N.J. Constitutional Convention: Vol. 4, Page 198

Wednesday, July 2, 1947 (Morning session)

guess, in small counties get $5,000; who sit possibly once a week, maybe not that; and they practice law in addition. Under the new set-up they would go right into office as judges of the county court in the same manner. Now, of course, it might be well to make some change in that, to have full-time judges, but you've got to give them something more to do. But there is the question of whether you want those judges or not. I mean - I haven't passed on them. I know very few of them, but they were appointed with the idea that they were $5,000-a-year judges and sitting only part-time.

MR. SMITH: Is that good or bad?

JUDGE SMITH: They are not as experienced, I would say, and I think that goes without saying.

MR. SMITH: Well, speaking as a layman, I would have a little less confidence in a part-time judge than I would in a full-time judge.

MRS. MILLER: Not because he is less competent, but because he was practicing.

MR. EDWARD A. McGRATH: Isn't it true that any Common Pleas judge can hold a Circuit Court today?

JUDGE SMITH: The Circuit Court can refer it to him.

MR. McGRATH: I understand the Supreme Court can assign any Common Pleas judge to any Circuit Court.

JUDGE SMITH: They can assign a Common Pleas judge to sit in a Circuit Court, yes. I was speaking about an individual case. In the Circuit we can refer a case to the Common Pleas judge for trial; they can't refer a case to us. But the Supreme Court may direct a Common Pleas judge to sit as in the Circuit Court and try Circuit Court issues. That has been done where the lists were congested, as in Essex. I think we had three assigned at one time to reduce the list up there.

MR. McGRATH: Well, isn't that a better system than throwing them all into one pot with the Circuit Court judges?

JUDGE SMITH: Well, I don't think they ought to be thrown into a pot with the Supreme Court Justices. If you made them full-time judges you could then assign them to other courts to try cases there.

MR. McGRATH: What would be the difference from the present system?

JUDGE SMITH: Not very much.

MR. McGRATH: Isn't the present system better because the Chief Justice knows those Common Pleas judges?

JUDGE SMITH: Certainly. I say the system is all right. Your Common Pleas judges will hold your common court - it isn't so much that the cases they get aren't so important -

MR. McGRATH: The mere fact that a case was started in the

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