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For immediate release: February 14, 2011
For further information contact:
Winnie Comfort or Tammy Kendig
609-292-9580

New Judiciary Committee Seeks to Improve Court Access and Fairness

Chief Justice Stuart Rabner has announced the formation of the Supreme Court Committee on Access and Fairness.  The Committee will comprise judges, court managers, and representatives from outside organizations to work together on ways to enhance the public’s trust and confidence in the courts.

The chief justice has appointed Judge Glenn A. Grant, acting administrative director of the courts, as chair of the newly formed committee. Appellate Judge Francine I. Axelrad, who chairs the Supreme Court Committee on Women in the Courts, and Superior Court Judge Susan F. Maven, who chairs the Supreme Court Committee on Minority Concerns, will serve as vice chairs.

Chief Justice Rabner said, “The millions of litigants who come to the courts each year for a just resolution of their cases are entitled to believe that they have been treated respectfully and fairly in a neutral forum.  At the same time, all people, regardless of income, language barriers, or cultural or educational background, must have full access to the courts.  This committee will look at ways to improve our operations so that we can meet those needs in every case.”

The committee, which will hold its first official business meeting today, will create a statewide campaign to focus on how the courts administer justice in the face of such challenges as the continued increase in the number of self-represented litigants, the economic pressures applied to litigants and to the courts, and the need to treat each case and each litigant with dignity and respect.

Judge Grant said, “New Jersey has been a national leader in addressing issues of access and fairness. With wide representation from all parts of our legal system, this committee will take the critical next step to bring together our many efforts to improve the quality of justice and court experience for our many constituencies.”

Beginning in the early 1980s with the Supreme Court Task Force on Interpreter and Translation Services, the Supreme Court Committee on Women in the Courts and the Supreme Court Committee on Minority Concerns, the New Jersey Judiciary has a strong tradition of critical self-analysis. More recent efforts include the Ad Hoc Working Group on Pro Se Materials, internal training programs to build cultural competency for staff and judges, and the statewide ombudsman program. 

The access and fairness committee was formed as a result of a recommendation in the 2009 Report of the Advisory Group on Self-Representation in the New Jersey Courts. Formed in 2008, the advisory group analyzed the Judiciary’s efforts to serve litigants who represent themselves in court and made 25 recommendations to make the courts more accessible and fair for all litigants.

A list of members is attached.

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Members of the Supreme Court Committee on Access and Fairness

Hon. Glenn A. Grant, Acting Administrative Director of the New Jersey Courts, Chairperson
Hon. Francine I. Axelrad, Presiding Judge, Appellate Division, Vice Chairperson
Hon. Susan Maven, Family Division, Atlantic/Cape May Vicinage, Vice Chairperson
James S. Agro, Assistant Director, Management Services Division, AOC
Bobby Battle, Chief, Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action, AOC
Howard H. Berchtold, Trial Court Administrator, Atlantic/Cape May
David Beverly, Training Coordinator, Somerset/Hunterdon/Warren
Steven D. Bonville, Chief of Staff, AOC
Brenda Carrasquillo, Language Services Manager, AOC
Evelyn C. Carofilis, Vicinage Chief Probation Officer, Middlesex
Aney K. Chandy, President, Asian Pacific American Lawyers Assoc. of NJ, Inc.
Hon. Eugene J. Codey Jr., Presiding Judge, Civil Division, Essex
Carole A. Cummings, Municipal Division Manager, Cumberland/Gloucester/Salem
Glenn DeBlasio, Assistant Civil Division Manager, Special Civil Part, Passaic
Alfred Federico, Criminal Division Manager, Mercer
Jon Goodman, Trial Court Administrator, Bergen
John Italiano, Operations Division Manager, Burlington
Thomas Jackson, President, Garden State Bar Association
Debra Jenkins, Assistant Director, Municipal Court Services, AOC
Susanne K. Johnson, Assistant Secretary, New Jersey Board of Bar Examiners
Karen June, Volunteer Services Manager, AOC
Tamara Kendig, Communications Manager, AOC
Nancy L. Manuele, Litigant Services Manager and staff to the Committee on Access and Fairness, AOC
Yolande P. Marlow, Minority Concerns Unit, AOC
Melville D. Miller Jr., President, Legal Services of New Jersey
Joan Morisky, Human Resources Division Manager, Cumberland/Gloucester/Salem
Gordon Muth, Vicinage Chief Probation Officer, Passaic
Jennifer Nemeth, Civil Division Manager, Monmouth
Joseph H. Orlando, Clerk, Appellate Division
Jennifer M. Perez, Acting Clerk, Superior Court
Frank Provenzano Sr., Sheriff-Somerset County, President, Sheriff's Association of New Jersey
Hon. Joan Robinson Gross, Municipal Presiding Judge, Union
Janie Rodriguez, Ombudsman, Morris/Sussex
Theresa Romano, Ombudsman, Monmouth
Cheryl Ryan, Tax Court Clerk/Administrator
Juana Serra-Sans, Coordinator of Interpreting Services, Hudson
Gurpreet Singh, Special Assistant to the Administrative Director, AOC
Robert Smith, Director, Office of Trial Court Services, AOC
Rayman L. Solomon, Dean & Professor of Law, Rutgers University School of Law-Camden
Richard H. Steen, President, New Jersey State Bar Association
Brendon Toner, Family Division Manager, Ocean
Carmelita Vazquez, EEO/AA Officer, Camden
Hon. Donald J. Volkert Jr., Assignment Judge, Passaic
Kerri Lynn Walsh, Assistant Family Division Manager, Morris/Sussex
Hon. Thomas L. Weisenbeck, Family Presiding Judge, Morris/Sussex
Steven Wilkins, Chief, Organizational Development & Training Unit, AOC
Richard Young, Judicial Education & Performance, AOC

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