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The Richard J. Hughes Justice Complex, the seat of New Jersey's Supreme Court.

NJ Supreme Court dismisses roughly 300,000 old cases

Dismissed cases deal with driver’s license suspensions issued before 1994

By Nikita Biryukov, May 26 2021 10:55 am

The New Jersey Supreme Court dismissed roughly 300,000 old cases related to driver’s license suspensions through an order released Tuesday.

The order dismissed cases involving active driver’s license suspensions dated before Jan. 1, 1994. Those suspensions will be revoked, and arrest warrants issued where defendants failed to appear will also be cancelled.

The dismissals only involve minor crimes — parking offenses, municipal ordinance violations and the like. More serious offenses, like driving under the influence, reckless driving and more serious traffic violations were not dismissed under the order.

The court’s move is an effort to clear old and minor cases from the judiciary’s backlog, in the interest of fairness and because of their age. The high court questioned whether the state could successfully prosecute cases that were so old, citing the availability of witnesses.

Roughly 11,000 of the dismissed cases involved an open arrest warrant issued since 2003.

Tuesday’s order was the first wave of such dismissals. The Administrative Office of the Courts has marked roughly 1.7 million unresolved municipal court cases that have been in limbo for at least 10 years.

It did not dismiss them all at once because doing so would be impractical, the court said.

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