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For immediate release: July 28, 2005
For further information: Winnie Comfort
Tammy Kendig

New Jersey Courts Shrink Backlog in Key Areas; Progress Made Across All Divisions

Children and families are benefiting from aggressive case management strategies that have reduced dramatically the backlog of court cases in critical areas such as child abuse and domestic violence, today announced Judge Philip S. Carchman, acting administrative director of the courts.

During the court year ending on June 30, 2005, the courts achieved a 73 percent reduction in the backlog of child abuse/neglect cases, with 26 cases in backlog, and a 17 percent reduction in domestic violence cases, with 50 cases left in backlog. Backlog has been reduced by 41 percent for termination of parental rights (TPR) cases, and by 31 percent for delinquency cases. There were 10 child placement review (CPR) cases and 13 juvenile/family crisis cases left in backlog as of June 30, 2005.

The backlog figures were released today as part of the Court Management Report for court year 2005. The report shows significant backlog reduction across all divisions. In addition to cases involving families and children, the Judiciary achieved significant reductions in the Criminal, Civil and General Equity Divisions. The Criminal Division reduced the backlog of post-indictment cases by 6 percent, leaving 4,604 criminal cases in backlog statewide. The Civil Division, which receives more than 500,000 cases annually, reduced the backlog of civil cases by 15 percent and the backlog of special civil cases by 21 percent. Backlogged cases account for only 15 percent of the 90,994 pending civil cases and only 2 percent of the 46,665 pending special civil cases in the state. The backlog of general equity cases declined by 17 percent.

Backlog refers to cases that remain open beyond the self-imposed time goals that the Judiciary has established for each case type. The reduction in the Judiciary’s backlog indicates an increase in the number of cases that are resolved timely by the courts.

Judge Carchman congratulated both judges and staff members for reducing backlog. “Our success in reducing backlog is the direct result of the hard work and dedication of judges and their staff, who have committed themselves to providing timely justice for all of our citizens.”

In all, the Judiciary reduced the number of cases in backlog by 13 percent, from 26,369 cases in backlog on June 30, 2004, to 22,854 cases in backlog on June 30, 2005. By comparison, in June 2000, the Judiciary had 51,368 cases in backlog. The courts have reduced backlog by 56 percent in five years. That figure includes

  • a 93 percent reduction in backlogged abuse/neglect cases,
  • a 92 percent reduction in backlogged domestic violence cases,
  • an 86 percent reduction in backlogged delinquency cases,
  • an 82 percent reduction in backlogged juvenile/family crisis cases,
  • a 61 percent reduction in backlogged special civil cases,
  • a 57 percent reduction in backlogged civil cases,
  • a 46 percent reduction in backlogged general equity cases, and
  • a 23 percent reduction in backlogged criminal cases.

“We have made great strides in reducing the backlog,” said Judge Carchman. “Ideally every case would be resolved within the time frame we have set for that case type. To that end, we will continue to seek ways to resolve each dispute as timely and as efficiently as possible.”

The year-end Court Management Statistics report is available online at www.njcourtsonline.com.

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