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Consolidated Atlantic County municipal court starts Monday

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Atlantic County Court House in Mays Landing

Atlantic County Court House in Mays Landing built in 1838.

The Central Municipal Court of Atlantic County, the first such court run by a county in New Jersey, will open Monday and begin hearing cases from nine participating towns, a county spokesperson said Saturday.

“We will be open and operational in January as promised,” county Executive Dennis Levinson said in a news release.

Most court proceedings will be conducted virtually with in-person proceedings limited to once or twice per week, according to the county.

Until the central court's permanent home is renovated, the in-person hearings will be held in the Criminal Court Complex at 4997 Unami Boulevard in Mays Landing.

The permanent location of the Central Municipal Court will be at 5901 Main St. in Mays Landing, in the historic courthouse.

“Renovations to the courtrooms in our historic court building on Main Street in Mays Landing have been delayed due to supply-chain shipment issues for HVAC replacement equipment,” Levinson said.

Those in favor of the system say a consolidated court will be more efficient and save money for participating municipalities. They also say it will better enable nonprofits to help people struggling with social emotional problems.

County officials announced Nov. 17 that Jewish Family Service had agreed to run a pilot social-services program in the central court. JFS will station three social workers in the court for its first 90 days of operation to immediately connect those in court with programs that provide mental-health and drug-addiction treatment as an alternative to traditional municipal fines.

Opponents of the courts, meanwhile, have raised concerns over transportation, having lawyers and court staff unfamiliar with the municipalities they serve and whether the new court would be too lenient on municipal-level offenders.

“Staff has been hired, summonses have been printed and a new website is being launched,” Levinson said.

Timothy Maguire will serve as the chief judge of the Central Municipal Court. Michele Verno, Richard Fauntleroy and Howard Freed will serve as associate judges, and Antoinette Tummon will serve as court administrator. Additional hires include deputy court administrators, violations clerks, municipal prosecutors and public defenders.

The Atlantic County Sheriff’s Office will provide security and transport operations.

The court also will handle all filings by the State Police and other state agencies, including the Division of Gaming Enforcement.

The nine participating towns are Egg Harbor Township, Galloway Township, Hamilton Township, Linwood, Northfield, Ventnor, Estell Manor, Weymouth Township and Port Republic.

For more information, visit aclink.org/centralcourt.

REPORTER: Michelle Brunetti Post

609-272-7219

mpost@pressofac.com

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Staff Writer

In my first job after college got paid to read the New York Times and summarize articles for an early online data base. First reporting job was with The Daily Record in Parsippany. I have also worked in nonprofits, and have been with The Press since 1990.

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