N.J. Constitutional Convention: Vol. 4, Page 196


STATE OF NEW JERSEY CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION OF 1947
COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY
Wednesday, July 2, 1947 (Morning session)

dragged down, to a small county where the judge is only a part-time judge, and to go down there and have their case tried? I think it is the same proposition as where there is a diversity of citizenship; they take it to the federal court. As it stands now, you can sue in the Circuit or Common Pleas if the defendant is in your county; if not, you sue in the Supreme Court, and there I think you have the Supreme Court judges sitting.

If you can take care of the lay judges who are lawyers in that respect, and the Circuit Court judges, I think you have a set-up in which you will not need any more judges except, as I say, in counties like Essex or Hudson where the lists are heavy. There the Supreme Court judges might not have enough time, but another judge might be assigned to a case or he could refer the issue to the county court for trial if he could not try them all. But those conditions could be worked out.

I think that covers my views as to what I had in mind.

MR. SMITH: Judge, in respect to this intermediate appellate court, you are saying, as I understand it, that there would be the Supreme Court, a trial court for the most part, and sitting en banc in a great number of situations as an appellate court. That, of course, would mean that appeals could only be heard on occasion. Would that represent some delay in the adjudication of those cases?

JUDGE SMITH: That could; there is no question about that. They could easily sit once a month and they would have a lot of work, more than the Court of Appeals, I think, because there would be a lot of cases. But they wouldn't necessarily all be important ones; a lot of them wouldn't amount to a hill of beans.

MR. SMITH: What bothers me - would there be so much work that a constantly sitting intermediate Appellate Division might be indicated? Your proposal, as I understand it, is a Supreme Court which would be a combination of a trial court and, at certain periods, maybe once a month as you just said -

JUDGE SMITH: No, no. My point was - there should be, say, five judges assigned to the Appellate Division. I would keep them there right along until there was a vacancy, and we could fill it from the others or outside. I don't think it would be as feasible to rotate them up and down because you would have a diversity of views. I think specialization is better, but they would hear what intermediate appeals you wanted them to and they would also hear miscellaneous writs, say a writ of certiorari - they are something like an appeal, they are original cases - and they would have more cases before them than the Court of Appeals.

MR. SMITH: In that way, they might have too much to do.

JUDGE SMITH: Then you could create extra parts, divide your Appellate Division into parts. There's no trouble about that. The


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