The city’s municipal court failed to refer 106 indictable cases to the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office, according to the annual municipal audit completed in early June.
The audit which was completed on June 8th, 2016 found 106 indictable complaints were not transferred to the county prosecutor’s office as of September 23rd, 2015.
“There should be no cases listed,” noted the auditors from Bayonne-based Donohue Gironda & Doria Bayonne which conduct’s the city’s annual audit.
Council members were provided copies of the audit report last week. Each of the council members are required to read a summary of the report.
“It’s extremely troubling to learn that. Any case deemed to be indictable should be referred to the prosecutor’s office for further action,” said Kenneth Morris, councilman at-large.
Morris said the audit provides a high level summary without providing the specifics of the 106 cases. “Not truly knowing the reason why so many indictable cases were not referred to the prosecutor’s office it makes it difficult to form an opinion,” he said.
Some details of the cases can be gleaned when a corrective action is put in place to rectify the audit finding, said Morris. It’s not clear what corrective actions have been taken to address the issue.
Court director Manuel Quiles did not return a call for comment on Monday afternoon.
“I’m not too sure what to draw from that,” said council president William McKoy, when asked about the audit finding. “The legislative body cannot interfere with the judicial branch.”
The assignment judge in a given vicinage, judicial district, has responsibility for the administration of the municipal courts in each of New Jersey’s counties.
Passaic County assignment judge Ernest Caposela’s chambers said the judiciary has a policy not to comment on such matters.
The audit also found a badly backlogged municipal court. There were 752 tickets on “other case statuses,” 2,638 cases on “overpayment status,” 31,504 tickets “assigned not issued over 180 days, 2,016 tickets “issued not assigned,” 437 complaints eligible for failure to appear over 14 days, and 27 parking tickets over three years old that require dismissal, according to the audit findings.
The auditors recommend the court review its Case Status Report to flag cases that require court action. Auditors also recommend the court review the Over and Under Payment Report to ensure all overpayment refund checks are processed on a monthly basis.
Tickets assigned over six months not issued should be recalled, recommend the auditors. Tickets Issued Not Assigned Report should be reviewed to ensure all tickets are assigned. The court should generate failure to appear notices in a timely manner. Auditors also suggest the court review its Follow-Up Incomplete Report to dismiss tickets over three years old.
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This report was last updated on July 13th, 2016 at 6 a.m.