The following letter delives into the the inside baseball (i.e. inner workings) of the municipal court system.  It might not be of interest to many people, but the problem that I’m addressing has the potential of allowing municipal courts to continue convicting people of offenses even after the municipal governing body has repealed the ordinance upon which the offenses are based.

March 29, 2015

Carole A. Cummings
Municipal Division Manager
19 N. Broad St
Woodbury, NJ 08096
[email protected]

Dear Ms. Cummings.

It appears that in 2011 and 2012 respectively, the Townships of Upper Deerfield (Cumberland County) and Pittsgrove (Salem County) had their municipal code books recodified.  This caused a renumbering of certain code provisions which has resulted in the same problem that we corresponded about in Spring 2010.  I’ve placed that correspondence on-line here for your ready reference.

The CS Regional Municipal Court in 2013 was still using the superseded code numbers, i.e §67-3 in Upper Deerfield and §63A-3 in Pittsgrove, to input violations for offenses that occurred post-recodification.  According to the Upper Deerfield Code’s Derivation Table, the present Chapter 259 was derived from Chapter 67 and according to the historical note under Pittgrove’s Chapter 74, that chapter was derived from Chapter 63A of the former code. Copies of the 2013 summonses are on-line here and here for Upper Deerfield and Pittsgrove respectively and note that the superseded numbers appear on the reverse side of each.  In sum, the CS Court was using invalid code numbers in 2013 to process summonses written in 2013.

I am currently trying to get both Townships to repeal their codes because they are superseded by state law and are being used to receive downgrades that violate the Attorney General’s 1998 preemption directive.  As I stated in my April 5, 2010 letter, the Automated Criminal System’s acceptance of superseded code numbers suggests that nothing in the System will prevent violations of those provisions from being entered even if I am successful in getting the provisions repealed.

Would you please contact the CS Regional Judge and Administrator and have them update their Local Offense Lists (not just for these specific code provisions in Upper Deerfield and Pittsgrove but for all code provisions in each municipality in the regional court)?

Thank you.  I look forward to hearing from you.

​​John Paff, Chairman
New Jersey Libertarian Party’s
Preempted Ordinance Repeal Project
P.O. Box 5424
Somerset, NJ  08875
Voice: 732-873-1251
Fax: 908-325-0129
e-mail: [email protected]

Chairman of the New Jersey Libertarian Party's Open Government Advocacy Project. Please send all comments to [email protected]