mother can’t bring medical marijuana to her child at school

assetContent (65)TRENTON — The mother of a teenage New Jersey girl with epilepsy cannot come to school to feed her daughter cannabis oil that has helped control her seizures, a state judge ruled Tuesday, saying state and federal drug possession laws trump their right to use medical marijuana on school grounds. This is the third legal defeat… Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: September 16th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Medical Marijuana, New Jersey, NJ Courts | Tags: , , | 1 Comment »

N.J. court blocks cops’ dashboard videos, many reports from public release

Zipprich arrestTRENTON — The public is not entitled to numerous police records — from investigation reports and dashboard video recordings to daily log sheets and communications between officers — under the state’s public records law, a state appeals panel ruled Thursday. At a time of heightened scrutiny of police actions, the court found those records and more… Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: June 11th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Crime, New Jersey, News, NJ Courts | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments »

New Jersey court reverses parole denial in 1973 trooper killing

HACKENSACK, N.J. — It remains one of the nation’s most infamous murders of a police officer, a New Jersey Turnpike killing connected to the racial politics of the 1970s and the dramatic prison escape of a woman who fled to Cuba and is one of the FBI’s most wanted fugitives. A state panel of appellate judges… Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: September 30th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Crime, Crime and Punishment, New Jersey, News | Tags: , , , , , | 6 Comments »

New School-Funding Case Turns Spotlight on State’s Rural Districts

New Jersey’s school-funding fight is heading back to the courts — again. In yet another foray into the judicial arena that has become central to New Jersey’s school-funding struggles, lawyers have filed a formal complaint against the Christie administration over its failure to fully fund 16 mostly rural districts. Akin to the state’s landmark Abbott v.… Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: September 26th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Christie Administration, Education, New Jersey, NJ Courts | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Chris Christie’s court pick has a pro-choice, anti-free press record

Chris Christie’s court pick has a pro-choice, anti-free press record (via NJ.com)

Don’t look now, but our self-avowed “pro-life” governor just nominated a pro-choicer to the state Supreme Court. I’m not talking about Chief Justice Stuart Rabner, the liberal Democrat whom Christie reappointed in a deal with the Democrats. If Rabner…

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Posted: June 3rd, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Chris Christie, NJ Courts, NJ Judiciary | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Explainer: How Do Our Judges Make It to the Bench in New Jersey?

Explainer: How Do Our Judges Make It to the Bench in New Jersey? (via NJSpotlight)

The current judicial crisis offers and excellent opportunity to take a look at how New Jersey chooses and installs its judges — and how that process differs from many other states. In 38 states, at least some appellate and major trial court judges…

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Posted: June 3rd, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: NJ Courts, NJ Judiciary | Tags: , | 2 Comments »

Not Funny: NJ Supreme Court Says Judges Can’t Do Stand Up

Not Funny: NJ Supreme Court Says Judges Can’t Do Stand Up (via Techdirt)

Humor: some people have it, other people don’t. For the humoursly challenged, exposing the funny takes several ingredients. First, you need to be in a position to observe everyday occurrences that can be mocked or exposed for ridicule. Then you need…

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Posted: September 20th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: NJ Judiciary, NJ Supreme Court | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments »

Casagrande Introduces Legislation To Nullify Absurd Texting Decision

casagrandeAssemblywoman Caroline Casagrande announced yesterday that she will introduce legislation that will protect the sender of a text message from civil liability if the receiver of the text is involved in a car accident while reading the message.

Thank goodness, and let’s hope that legislation get fast tracked

In what can only be considered a gift to the overpopulated legal community, the Appellate Division of New Jersey’s Superior Court last week ruled that senders of text messages could be liable for accidents that occur while the receivers are reading them “when a texter knows or has special reason to know that the intended recipient  is driving and is likely to read the text message while driving, the texter has  a duty to users of the public roads to refrain from sending the driver a text at  that time.”

What is a “special reason to know?”  That is new legal distinction that will have to be defined in another expensive court decision, unless Casagrande’s common sense legislation is passed and signed into law before the next ambulance chaser gets his law school buddy on the bench to define it.

Imagine the cases, and legal fees, this new legal liability will create.  Imagine the increases in insurance premiums, auto, homeowner’s, and business liability, this will cause.

If a spouse texts “pick milk” to his or her significant other during rush hour, and the receiving spouse gets into a car accident, the couple’s homeowner’s insurance company will get dragged into the law suit filed by the ambulance chaser.

Imagine the deposition questions asked at $250+ per hour per attorney:

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Posted: September 5th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Caroline Casagrande, Lawsuit Reform, NJ Courts, NJ Judiciary, NJ State Legislature | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

NJ Judges: We’re the .005%

Never mind the 1% to 99% rhetoric that has worked its way into our lexicon since the Occupy movement moved into Zuccotti Park.  With yesterday’s 3-2 decision that judges are exempt from New Jersey’s pension and health benefits reform, our State’s judiciary have declared themselves the .005%.   They are the truly elite. The 400 of New Jersey’s 8.8 million citizens. They don’t have to share in the sacrifice.

As Governor Christie said in Atlantic City yesterday,

“What we did, the administration and the Legislature, was demand that everybody in public employment pay their fair share for the benefits they’re going to get like people in the private sector do every day. And I cannot believe that we’re going to permit one small sector of folks (to be exempt), who consider themselves special, and who by the way granted themselves this special treatment themselves. That doesn’t make any sense to me.’’

“If you’re a police officer, or a fire fighter, or a teacher in this state, and you’re paying more for your health benefits and your pension, I’ve got a feeling you’re pretty frosted if it turns out that a group of judges decides for the whole group of judges that they don’t have to pay their fair share.’’

Hat tip to Capital Quickies

Christie told NJ 101.5’s audience on his monthly Ask the Governor show last night that if the legislature puts a Constitutional Amendment on the ballot this fall, he will campaign for it.  That will be the easiest campaign in the history of the world.   There will likely be 3.9 million New Jerseyans voting on November 6.  There are about 400 judges.  If all of the judges got all of their family members and friends to vote against the Constitutional Amendment, would that add up to even 10,000 votes?   I don’t think so.

As Senator Joe Kyrillos said yesterday, “Judicial independence does not mean judicial supremacy and exceptionalism.”   If the legislature acts by August 6, and it looks as though they will, the people of New Jersey will be sending the Judicial branch an overwhelming reminder that they work for us.   In America, even in New Jersey, the people are Sovereign. “All political power is inherent in the people.”

Even though there is not much time, the legislature should consider recommending other changes to Article VI, Section VI of the State Constitution to the people, since we’ll be making changes to the clause anyway.

Is seven years too long before a Judge is reviewed and reconfirmed?  How about 3 or 4 years?   Is tenure after 7 years, if reconfirmed, until mandatory retirement at age 70 still appropriate? How about a review and reconfirmation every 4, 5, or 7 years until retirement.   When the retirement age of 70 for judges was affirmed by Constitutional Amendment in 1978, the average life expectancy in the United States was 73.5.  Now, the average life expectancy is 78.  Why not increase the mandatory retirement age to 75 or 80? How about establishing a voluntary retirement age before being eligible to collect a pension at 70. Those would create some pension savings.

The Judiciary has given the Legislature an opportunity to make substantive adjustments to the .005%’s superiority and exceptionalism.

As Governor Christie told a Town Hall meeting audience in Garfield on May 2, it is extraordinarily difficult to hold judges accountable in New Jersey.   Now would be a good time to make some changes.

If you agree, contact your legislators and the governor.   Pass this column on and ask others to do the same.  Time is short.


Posted: July 25th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Legislature, New Jersey, NJ Courts, NJ Judiciary, NJ Supreme Court | Tags: , , , , , , | 7 Comments »