N.J. Constitutional Convention: Vol. 4, Page 441

Thursday, July 10, 1947 (Afternoon session)

That is a pretty stiff sentence. It is probably a bigger sentence than I should give him, but four or five years from now, I will be able to cut that down." What I hope is that we will develop a judicial system in New Jersey where the judges are free to concentrate on only one duty, and that is the hearing of causes and disposing of issues.

MR. EDWARD A. McGRATH: You take the modern view that the release of criminals is largely a sociological problem depending largely on their mental condition, and that there should be a sociological view rather than a strictly legal view?

GOVERNOR DRISCOLL: Yes, Judge McGrath, I do.

MR. McGRATH: I agree with you.

MR. SOMMER: May I ask just one more question, to clear up your position in my own mind? We create this court of general original jurisdiction, and it will be divided into sections, and it may prove necessary to create divisions within the sections. We come to vesting the power of assignment of judges, and we will assume we vest in somewhere and, as you suggested, vest it in the Chief Justice. Now, you would leave that power of assignment in the Chief Justice absolutely unlimited, would you not? As I understand you, you would not impose upon him any limitation which would limit the period of assignment he might make to any particular division, so that if, in experience, he determined to let a man remain in a particular division for two years, three years, that, in his judgment, being in furtherance of the interest in the administration of justice, you would put no barrier in his way?


MR. SOMMER: I simply wanted to get your point of view, and I wanted to get it clear before us.

GOVERNOR DRISCOLL: You have correctly stated my position, Dean Sommer. I would not give the Chief Justice authority with one hand and take it away with the other. I might say that I don't believe that we can accomplish the kind of integration that I have in mind unless the Chief Justice exercises the same kind of authority with respect to every member of our courts. In other words, his authority must apply uniformly. I have not had an opportunity to read the testimony of the previous witnesses, but I am sure they have stressed the point that justice delayed is justice denied, and I am confident that you folks are well aware of the fact that in the absence of an integrated court system and uniformity of application of rules and administrative authority, we necessarily have a divided court, jurisdictional disputes and the delays that are incident to the inquiry on the part of lawyers or litigants as to whether they should go into one division or another.

COMMITTEE MEMBER: The Chief Justice would be the Chief Justice of all the courts?

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