The following excerpt is adapted from the speech I delivered to the Assembly Budget Committee on April 28, 2011.
We, the Judiciary, are committed to providing a forum for citizens and businesses of this state to resolve their disputes, ensuring that rights and liberties are protected and providing equal justice for all.
The Judiciary recognizes that while it continues to provide a high quality system of justice, it must also meet its obligation to share in the sacrifices required by all of government as a result of the economic recession. Today we are a smaller and leaner organization than several years ago and the downsizing of our organization has presented many challenges. But along with these challenges have come opportunities. We have rededicated and recommitted ourselves to our guiding principles -– independence, integrity, fairness and quality customer service -- as we continue to examine the Judiciary's activities in light of our core responsibilities.
The Judiciary has risen above the challenges to our resources because of the extraordinary leadership, creativity and industry of the judges and staff in our court system. The primary strength of our organization is the quality and talent of the members of our workforce. On behalf of Chief Justice Stuart Rabner and myself, I would like to publicly acknowledge and recognize the hard work, dedication and commitment of our judges, administration and staff in ensuring that we continue to fulfill our constitutional responsibilities to the citizens of this state.
Our successes and accomplishments are many. During the past year, despite the significant staffing and resource challenges, we resolved more than seven million cases in our various courts – the Supreme Court, the appellate and trial divisions of our Superior Court, the Tax Court and our municipal courts, and we reduced backlog by 1 percent. Our efforts to identify and implement both systemwide efficiencies and specific area improvements have streamlined our operations and made a difference for those seeking protection, freedom, and swift justice in our courts. We continue to innovate and improve our court processes not only because it is our responsibility, but because we take pride in doing what we do well. We continue to partner with other government agencies to address larger social issues confronting our communities and our citizens. Through a wide variety of programs and tools, we seek not only to decide cases in a thoughtful, impartial and expeditious manner, but also to promote society’s commitment to justice for all people. Whether it is through therapeutic courts such as drug courts or initiatives such as the specialized mental health caseload and the veteran assistance program or advancements in technology such as the JEFIS-Foreclosure electronic filing project, we further our core mission and continue to address the needs of the citizens of this state.
The New Jersey Judiciary is proud of its efforts to provide a quality system of justice for the resolution of disputes and to ensure equal justice for all. The Judiciary will continue to meet any challenges the future brings because of the extraordinary work and dedication of our judges and our staff in providing services to our citizenry. Such challenges strengthen our commitment to improving our operations and becoming more efficient, especially in these difficult times. I thank each and every one of our outstanding judges, administrators, and staff for their efforts and support to this great organization.