N.J. Constitutional Convention: Vol. 4, Page 540


STATE OF NEW JERSEY CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION OF 1947
COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY
Wednesday, July 30, 1947 (Afternoon session)

subject, I might say I am an unsuccessful candidate for this Convention.

Now, my point is very brief. I am referring to the retirement of judges. It should be borne in mind that there are two ages: the chronological age and the biological age. We all know that people who have the chronological age of 70 very often have the biological age of 55. Now, to retire a judge who has 70 years of chronological age to his credit at 55 would be an unconscionable economic waste. We also know of people who at the chronological age of 55 have the biological age of 70 and 75. Therefore, I propose that the retirement of judges be made subject to a question of fact. Have a provision providing for a fact-finding commission to inquire into the capacity and competency of a judge who desired to continue after he has attained the age of 70 years.

We have a similar thing in the Court of Chancery whereby a commission, consisting of a lawyer, a physician, and a gentleman inquires into mental competency, and you might well have some similar fact-finding commission in connection with this matter.

That is all I have to say.

VICE-CHAIRMAN: Thank you very much. ... Mr. Summerill.

MR. CHARLES SUMMERILL: Mr. Chairman, ladies and gentlemen of the Committee:

I am Charles Summerill and I represent the Hunterdon County Bar Association, myself, and the other members of small county bar associations who want to go along on my statement.

What are you trying to do to the small counties in taking their county courts from them? Now, as small counties we can take as a definition those which probably have only one Assemblyman. I believe there are nine of them. You are forcing the lawyers in those counties to go to a Circuit Court judge for the things for which we normally go to our county judge: change of name, mortgage cancellation, motion to pleadings. Now, in the large county there is no problem at all. You are going to have a resident Circuit Court judge who will probably have enough business to keep him there the whole time. In our small counties you are going to have a Circuit Court judge or a General Court judge three times a year. That means we have got to go out of the county to get this normal every-day garden type of relief.

I think you are penalizing us when you are taking away the civil jurisdiction of the county courts. It is the intimation of newspapers that the county courts are ultimately going to be eliminated altogether. At present, you are taking civil jurisdiction away. Now, we may be overly-anxious in our fears that you are going to take it all away, but that is what we have been led to believe by the newspapers. If you are going to take it all away, I know you are going to have a fight from the members of the bar of Hunterdon


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