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Category Archives: Criminal

Our Criminal-Part Judges continue to handle matters by handle criminal matters by utilizing technology to enable the parties to appear remotely.

I have assigned our criminal part judges to handle emergent matters for the months of January and February, 2021 as set forth in the schedule list below. Of course, this schedule is subject to any Phase changes that may be implemented.

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The New Jersey courts are continuing to provide comprehensive court services at all state court locations and the Administrative Office of the Courts.

As we have for the past eight months, courts at all levels are following a “remote first” approach to court proceedings and court events. Accordingly, matters that can be conducted remotely will continue to be done remotely, and certain matters that cannot be handled in a remote format will be conducted in person.

All State Courts Will Continue to Support Emergent and Critical Functions, Which May be Conducted in Person When Necessary

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The Supreme Court has immediately suspended new in-person jury trials and in-person grand jury sessions because of the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Court’s November 16, 2020 Order (attached) is effective immediately and until further order.

Consistent with the Court’s October 8, 2020 Ninth Omnibus Order, virtual grand juries have been established in all counties. Existing virtual panels will continue to meet in a virtual format, and in-person panels also may be converted to convene virtually subject to the Judiciary providing technology and training as necessary to support all jurors in participating in virtual sessions. The end-dates for excludable time each have been extended by 45 days beyond the dates set in the October 8, 2020 Ninth Omnibus Order.

The New Jersey Courts will continue to operate in a primarily remote format with limited numbers of judges and court employees on-site and very few court events handled in person.

Questions about this notice may be directed to the Office of the Administrative Director of the Courts at (609) 376-3000.

/s/ Hon. Glenn A. Grant, J.A.D.

Acting Administrative Director of the Courts

Dated: November 16, 2020

Notice – COVID-19 – Suspension of New In-Person Jury Trials and In-Person Grand Jury Sessions; Revised End Dates for Excludable Time – 11-16-20.pdf

Order – COVID-19 – Suspension of New In-Person Jury Trials and In-Person Grand Jury Sessions; Revised End Dates for Excludable Time – 11-16-20.pdf

The Supreme Court has issued the attached Ninth Omnibus Order on Court Operations and Legal Practice during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. ***A copy of the Full Order is attached below for your convenience.***

This October 8, 2020 Ninth Omnibus Order continues certain adjustments necessitated during the COVID-19 period, including the prioritization of remote proceedings and permission for electronic signatures, remote or socially distanced depositions, and electronic service on the State of New Jersey. It also includes substantive changes designed to ensure that defendants detained without indictment promptly will have their cases presented to grand juries. To that end, the October 8, 2020 Ninth Omnibus Order includes the following new or updated provisions:

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Our criminal part judges continue to handle criminal matters by utilizing technology to enable the parties to appear remotely.

Below are the assigned criminal part judges to handle emergent matters for the months of October, November, and December as set forth in the schedule below. Of course, this schedule is subject to any Phase changes that may be implemented.

The schedule is as follows:

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Directive #23-06 (“Grand Jury Standards – Implementation and Questionnaire”) promulgated standard grand jury policies and procedures, including a standard charge to the grand jury (Attachment 3) and a standard oath of secrecy (Attachment 5). The grand jury standards as promulgated by directive #23-06 have been implemented statewide for over a decade.

In response to the ongoing COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, the Supreme Court on May 14, 2020 authorized a pilot program for virtual (video) grand jury sessions in Mercer and Bergen counties. Consistent with the Court’s May 14, 2020 Order, the Judiciary on May 15, 2020 issued a supplement to directive #23-06, which promulgated on a temporary basis a supplement to Attachment A (grand jury charge) and a supplement to Attachment B (secrecy oath). Those approved supplements have been issued to all county and state grand jurors convening in a virtual format during COVID-19.

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The Supreme Court’s Post-Pandemic Plan (issued June 10, 2020) outlined in general terms the transition from Phase 1 (fully remote operations) to Phase 2 (incremental return of limited numbers of judges and court staff to Judiciary facilities). Based on current public health recommendations and COVID-19 trends, the New Jersey courts will be expanding the scope of on-site court events, including for new jury trials, but without transitioning fully to Phase 3 as previously anticipated. For lack of a better description, the courts are now moving to “Phase 2.5.” This notice provides additional guidance as to events that may under appropriate circumstances be conducted on-site even while our court system overall continues to follow a “remote first” model.

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The Supreme Court has issued its Eighth Omnibus Order on Court Operations and Legal Practice during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. A copy of the Order is attached.

This September 17, 2020 Eighth Omnibus Order continues certain adjustments necessitated during the COVID-19 period, including the prioritization of remote proceedings and permission for electronic signatures, remote or socially distanced depositions, and electronic service on the State of New Jersey. It also reinforces provisions of the Court’s September 17, 2020 Order on the first jury trials, including as to the additional option of conducting voir dire in a fully virtual format with the consent of the attorneys and parties and the approval of the trial judge.

The September 17, 2020 Eighth Omnibus Order includes the following new or updated provisions:

  • Grand Jury. Confirming that all counties are virtually selecting new grand jury panels, and providing that grand juries in all counties will be equipped and ready to convene in a virtual format on or before December 1, 2020;
  • Criminal. Continuing excludable time provisions through October 11, 2020; and
  • Civil. Relaxing Rule 4:64-8(b) during the term of the Federal Housing Administration’s foreclosure and eviction moratorium for borrowers with FHA-insured Single Family mortgages covered under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and HUD Agency Letter 2020-27, so as to provide that a plaintiff will not be required to file a new complaint to reinstate a foreclosure matter that has been dismissed twice for lack of prosecution.

Questions about this notice or the Court’s Eighth Omnibus Order may be directed to the Office of the Administrative Director of the Courts at (609) 376-3000.

/s/ Hon. Glenn A. Grant, J.A.D.

Acting Administrative Director of the Courts

Dated: September 17, 2020

NOTICE (FULL NOTICE) Eighth Omnibus Order on Court Operations and Legal Practice.pdf

 

The Supreme Court has provided additional guidance on the first new jury trials to resume since the mid-March suspension of trials resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. As detailed in the Court’s July 22, 2020 Order and appended Plan for Resuming Jury Trials, new jury trials will be conducted in a hybrid format involving primarily virtual selection followed by socially distanced in-person trials.

The Court’s attached September 17, 2020 Order emphasizes that the resumption of jury trials is necessary to protect the rights of criminal defendants, including more than 2,500 indicted defendants who are detained awaiting trial, and for litigants in more than 9,000 ready civil cases. As with all aspects of COVID-19 court operations, the New Jersey courts will resume hybrid jury trials in a manner that supports the health and safety of all court users.

The Court’s September 17, 2020 Order clarifies and supplements the provisions of the Court’s July 22, 2020 Order as follows:

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The COVID-19 pandemic forced the New Jersey courts to suspend jury trials in mid-March 2020. Since the onset of the public health crisis, the Supreme Court has authorized temporary modifications to jury operations in order to safely resume criminal and civil jury trials as necessary to protect the rights of the people of New Jersey. This notice provides a comprehensive update on the rollout of hybrid jury trials, which will include primarily virtual selections and socially distanced in-person trials, and answers questions posed by attorneys and jurors.

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