A Day in the Life of a Judge

Judge Napolitano served as a Superior Court Judge in New Jersey for ten years. He was appointed as a judge by the then Governor, Thomas Kean. When he assumed office in 1987, he was the youngest Superior Court Judge to hold office. He prefers to use original methods and ideas while delivering judgments.

The Superior Court in New Jersey has many functions. It functions as a trial law court, a chancery court, a tax court and an appellate court. Appeals from judgments passed in County Courts are heard at the Superior Court. The Supreme Court of New Jersey hears appeals from judgments passed by the Superior Court. Superior Courts also hear appeals from judgments of the Chancery and Law divisions of the Superior Court system. The Chancery division tries cases seeking general equity relief, family disputes, and probates. The law division tries felonies and cases seeking money in damages. The Tax Court is the division of the Superior Court system that tries tax cases. Other divisions will transfer cases involving tax disputes filed before them to the Tax Courts. Judges are appointed by the Governor of New Jersey and their term lasts for seven years or till they reach 70 years of age. The State of New Jersey has 21 Counties. There are 15 Superior Courts in New Jersey serving 15 districts or vicinages. Over 360 Superior Court Judges conduct trial and appellate cases across the State.

Andrew Napolitano served as a Superior Court Judge in New Jersey from the year 1987 to 1995. Superior Courts begin work at 8:30 in the morning and cases are heard till 4:30 in the evening. He heard evidence in cases with a jury and sometimes without a jury. Once the courts closed after work he wrote judgments by applying the law according to the facts of each case. His judgments were generally not based on precedent or previous judgments on the point of law. He preferred to apply original ideas while applying the law to the facts and this is what made his judgments unique. He was not a populist judge and worked to write judgments that were just, correct, and fair according to the circumstances of the case. He also regulated the process of trials in the court and guided the jury to make just and fair decisions. He heard appeals from judgments passed by county courts. Besides presiding over trials he also administered the functioning of the superior courts.

Superior Court Judges like him make sure that all disputes in New Jersey are tried in a fair and just manner. Their efforts increase the public’s respect for the rule of law in the State of New Jersey.