Former Ventnor Solicitor Becomes Chief Judge of Centralized Court.

Atlantic County Chief Judge Maguire from Ventnor

Swearing-in ceremonies were held on Feb 18 for the new Central Municipal Court of Atlantic County.

The former Ventnor solicitor, Tim Maguire, was sworn in as the Chief Judge by NJ Superior Court Judge Julio Mendez.

Four judges will preside in the consolidated court, the first of its kind in the State of New Jersey.

Judges Richard Fauntleroy and Howard Freed were sworn in by Presiding Judge of Municipal Courts Louis Belasco and incoming Assignment Judge Michael Blee.

Judge Blee will replace Mendez upon his retirement effective March 1.

The fourth judge, Michele Verno, was out of town.

Central Municipal Court of Atlantic County

In 2020, Atlantic County Executive Dennis Levinson invited the county’s 23 municipalities to explore the feasibility of a countywide municipal court as a shared service initiative to reduce costs and duplication and provide tax relief to county residents.

Towns like Brigantine and Margate declined to join the cost saving program. Protecting jobs seen as one key reason for these towns opting out.

  • Participating Municipalities:
  • Egg Harbor Township
  • Estell Manor
  • Galloway Township
  • Hamilton Township
  • Linwood
  • Northfield
  • Port Republic
  • Ventnor
  • Weymouth Township

“We’re proud to be a model for the rest of the state,” said County Executive Dennis Levinson. “Consolidation is never easy or unanimously accepted, but we believe it can work and work well and bring the benefit of efficiency and cost savings to our taxpayers.”

Watch video:

The ceremony took place at the recently refurbished courthouse on Main Street in Mays Landing.

Most cases are being conducted virtually as mandated by the Administrative Office of the Courts since June of 2021.

To learn more about the Central Municipal Court of Atlantic County, visit www.aclink.org/centralcourt.

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3 thoughts on “Former Ventnor Solicitor Becomes Chief Judge of Centralized Court.”

  1. I wonder how cases that are being conducted virtually ONLY is working for ALL individuals ? Especially citizens that do have computer access or computer skills that allow them to understand what to do and fully participate ? Seems like the Administrative Office of the courts is very powerful, Maybe even too powerful ! For depriving some individuals participation due to virtual ONLY handling of ALL CASES.
    Do those deprived citizens have any recorse ?

  2. I am an attorney and you ask about recourse from video appearances. Recourse is probably too strong a word. You have a Constitutional Right under both Constitutions “to confront” you accuser. Video is not a confrontation. I doubt any attorney could cause a lying witness “to sweat” on cross-examination by video. I have no idea how judges can assess credibility — that’s usually done by watching a person shift positions or small movements in their face. Attorneys have the same issue.
    You may want to look to the child sex victims testifying by (live) video laws from the ’80s-’90s. I haven’t read the cases in years but the NJ Supreme Court did allow it under very strict rules and circumstances. The polestar was trauma to the already traumatized child. In regular court, there is no such consideration.
    Then there is still no efficient way to introduce evidence. I have to send in bookmarked PDFs of every paper I might possibly have to use for a hearing. I have offered judges to email document and they always say something like, “Oh, I get the idea — are you representing it says X.” Everybody should see the whole document. That’s a smaller part of the Confrontation Clause.
    Don’t get me wrong, I have been pushing for video since I was a law student. I even wrote a paper about it. (I was an efficiency expert and court inefficiencies drive me nuts, such as “cattle calls” of 30 attorneys and clients on Monday to have 2-4 trials.) To some extent, it’s been “be careful what you ask for, you may get it.”
    There is “light at the end of the tunnel.” Attorneys are going to have to have scanners linked directly to printers next to the judge and adversary (or emails that auto-print in court or come right up on the court’s screens). We do have “white boards” and they work but I have not seen the courts accepting them yet.
    Courts are still 30-50 years behind other organizations — even other government branches. But they are being forced forward, finally, into the present because of the massive inefficiency of the current, still “old-fashioned” system which was striped bare by Covid.
    This isn’t legal advice. It’s just a Constitutionally protected exposition of the issues I see. Consider it a word to the wise, if pro se, or something to bring up with your counsel.

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