[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Council of the Borough of Wharton (Sec. 2-10 of the Revised General Ordinances). Amendments noted where applicable.]
In accordance with N.J.S.A. 2B:12-1 et seq., there shall be a Municipal Court of the Borough, known as the "Municipal Court of the Borough of Wharton," which shall have, possess and exercise all of the functions, powers, duties and jurisdiction conferred by the provisions of Chapter 264 of the 1948 Laws of New Jersey, as amended and supplemented, or by any other law. The Municipal Court shall have a seal, which shall bear the impression of the name of the Court.
There shall be a Judge of the Municipal Court, who shall be appointed by the Mayor with the consent of the Council for a term of three years. The Municipal Judge must possess the qualifications as set forth in N.J.S.A. 2B:12.1 et seq.
The Municipal Judge shall sit at times as the business of the Court may require. He shall exercise the functions, powers, duties and jurisdiction of the Municipal Court.
The Borough Council may, by ordinance or resolution, provide for a clerk (administrator) and other necessary clerical personnel and assistants for the Municipal Court in an amount not to exceed the ordinances of the Borough.
There shall be a prosecutor to serve in and for the Borough in the discharge of those duties incidental to such office before the Borough Municipal Court and such other courts as may, from time to time, be designed.
The Municipal Court Prosecutor shall be appointed annually by the Borough Council at the same time and in the same manner as other annual appointments are customarily made and shall continue to serve until a successor is duly appointed and qualified.
The Municipal Court Prosecutor shall serve at the will of the Borough Council, which service may be terminated upon 30 days' written notice.
Qualifications for the position of Prosecutor are that the appointee shall be a duly licensed attorney at law of New Jersey in good standing, and remain so throughout the term of service.
Remuneration for the position of Municipal Prosecutor shall be fixed by ordinance.
There shall be appointed by the Borough Council a Municipal Public Defender, whose duties it shall be to represent eligible, indigent defendants in proceedings over which the Municipal Court of the Borough of Wharton has jurisdiction.
The Municipal Public Defender shall be appointed annually by the Borough Council at the same time and in the same manner as other annual appointments are customarily made and shall continue to serve until a successor is duly appointed and qualified.
The Municipal Public Defender shall serve at the will of the Borough Council, which service may be terminated upon 30 days' written notice.
Qualifications for the position of Public Defender are that the appointee shall be a duly licensed attorney at law of New Jersey in good standing, and remain so throughout the term of service.
Remuneration for the position of Municipal Public Defender shall be fixed by ordinance.
To be eligible for the services of the Municipal Public Defender, a defendant must:
Be charged with a crime as specified in N.J.S.A. 2B:12-18; or
Be charged with an offense of which there is a likelihood, in the opinion of the Municipal Court, that the defendant if convicted will be subject to imprisonment or other consequence of magnitude; and
Meet the financial eligibility requirements, in the opinion of the Municipal Court, as set forth in N.J.S.A. 2A:158A-14 and guidelines promulgated by the New Jersey Supreme Court;
Provide all necessary applications, releases and authorizations, and documents; and
Pay an application fee of $200. This fee may be waived or reduced by the Municipal Court upon clear and convincing proof that the fee is an unreasonable burden upon the applicant. Said fee may be paid over time, not to exceed four months.
In the event that the Municipal Court cannot determine eligibility before the time when the first services are to be rendered, the Municipal Court shall refer the defendant to the Municipal Public Defender provisionally. If it is later determined that defendant is ineligible, or if it is determined that the initial determination was erroneous, the Court shall inform the defendant, and the defendant shall be obliged to engage his own counsel and to reimburse the municipality for the cost of the services rendered.
In the event the defendant is under the age of 18 years, the eligibility for services shall be determined on the basis of the financial circumstances of the individual and the individual's parents or legal guardian.
The Municipal Court shall be entitled to recover the cost of legal services from the parents or legal guardian and shall have the authority to require parents or legal guardians to execute and deliver any authorizations required to determine eligibility.
Municipal responsibility and reimbursements.
The municipality shall be responsible for payment of all necessary services of representation as determined by the Court. The factors of need and real value to a defendant may be weighed against the financial constraints of the municipality in determining the necessary services.
The municipality shall have a lien on any property to which the defendant shall have or acquire an interest up to the amount of the reasonable value of the services rendered to a defendant. To effectuate such lien, the Municipal Attorney shall file a notice setting forth the services rendered to the defendant and the reasonable value thereof with the Clerk of the Superior Court. Within 10 days of said filing, the Municipal Attorney shall send a copy of the notice with a statement of the date of the filing to the defendant by certified mail to the defendant's last known address. The filing of the notice shall constitute a lien for a period of 10 years from the date of filing and shall have the priority of a judgment.
The Municipal Attorney may do all things necessary to collect any money due to the municipality for reimbursement for services rendered by the Municipal Public Defender, including remedies available for recovery of a civil judgment, counsel fees and costs.
All application fees collected shall be deposited in a dedicated fund administered by the Treasurer of the municipality and shall be used exclusively to meet the costs incurred in providing the services of a Municipal Public Defender.