Christie signs bill adding 20 judges needed for bail reform

Gov. Chris Christie signed legislation Monday that adds 20 new judges to New Jersey's Superior Court system and boosts spending by $9.3 million to pay for that expansion.



The judges are needed to handle an anticipated rise in court activity caused by a major overhaul of the state's bail system that took effect Jan. 1.



Gov. Christie says the bill will help ensure fair and swift justice, especially in places like Essex County where a shortage of judges slowed down court proceedings.



"The fact is that these judges should go to the places where it meets the goal of bail reform. Which is to give people speedy trial, to make sure that justice is dispensed, not just on the criminal side, but on the civil side as well," Christie said.



The governor signed the bill on the same day the state Senate's Judiciary Committee approved 12 judicial nominees who are expected to get final approval Tuesday. That would bring the number of judges statewide to 429, reducing New Jersey's judicial vacancy rate to its lowest in a decade.



The 20 new judges will boost the state's complement of judges to 463. State Supreme Court Chief Justice Stuart Rabner will decide where they are assigned.



The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.


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