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Category Archives: Bergen County Bar Association

Clarification of April 28, 2020 Notice to the Bar regarding Electronic Discovery

This will serve as a clarification of the April 28, 2020 Notice to the Bar regarding Electronic Discovery.  As to the last paragraph of the notice, the Jail will confirm with Division Manager Darcy that the Defendant has received the discovery.

Modification of APRIL 29, 2020 Notice to the Bar Regarding Attorney Video Visitation

 This will serve as a modification of the April 29, 2020 Notice to the Bar Regarding Attorney Video Visitation.   There has been a change in personnel.   Attorneys will make a request for dates and times beginning Monday, May 4, 2020 for a video conference through the Bergen County Jail Law Library by emailing Ms. Jenith Velez at jvelez@bcsd.us rather than Ms. Keisha McLean. This request should include the attorney’s preference for time slots, between 9:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m., seven (7) days a week.

Clarification and Modification Notice to the Bar.pdf

 

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.

By Order dated April 20, 2020, the Supreme Court established parameters for sentencing, as follows: (I) sentencing hearings may proceed using remote options (phone or video) only with the consent of all parties; and (2) courts have the authority to stay the commencement of the custodial term for certain sentences in Criminal, Family, and Municipal matters. This directive implements those provisions of the Court’s April 20, 2020 Order.

The attached guidance sets forth options judges should consider on a case-by-case basis for sentencing proceedings, including sentences to state prison, probation, county jail and juvenile facilities.

Please follow the link below and read Directive #13-20 which explains the Sentencing Guidelines During the COVID-19 public health pandemic provided by the Supreme Court of New Jersey.

Directive 13-20 – Sentencing Guidance During the COVID-19 Pandemic – 04-30-20.pdf

NOTICE TO THE BAR

Clarification of April 28, 2020 Notice to the Bar Regarding Electronic Discovery

This will serve as a clarification of the April 28, 2020 Notice to the Bar regarding electronic discovery.  All discovery, both electronic and paper discovery, must be dropped off at the jail.  Discovery cannot be emailed to the jail.  Laptops will be provided to inmates to view electronic discovery in the order of priority as outlined in the April 28, 2020 Notice to the Bar.  With this one clarification, the April 28, 2020 Notice to the Bar is in full force and effect.

Attorney Video Visitation

During the COVID-19 shutdown, effective Monday, May 4, 2020 the Bergen County Jail will temporarily implement video visitation for attorneys to visit their clients.  While the jail does offer attorneys the opportunity to meet with their clients in person through a window, we recognize that during the pandemic many are uncomfortable and unwilling to do so.

Please be mindful that the jail’s resources for this endeavor are limited, and this procedure requires dedicating staff to supervise the inmate/detainee.  At the present time, jail personnel are only able to accommodate one video conference at a time.  In order to accommodate as many attorneys as possible, conferences will be scheduled in thirty (30) minute blocks of time.

Attorneys will make a request for dates and times beginning Monday, May 4, 2020 for a video conference through the Bergen County Jail Law Library by emailing Ms. Keisha McLean (kmclean@bcsd.us).  The request should include the attorney’s preference for time slots, between 9:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m., seven (7) days a week.

An email will be sent to the attorney approving a time slot.  When the request is approved, the attorney will set up the meeting in ZOOM.  The attorney will then forward a meeting invitation with the link to legalvisit@bcsd.us.  The ZOOM technology allows for confidential, secure, unrecorded meetings.  It is up to the meeting moderator, in this case the attorney, to implement the technology in the correct manner, implementing the security and privacy options that ZOOM offers in the way that best meets the needs of the attorney and client.

The procedure for telephone conferences remains in place.  We hope this allows sufficient opportunity for attorneys to have productive meetings with their clients.

 

NOTICE TO THE BAR

Last Thursday, April 16th, 2020, I participated in a Zoom Bench-Bar Meeting with your President, Joseph Maurice, Executive Director, Frank O’Marra, and the Chairs of your Civil, Family, Chancery, Criminal and Municipal Practice Committees.

My goal was to provide information about the new way we are doing the court’s business during the COVID-19 pandemic. During the meeting, I listened intently to the concerns of the Bergen Bar and am hopeful that I allayed some fears.   I wanted to reinforce that most court proceedings continue to be conducted remotely using video and/or phone options.

Just this morning, our Chief Justice issued a new Omnibus Order restating the judiciary’s commitment “to supporting court operations in a virtual format to the greatest extent possible, subject to constitutional considerations and the limitations of our finite resources.”  The Order speaks for itself, but provides that no civil or criminal jury trials will be conducted until further notice, that grand juries are suspended through May 31, 2020, as are Landlord/Tenant calendars and lockouts. Read More

Tax Deadlines and the Pandemic

Strange world we’re living in at the moment. As a public service, the Tax Law Committee would like to set forth what the IRS has done recently with regard to tax deadlines in the face of the pandemic. Here they are:

Filing and paying deadline: For all taxpayers who file and pay their income taxes by April 15, the new deadline is July 15. This applies to all individual returns, trusts and corporations. No extension request is necessary. If you cannot file by July 15, file a Form 4868 to get an
extension to October 15. Remember – getting an extension to file does not extend the time to pay, which will remain at July 15. There is a limit on how much can be deferred: up to $1 million for individuals and $10 million for corporations.

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I never imagined that this would be the first address I would give to our members.

I hope this message finds you and your family healthy and safe.   You should know that the Bergen County Bar Association continues to operate during this difficult time in order to serve our members and provide as much information to you as possible.

To accomplish this objective, I have coordinated daily contact with the Sheriff’s Department, the office of the County Executive and Assignment Judge Mizdol in order to provide you with the most current information available.  Our executive board is in frequent discussions in order to keep you apprised as to updated protocols.  For example as we receive information regarding attorney visits at the jail, and attorney video conferencing for court proceedings we will advise you as quickly as possible.   You are encouraged to visit our website for this information and to check your emails for our e-blasts.

We have been through many hard times and we have always been able to overcome them.  This time is no different.  We should continue to practice with the utmost professionalism that is characteristic of our Association’s members.

Warmest regards,
BCBA President
Joseph A. Maurice, Esq.

UPDATE ON BERGEN COUNTY JAIL & RESCINDED COUNTY EXECUTIVE ORDER 2020-1B

  • While one Sheriff’s Department Correctional Officer tested positive for the Coronavirus several days ago and several other officers in close-quarters with that officer are all now under a 14-day self-quarantine, the Bergen County Jail continues its regular procedure for attorney interviews with inmates. No current inmate at the Bergen County Jail has been tested positive for the coronavirus.
  • Bergen County Executive Jim Tedesco today rescinded his Executive Order 2020-1B at the request of the Governor.  The Murphy Administration has stated that the only closures that could be enforced were those issued by the Governor. Law offices were specifically exempted from the County Executive’s order.Executive Order 2020-1B has never been enacted but was delayed to work with the Governor’s Office and to take the opportunity to revisit areas of the Executive Order that the County had received feedback on from the business community and the public.

Effective February 18, 2020, the Judicial Assignments are as follows:

PRE-JUDGMENT – Dissolution (FM) Motions and Trials
Docket Nos. Judge Team Leader Room # Phone #
01-28 Melchionne Kurt Schoening 265 201-221-0700, Ext. 25237
29-53 Guida Laura Mezza 260 201-221-0700, Ext. 25241
54-60 Gallina-Mecca Loretta Little 340 201-221-0700, Ext. 25303
61-90 DiBiasi Loretta Little 340 201-221-0700, Ext. 25303
91-100 Gallina-Mecca Loretta Little 340 201-221-0700, Ext. 25303

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