As we enter the twenty-first century, the role of the community participation in court activities becomes increasingly vital. Changing demographics, increased filings and the need for greater public understanding of the justice system make forming community partnerships essential for the promotion of effective, efficient and responsive court services. The court needs conscientious, dedicated, diverse individuals to meet these challenges.
Listed on this page are existing and developing programs that rely on the special contributions of judicial volunteers. Applicants are placed in their assignment of preference whenever possible. The final decision regarding placement must be determined by the need and status of the given program. An interview and background evaluation are conducted on all candidates. Volunteers must be at least eighteen years of age.
Training is provided to prepare volunteers for their assignment. New and experienced volunteers are urged to contact the volunteer coordinator regarding any program of interest.
Mercer Vicinage Superior Court
Equal Employment Opportunity Officer and Ombudsman Services Office
175 South Broad Street, Trenton, NJ 08650-0068
The Mercer Vicinage is seeking a dynamic customer service oriented individual to provide a variety of services related to the vicinage EEO/AA and Ombudsman programs. The selected candidate will perform functions such as filing, copying, preparing packets, conducting mailings, update data cards, mailing lists and contact listings; greet customers visiting the ombudsman office, answer the telephone, take messages and assist with distribution of information materials to court divisions and other offices within the court complex.
Interested individuals may contact: Paula Andrews, Vicinage Volunteer Coordinator, Mercer County Courthouse, 209 South Broad St., P.O. Box 8068, Trenton, NJ 08650. Telephone: 609-571-4027.
The Child Placement Review Boards (CPR) is a legislatively
mandated third party review of the out-of-home placements
of children that are under the Division of Youth and Family
Services (DYFS) supervision. The guiding philosophy of CPR
is that children deserve a safe, loving, permanent home in
which to grow.
The Child Placement Review Board makes recommendations to
a judge regarding placements that are in the best interest
of the child.
Volunteers are required to attend twelve hours of program-specific training. On-going training is also provided for seasoned volunteers.
A Juvenile Conference Committee is a six to nine member
citizen volunteer panel appointed by the Family Division Judge
that holds confidential hearings, conducts interviews with
juveniles, parents and complainants and makes recommendations
to the court regarding juveniles charged with first and second
time minor offenses such as shoplifting and criminal trespassing.
The committee considers the facts in each case and then makes a recommendation to the judge for a resolution that aids in the juvenile’s rehabilitation and hopefully deters the juvenile from re-entering the system. The JCC does not determine the guilt or innocence of the juveniles involved in these cases. Program volunteers are required to complete a mandated program-specific training.
Mediation is a structured, non-adversarial process that allows
a neutral third party to meet with disputing parties to aid
them in reaching a mutually acceptable solution to their dispute.
The goal of the Municipal Court Mediation Program is to provide
an avenue to resolve disputes outside of the traditional means
of litigation. Basic mediation and conciliation training (an
18-hour course) is required of all volunteers prior to appointment.
The New Jersey Supreme Court has mandated that this program be made available to all citizens across the state as an alternative to having cases heard and decided by a judge. Typical cases handled through this process include the following: simple assaults that do not include personal injury, trespass, harassment, creating a disturbance, noise complaints, animal or pet complaints, larceny under $200, malicious destruction of property, annoying phone calls, property disputes, non-payment of bills, bad checks, shoplifting and criminal mischief. Program volunteers are required to complete a mandated program-specific training.
Supervised Visitation (parenting time) affords parents, who are prohibited from seeing their children without supervision, the opportunity to spend time with their children in a safe and neutral setting. Children are provided with the opportunity to maintain or establish a healthy relationship with the non-residential parent.
Volunteers serve as case aides, monitoring the visits to ensure a safe and positive environment. Volunteers will document objective observations of the parenting time and will apprise the program coordinator of any pertinent issues or developments regarding the involved parties.
Volunteers will need to commit to a regular weekly schedule. Program volunteers are required to complete a mandated program-specific training.
The Advisory Committee is comprised of a diverse group of citizen volunteers together with judges, court staff, and other members of the public. The mission of the Advisory Committee is to examine issues of importance to minorities and other citizens in gaining fair and equitable access to court services and programs. The Committee assists with implementing the recommendations of the Supreme Court Committee on Minority Concerns, monitors the progress and makes recommendations for improvements to the Assignment Judge.
Volunteers assist domestic violence clients who appear before the judges of the Family Division. They provide help with the court process, preparation for court appearance and assistance to court personnel in case preparation. Volunteers work directly with the staff of the Family Division, Domestic Violence Unit during normal court hours (based upon individual availability). All necessary training is provided prior to assignment.
Special Civil Part Bar Panel Program utilizes volunteer attorneys who have practiced and have experience in Special Civil Part matters. All contested cases are scheduled for trial before a judge. The parties to the suit are required to appear on the scheduled date. Prior to the trial actually starting, the case is assigned to a bar panelist. Each panel consists of one volunteer neutral attorney who will discuss the case with the parties in an effort to settle the case. Should the case settle, the bar panelist will assist the parties in writing agreement/settlement terms as necessary.
We are looking for volunteers who enjoy meeting and greeting people and who would be willing, after an orientation program, to direct and/or escort court visitors to their proper destination, answer telephones, and convey information. This help is needed during regular business hours, Monday through Friday, beginning at 8:30 a.m. A volunteer may commit a minimum of one half-day per week, on a specific schedule. Numerous volunteers will be needed to staff information services checkpoints.
Volunteers are needed to assist with filing, basic data entry, sorting mail and other documents, telephone communication, photocopying, and reception. While previous office experience is helpful, it is not mandatory. Office supervisors and staff are willing to train volunteers in their office procedures and the use of equipment.
“People skills” would be a distinct plus, as many of our offices are open to the public and to attorneys. The court will make every effort to diversify these assignments so that volunteers understand the important contributions they are making.
Under the direction of the judge or other judicial personnel, volunteer judicial assistants perform a variety of non-security related court tasks to ensure the efficient and orderly conduct of court business in any of the court divisions, including Family, Civil, Criminal and Special Civil.
The purpose of the judicial assistants is to aid the judge and judicial staff in all ways which promote the dignity of the court, reflect the decorum of our courts, and assist in the professional conduct of all court business. This assignment requires extreme discretion, a professional appearance, the ability to learn and retain proper courtroom procedures and practices and the ability to communicate cooperatively and courteously with a diverse group of courtroom staff and users.