N.J. Constitutional Convention: Vol. 4, Page 350


STATE OF NEW JERSEY CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION OF 1947
COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY
Wednesday, July 9, 1947 (Morning session)

no such disrelation perhaps you could say, in the types of cases that come before them, in the legal principles involved, or in the judicial functions as the judges must exercise them, as makes it cumbersome, inconvenient or particularly difficult for judges to sit on both types of cases. I suppose all of us have seen that in practice, particularly in the federal courts functioning within New Jersey. Whatever has been said for a separate Court of Chancery in New Jersey, I have heard no criticism of the unification of jurisdiction as it operates, as it is exercised, in the federal courts.

The municipal courts, the courts in our cities, particularly the criminal courts, have long suffered from the influence of local political interest. You know that our police recorders, our police judges, are to a large extent subject to the police department or to the head of that department, and we have found in experience covering no less than many hundreds of cases, in practically every county in the State of New Jersey, in our own personal practice, that to a large extent the police judges have acted as arms of the police force.

MR. BROGAN: How would you eliminate that?

MR. KAPELSOHN: First of all, we believe that there should be a uniform system of police courts, a uniform police court law.

VICE-CHAIRMAN: Is that a matter for legislation or the Constitution?

MR. KAPELSOHN: I think that it is both. I think the Constitution can and should provide that the Legislature may set up a system of uniform police courts.

MR. BROGAN: Isn't that what it does now?

MR. KAPELSOHN: It doesn't set up a system of uniform police courts.

MR. BROGAN: Not in the Constitution, but you know the provisions as well as I do.

MR. KAPELSOHN: I think that the provisions can be so worded as to have a -

MR. BROGAN: You understand, I am not disputing it, but I would like to know what your idea is in regard to eliminating this vice, as you see it? Let's conceive that it exists. How would you eliminate it?

MR. KAPELSOHN: Well, for one thing, police courts, I believe, should be so set up as to be under supervision of a chief justice or a chief magistrate in some form - the judges themselves.

MR. BROGAN: You mean, appoint a hundred, let us say, and send them around to the different places?

MR. KAPELSOHN: Well, even if they are not sent around on a rotating basis or sort of circuit. The judges should be simply appointed or simply selected in some form, and the activities of the police courts should be under the general supervision and admin-


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