New Jersey State Bar Association - The voluntary Bar Association of New Jersey, serving members since 1899.

Capitol Report

December 9, 2013 

 

This is a status report provided by the New Jersey State Bar Association on recently passed and pending legislation, regulations, gubernatorial nominations and/or appointments of interest to lawyers, as well as the involvement of the NJSBA as amicus in appellate court matters. To obtain learn more, visit njsba.com

 

PENDING LEGISLATION

 

Judicial Administration

A-4363 (Cryan) Provides that the New Jersey Supreme Court shall have the authority to administer juror challenges through its rulemaking process. On Nov. 18, the bill was introduced and referred to the Assembly Judiciary Committee.

 

A-4419 (Vainieri Huttle) Clarifies a juvenile's right to attorney representation, and requires a 12-month judicial review hearing when a juvenile is placed out-of-home. On Nov. 18, the bill was introduced and referred to the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee.

 

Labor and Employment Law

S-2389 (Norcross) Concerns occupational safety and health for public employees of certain interstate authorities. On Nov. 18, the bill passed in the Senate (37-0) and was sent to the Assembly without committee reference, where it is now awaiting Assembly vote. 

 

S-2741 (Bucco) Modifies the short-time unemployment benefit law. On Nov. 18, the bill was amended on the Senate floor (29-0) and is awaiting Senate vote.

 

Land Use Law

A-4454 (Singleton) Revises the procedures for the use of eminent domain and compensation for loss of business in municipal redevelopment programs. On Nov. 18, the bill was introduced and referred to the Assembly Housing and Local Government Committee.

 

A-4455 (Singleton) Requires "just compensation" for condemnation of a single-family residence to be based on the cost of comparable relocation properties. On Nov. 18, the bill was introduced and referred to the Assembly Housing and Local Government Committee. 

 

Local Government Law

A-4456 (Singleton) Prohibits municipal officers and employees serving on redevelopment or housing agencies from voting to condemn property. On Nov. 18, the bill was introduced and referred to the Assembly Housing and Local Government Committee.

 

A-4472 (Angelini) Establishes best practices for the procurement and payment of legal services by local governments and school districts. On Nov. 18, the bill was introduced and referred to the Assembly Housing and Local Government Committee.

 

S-1400 (Rice) Requires local unit or authority to provide the director of the Division of Local Government Services with a report concerning lawsuits to which it is a party before a budget is approved. On Nov. 18, the bill was amended on the Senate floor (29-0) and is awaiting Senate vote. 

 

AMICUS ACTION

 

O’Boyle v. Borough of Longport, (Docket No. 70,999) At issue in this matter is whether certain documents requested from the borough are protected from access under the Open Public Records Act because they are protected by the attorney work-product privilege and common interest doctrine. On Nov. 18, Thomas Hoff Prol presented oral argument before the Supreme Court on behalf of the NJSBA, arguing in favor of broad protection under both the attorney work-product privilege and the common doctrine.

 

To read the NJSBA’s amicus curiae brief in this and other matters, visit the NJSBA’s website at njsba.com.

 

MILITARY LEGAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAM: 

The NJSBA, through its Military Law and Veterans' Affairs Committee, in conjunction with McCarter & English, L.L.P., has established the Military Legal Assistance Program. This pro bono program provides assistance to New Jersey residents who have served overseas as active duty members of reserve components of the armed forces after Sept. 11, 2001.

 

REMINDER: ATTORNEY VOLUNTEERS NEEDED

The New Jersey State Bar Association’s Military Legal Assistance Program continues to provide free legal advice to veterans who encounter legal issues before their deployment or upon their return home. Members of the military who have served in active duty or in the reserve units can receive assistance with family law, debtor-creditor issues and employment law matters. 

 

Any attorney who annually volunteers 25 or more hours of pro bono service can earn a Madden exemption through the Military Legal Assistance Program. 

 

To find out more, please visit the NJSBA’s website at njsba.com or email mlap@njsba.com.

 

INFORMATION ON THE MADDEN EXEMPTION

The below information relating to the Madden exemption originated from the New Jersey Court’s website. For further information, please visit the Court’s website. 

 

WHAT IS MADDEN?

In Madden v. Delran, 126 N.J. 591 (1992), the Supreme Court reaffirmed the bar’s duty to represent indigent defendants without pay where the Legislature has made no provision for the public defender to represent defendants who are entitled to counsel. The Court recognized that it was placing a burden on the bar that should be generally shared by the public at large. The Court said “We realize it is the bar that is bearing the burden…We trust the bar understands the strong policy considerations that have persuaded us. As has so often been the case, it is the bar that makes the system work, often without compensation.” 126 N.J. at 614. 

 

WHAT IS THE MADDEN EXEMPTION?

Attorneys who certify that they have performed at least 25 hours of pro bono services in New Jersey in the form of legal assistance to the poor in the year prior to the registration date. In conjunction with a Rule 1:21(e), Legal Assistance Organization and Legal Aid Society, or a Supreme Court-approved program are exempt. Additionally, attorneys who satisfy the same 25-hour requirement by servicing as a court appointment attorney-trustee pursuant to Rule 1:20-19, or who volunteer to handle termination of parental rights appeals as compensated public defender pool attorneys are also exempt under this category. 

 

Approved pro bono agencies (Exemption Code 88) are listed below:

 

·         Rule 1:21-1(e) Legal Assistance Organization and Legal Aid Societies

·         United States Bankruptcy Court Pro Bono Program

·         Domestic violence service providers

·         United States Immigration Court Pro Bono Program

·         United States District Court Pro Bono Program

·         Pro Bono Partnership Program

·         Essex Volunteer Lawyers for Justice Program

·         New Jersey State Bar Association’s Hurricane Sandy Relief Program

·         Veterans Law Clinic (at Widener University School of Law)

·         New Jersey State Bar Association’s Military Legal Assistance Program

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT EXEMPTION:

1.    I am an attorney who has worked 25 hours during the past year for various programs listed under category 88. I have worked 15 hours for one of the programs and 10 hours for another. Am I eligible to claim an exemption?

                                                                                                                   

Yes. The 25-hour requirement is not tied directly to services for one program. If the attorney volunteers 25 hours for any one program or for a combination of programs listed under category 88, the attorney is eligible to claim an exemption. 

 

2.    Must all New Jersey attorneys complete pro bono assignments?

 

No, certain attorneys, such as most full-time government attorneys, are exempt from mandatory pro bono services. Each year, the director of the Administrative Office of the Courts issues a list of all the categories of attorneys who are exempt. To be exempt, the attorneys must request the exemption on the annual pro bono questionnaire, which is part of the online annual attorney registration. If an attorney fails to require as exemption on the pro bono questionnaire, he or she will be assigned a case when his or her name rises to the top of the list. 

 

For more information, please visit the New Jersey Court’s website at njcourtsonline.com.