For immediate release: June 12, 2006
For further information contact: Winnie Comfort or Tammy Kendig
Clerk of New Jersey's Superior Court Retires from 30-Year Judiciary Career
Donald F. Phelan, clerk of the Superior Court of New Jersey, has announced his retirement effective July 1, 2006. His retirement comes after 15 years with the Clerk's Office and 30 years with the New Jersey Judiciary.
"Don Phelan has served the Judiciary in numerous roles, and over the years he has seen us grow remarkably in breadth and scope. He has played an integral role in many of these changes, and we are grateful for his dedication," said Chief Justice Deborah T. Poritz.
The 1947 Constitution established the role of clerk of the Superior Court and gave the Supreme Court the power to make appointments to that position. As clerk, Mr. Phelan oversees the filings in all the trial court divisions of the Superior Court and directly supervises a staff of approximately 110 people in the central clerk's office who manage statewide case processing operations for the Superior Court. These operations include maintaining the statewide judgment index, managing electronic access to court records stored on the Judiciary's case management databases and overseeing long-term management and storage of case files.
"Don's thoughtfulness and professionalism have served him well over these many years," said Philip S. Carchman, acting administrative director of the courts. On a lighter note, he added, "Don's distinguished record of service is memorialized by his signature on countless court documents stuffed into drawers and boxes in homes and offices around the state. They may not have noticed, but millions of New Jersey citizens have received, and probably saved, Don's autograph."
Born in 1942, Mr. Phelan holds a B.A. from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. He served as a member of the Maywood Police Department from 1963 to 1971 and then joined the staff of the Hudson County Prosecutor's Office in 1971. In 1973 he was named criminal justice planner for Hudson County. From 1974 to 1976 he directed the county's pre-trial intervention program.
Mr. Phelan joined the Judiciary in 1976 as chief of pre-trial services. He was serving as deputy director of pre-trial services when he was named acting clerk of the Superior Court in 1990. His appointment became permanent in 1991.