The Criminal Division is responsible for assisting the courts in the administration of justice, and is responsible for, but not limited to the scheduling and noticing of all the criminal matters before the superior court, and the scheduling and noticing of all municipal appeals and related motions. It is responsible for the completion of all pre sentence investigation reports for both the superior and municipal courts; investigation reports for diversion programs; special investigations ordered by the court; statistical reports and analysis required by the administrative office of the courts and any other reports required by the court and related services.
The main objectives of the Criminal Division are to schedule and process cases in a timely manner; monitor defendants from arrest to disposition; maintain accurate documentation of court events; and assist the court in rendering just decisions that serve the best interest of society.
To accomplish our objectives, the Criminal Division's goals are to adhere to the time goals established by court rules and the local speedy trial planning committees in Somerset, Hunterdon, and Warren counties; and where appropriate to request modifications to augment and improve the procedures. We continue to look into the development of Delay Reduction Programs to divert matters and to expedite the resolution of court matters without the quality of justice being altered.
The major areas that the Criminal Division administers on a daily basis are: intake case initiation, case tracking, bail reduction motions, indigence determinations, pretrial intervention reports, pre sentence investigations reports; scheduling of court events based upon the criminal arraignment/status order and the time goals established by the court rules, the scheduling of trials, tracking of municipal appeals, the scheduling of motions from the municipal court, scheduling gun permit appeals and any other matters required to be heard by the Superior Court.
The Intake Team is responsible for the following duties and functions:
- Place defendants on case monitoring (formerly bail tracking). Defendants will remain with the intake team for case monitoring purposes from arrest through indictment or case completion. At the indictment stage defendants will be assigned a case supervisor/probation officer. Should a defendant apply for Pretrial Intervention at complaint stage, a case supervisor on a judge's team will be assigned. Defendant will remain with the team until the case is adjudicated.
- Review and monitor county jail list daily and interview all new defendants.
- Coordinate first appearance regarding arraignment on complaint; jail defendants have first appearance each day and non jail defendants during Friday's court.
- Interview defendants and make determinations on indigence applications.
- Take Pretrial Intervention applications and forward same to judge team for assignment to a case supervisor.
- Obtain State Bureau of Identification and FBI reports (RAP sheets).
- Input into Promis Gavel date information regarding bail, PTI, defendant's arrest, and motion scheduling.
- The intake team personnel will provide the court updated information on all motions for bail reductions, and a member of the team will be present at all bail motions to answer any questions of the court and provide any additional assistance if needed.
The judge's team is responsible for the following duties and
- Interview all defendants and prepare all Pretrial Intervention evaluation reports.
- Interview defendants and prepare all superior court pre sentence investigations.
- Interview defendants and prepare all municipal court pre sentence investigations.
- Complete any special investigations ordered by the court.
- Schedule and coordinate sentence dates.
- Schedule and coordinate all motions, status conferences, pretrial conferences, trials, and post conviction motions.
The responsibility for other matters related to scheduling and personnel matters are directed to the division manager and or designee.
In Warren and Hunterdon Counties, Early Disposition Programs (EDP) have been implemented in an effort to resolve cases prior to presentment
OTHER CRIMINAL MATTERS
Convictions in Municipal Court may be appealed to the Superior Court. Counsel must order the transcript of the hearing from the municipal court administrator. Counsel must be sure to notify the municipal court administrator of all dates on which the matter was heard in Municipal Court, and order the transcript for each date pertinent to the appeal. If the transcript request is not specific as to date, the court administrator may omit the date on which the plea was taken, and often it was at this appearance when defense counsel made some motion to be reviewed. The municipal court administrator provides the court with a transcript when it is prepared. Briefs in support of the municipal appeals are required as standard practice. The Criminal Division manager or designee provides the briefing schedule.
The court requires a brief to be submitted in all matters of this nature and a letter merely arguing that the verdict was against the weight of the evidence, will not suffice to satisfy the requirement.
Petition for Expungement
Verified petitions for expungement of criminal records are filed with an order fixing date for hearing. The petition is reviewed by a judge for procedural sufficiency and notice of all parties are required by the statute; then the Criminal Division schedules a hearing date which is incorporated in the order. This date is set approximately six weeks in advance permitting all the noticed parties time to review, investigate, and object if necessary.
Counsel should consult the statute before submitting the petition to prevent deficiencies in the application. As a courtesy, the court may advise counsel of the supplemental information necessary to render the petition in order prior to the hearing date, but may require the petition to be filed again (in such an event, a second filing fee is not ordinarily collected). If petition is in order and no objection is received by the hearing date, the petition may be granted on the papers.
Criminal Division - Public Records
Generally, all criminal records filed in the Criminal Division office are of public record which allows reporters, government officials, agencies, attorneys, etc. to view at their discretion. Inquiries, calls and requests pertaining to criminal records must be processed through this department.
In some instances, certain filed papers and documents are excluded from the public record pursuant to either a court rule or statue. In addition, there maybe a charge for a copy of a document.
Prepares and Maintains All Criminal Records
Collects, disburses, monitors, files, and enforces all criminal court documents. Processes complaints, indictments, no bills, appeals, expungements, judgments of conviction, PTI's and administrative Prepares certified copies as requested.
Process bail forfeitures as required.
Researches record checks and notates form with proper Charges fee associated with same.
Assignment of counsel to municipal courts for Pro Bono cases. Maintain an accurate and up-to-date assigned counsel list, interface with the Trial Court Administrator's Office when attorneys are added
Any and all fees applicable to the Criminal Division are to be paid to the Finance Division before filing motions and any applications as required.