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Backlog of NJ criminal cases up 14 percent

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot

The overall number of criminal cases in New Jersey’s courts has increased by a whopping 14 percent, which the judiciary says “reflects a loss of staff members and difficult economic times.” Statewide, 300 positions were eliminated through attrition or early retirements, said Judge Glenn A. Grant, acting administrative director of the courts, in releasing the fiscal-year figures.

“We are optimistic, however, that with the recent influx of new judicial appointments we will be able to make some headway against the backlog in the coming months,” Grant added.

On June 30, the courts had 229,622 cases pending, of which 27,501 were listed in “backlog.” That represents 12 percent of the pending caseload, up 1 percent from last year.

Officials characterize a case in “backlog” if it isn’t resolved within a set deadline.

The news is best in the Family Division, where caseloads remain relatively current, with 94 percent of all pending family cases within time goals for resolution.

That includes a 99 percent rate of timeliness for child placement reviews; 98 percent for child abuse and neglect cases; and 94 percent for domestic violence cases.

However, the backlog of cases involving custody or child support disputes between unmarried couples more than doubled this past fiscal year, to 9 percent from 4 percent.

Divorces also rose from 949 in backlog to 1,195, an increase to 6 percent from 5 percent.

Backlogged civil cases dropped by 3 percent: These include disputes between landlords and tenants, small claims, and auto and contract cases.

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