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The Bergen County Judiciary, in conjunction with the New Jersey Judiciary, is continuing to take preventive measures to reduce risks of exposure to and transmission of the COVID-19 coronavirus. We continue to handle as many matters as possible by telephone, Zoom or Teams platforms. However, during Phase II of operations certain in-person proceedings are being scheduled.
This is a reminder, especially during the peak of the vacation season, that should you have an in-person proceeding scheduled and have travelled to a quarantine impacted state as contained on New Jersey’s updated Quarantine Advisory, it is incumbent upon you to inform the court as soon as possible to allow for an appropriate quarantine time period.
Please know that you will not be permitted entry into the courthouse facilities until the required 14 day quarantine period has expired from the time of your last contact within the identified state.
We are being vigilant in our efforts to ensure the safety of all in the courthouse. Therefore, in addition to the disclosure of travel to an impacted state, you have an obligation to disclose whether you have experienced:
Your cooperation in keeping our courthouse safe for all who enter is much appreciated.
/s/ Bonnie J. Mizdol, A.J.S.C.
Dated: August 26, 2020
August 13, 2020 Bench Bar Conference
On August 13, 2020, Judge Mizdol met with the executive officers and substantive committee chairs of the Bergen County Bar Association for a Bench Bar Conference.
These conferences provide for the exchange of information and ideas between our members and our Bergen County Judiciary and we appreciate the continuation of this program.
During the recent meeting with Judge Mizdol, she explained the great efforts that she and the Bergen Judiciary are making to enable attorneys and litigants to return to the Courthouse. The efforts include, but are not limited to, courtroom layouts, safety and sanitary measures, social distancing requirements, courtroom logistics meaning what courtrooms can accommodate what cases, and protection of staff, attorneys, litigants, and judges. We should all be aware that the courthouse has gone through a thorough cleaning process in order to ensure everyone’s safety.
Can Lawyers Learn to Retire? Part Two Ted David, Esq
“You Gotta Know When to Hold Them… Know When to Fold Them”
– Kenny Rodgers..The Gambler
Opening Remarks Present BCBA Joseph A. Maurice on June 18, 2020 at the Bergen County Bar Association Virtual Town Hall Meeting
“Hello and good evening. Welcome everyone to the Bergen County Bar Association’s Town Hall. Your Association is happy to present this event to our members free of charge. I do encourage each of you to donate to the Bergen Benefactors at Bergenbar.org. Your donation will help maintain Association activities during this COVID crisis despite the lack of fundraising events that you have supported over the years. For those that have donated, thank you very much for your generosity and continued support.
Let us now observe a moment for silent prayer or reflection to be mindful of the events that have given rise to an outcry for social justice across our great nation. Our black community is hurting, we are hurting, our country is hurting. We must be one voice in declaring that black lives do matter. Anything less is not justice for all. I am confident, that as a profession that has sworn an oath to uphold our constitution and the rule of law, that we share a unified resolve to be better, do better and expect better from those around us. It is our issue and this Association will continue to address it.
We have many esteemed panelists this evening and we appreciate their attendance so I’d like to get started but first I want to share with you a few words on the state of your bar association.
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY
STANDING ORDER 2020-13
IN RE: USE OF FACE COVERINGS/MASKS: DUE TO COVID-19
WHEREAS, the President of the United States has declared a National Emergency, and the Governor of the State of New Jersey has declared a State of Emergency and a Public Health Emergency throughout the State, in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic;
WHEREAS, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other public health authorities have advised taking precautions to reduce the possibility of exposure to COVID-19 and to slow the spread of the disease;
NOTICE TO THE BAR
During these unprecedented times, we recognize the difficulty that practitioners face addressing client’s needs. In an effort to alleviate some of those difficulties for attorneys as well as pro se individuals, please be advised the Bergen County Surrogate Court’s website has been updated to include the forms for the Will Fact Sheet and Administration Fact Sheet. The produce for probate/administration, along with the newly uploaded forms, can be found at https://www.bergencountysurrogate.com . In the event you should have any questions, you are welcome contact our office for guidance.
We appreciate your patience as we work tirelessly to assist the public probate the estates of their loved ones.
/s/ Michael R. Dressler, Surrogate
Deputy Clerk, Superior Court
Chancery Division, Probate Part
NOTICE TO THE BAR
In response to the ongoing COVID-19 public health emergency, the New Jersey Judiciary is implementing all possible measures to apply social distancing in current court operations, consistent with the recommendations of the New Jersey Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control. To that end, the Judiciary has transitioned to a court system in which many matters are proceeding via video or telephone during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. Because this need may continue for many months based on current information, Megan’s Law proceedings should be conducted remotely by video or telephone for public safety and notification to the public about sex offenders. Therefore, I am issuing the attached guidance for judges to consider when deciding which Megan’s Law proceedings can be handled remotely by video or telephone during this COVID-19 crisis.
In making this determination, Megan’s Law judges and designated court staff should work with their Megan’s Law prosecutors and public defenders to review all cases pending judicial review. Private counsel should also be consulted, as matters with defense counsel for the most part should be able to proceed remotely by video or telephone. However, cases with expert testimony may need to be adjourned on a case-by-case basis at the court’s discretion. Where the registrant can only participate remotely by phone, the court should obtain the consent of the parties before conducting the hearing. Cases with registrants who do not have access to telephones, computers, or other electronic devices will need to be adjourned at this time. Alternatively, defense counsel may indicate that the matter can proceed because the registrant has waived the right to be present.
For pro se matters, court staff will need to work with the prosecutor’s office to obtain the registrant’s contact information to send the notices for the scheduled court date. Depending on local practices, the prosecutor’s office may be responsible for providing this information. In those counties, court staff should confirm that notices were sent by the prosecutor’s office, and whether there was a response by the registrant.
Additionally, court staff are responsible for providing the parties with the information on the technology that will be used for the remote proceeding (the link and the instructions to participate remotely via video or phone). The preferred technology for these proceedings is Microsoft Teams.
Any questions regarding Directive #16-20 may be directed to Assistant Director Sue Callaghan (Criminal Practice Division) via email at email@example.com or by phone at 609-815-2900 ext. 55300.
Due to the ongoing threat of COVID-19, the Office of the Bergen County Clerk will continue to remain closed to the public. However, we have been able to “keep the wheels turning” and carry out many of our functions due to the efforts, innovation and adaptability of my diligent staff.
Here is a current update concerning what the office has been able to accomplish under these challenging conditions:
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.
John Hogan (Bergen County Clerk) 201-336-7006, firstname.lastname@example.org
Steve Shong (Deputy Clerk) 201-336-7030, email@example.com
Carlos Soto (Supervisor of Land Records Management) firstname.lastname@example.org
Kathy Ciolko (Supervisor of E-Recording) email@example.com
Antoinette Kqira (Supervisor of Paper Processing) firstname.lastname@example.org