Civil Court Rules and Jury Charges

Kenneth Vercammen & Associates, P.C.
2053 Woodbridge Avenue - Edison, NJ 08817

Sunday, March 25, 2012

NJAC 1:1-14.6 Judge’s powers in presiding over prehearing activities, conducting hearings, developing records and rendering initial decisions

NJAC 1:1-14.6 Judge’s powers in presiding over prehearing activities, conducting hearings, developing records and rendering initial decisions

(a) The judge may schedule any form of hearing or proceeding and establish appropriate location areas and instruct the Clerk to issue all appropriate notices.

(b) When required in individual cases, the judge may supersede any notice issued by the Clerk by informing the parties and the Clerk of this action.

(c) Depending on the needs of the case, the judge may schedule additional hearing dates, declare scheduled hearing dates unnecessary, or schedule any number of in-person conferences or telephone conferences.

(d) When required in individual cases, the judge at any time of the proceeding may convert any form of proceeding into another, whether more or less formal or whether in-person or by telephone.

(e) The judge may bifurcate hearings whenever there are multiple parties, issues or claims, and the nature of the case is such that a hearing of all issues in one proceeding may be complex and confusing, or whenever a substantial saving of time would result from conducting separate hearings or whenever bifurcation might eliminate the need for further hearings.

(f) The judge may establish special accelerated or decelerated schedules to meet the special needs of the parties or the particular case.

(g) The judge may administer any oaths or affirmations required or may direct a certified court reporter to perform this function.

(h) The judge may render any ruling or order necessary to decide any matter presented to him or her which is within the jurisdiction of the transmitting agency or the agency conducting the hearing.

(i) The judge shall control the presentation of the evidence and the development of the record and shall determine admissibility of all evidence produced. The judge may permit narrative testimony whenever appropriate.

(j) The judge may utilize his or her sanction powers to ensure the proper conduct of the parties and their representatives appearing in the matter.

(k) The judge may limit the presentation of oral or documentary evidence, the submission of rebuttal evidence and the conduct of cross-examination.

(l) The judge may determine that the party with the burden of proof shall not begin the presentation of evidence and may require another party to proceed first.

(m) The judge may make such rulings as are necessary to prevent argumentative, repetitive or irrelevant questioning and to expedite the cross-examination to an extent consistent with disclosure of all relevant testimony and information.

(n) The judge may compel production of relevant materials, files, records and documents and may issue subpoenas to compel the appearance of any witness when he or she believes that the witness or produced materials may assist in a full and true disclosure of the facts.

(o) The judge may require any party at any time to clarify confusion or gaps in the proofs. The judge may question any witness to further develop the record.

(p) The judge may take such other actions as are necessary for the proper, expeditious and fair conduct of the hearing or other proceeding, development of the record and rendering of a decision.

Administrative Procedures


Where a confidential informant‘s statements served as evidence in a disciplinary action against a correction officer for engaging in an inappropriate relationship with an inmate, but the informant was not called as a witness during the hearing, the matter was remanded to allow the appointing authority to call the confidential informant as a witness; if the appointing authority did not call the confidential informant, the ALJ was authorized to act in its stead to take the testimony. In re Smith, OAL Dkt. No. CSV 4528-07, 2008 N.J. AGEN LEXIS 136, Remand Decision (January 30, 2008).

Record needed to be developed to facilitate review of ALJ‘s determination that a senior correction officer was improperly dismissed after he tested positive for marijuana because the expert‘s testimony was not transcribed and the parties offered conflicting interpretations of what the testimony was; the ALJ was authorized to take the expert‘s testimony to clarify the urine testing process, including appropriate cut-off levels, and the margin of error associated with such testing (remanding 2007 N.J. AGEN LEXIS 140). In re Fuller, OAL Dkt. No. CSV 439-06, 2007 N.J. AGEN LEXIS 1124, Remand Decision (November 8, 2007).

ALJ properly limited the evidence to whether a police officer was successfully re-trained, as required by a settlement agreement between the officer and the appointing authority arising out of a prior disciplinary matter; the allegations giving rise to the prior disciplinary proceeding did not need to be considered in determining whether the officer had fulfilled his obligations under the agreement (adopting 2007 N.J. AGEN LEXIS 242). In re MacDonald, OAL Dkt. No. CSV 474-05, 2007 N.J. AGEN LEXIS 1133, Merit System Board Decision (August 29, 2007).