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Category Archives: Criminal


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.



At the direction of Assignment Judge Bonnie J. Mizdol and Criminal Presiding Judge Margaret M. Foti, the Bergen Vicinage now institutes the following steps for attorneys who wish to request that their clients be scheduled for review of electronic discovery.

In an ongoing effort to reduce the spread of Covid-19 at the Bergen County Jail, Warden Ahrendt and Captain Russo have instituted certain protocols, including the suspension of inmates reviewing electronic discovery at the Law Library, unless a request is made by counsel or the court. In those instances, limited review sessions will be arranged. Electronic discovery includes Flashdrives/CDs dropped off at the jail or electronic discovery that is emailed. Of course, defense counsel is always free to drop off paper discovery to the jail – the jail will arrange delivery to the particular inmate.

It is understood that inmates pending Pretrial Detention hearings have the most urgent need to review electronic discovery. Under these circumstances, attorneys should email Criminal Division Manager Leslie Darcy, and request that their clients be scheduled to immediately review electronic discovery which has been previously supplied to the jail. The email should include the defendant’s name, complaint numbers and the total approximate time needed for review of the electronic discovery.

Most other defendants are not as time sensitive in their need to review electronic discovery. The review of electronic discovery is absolutely important in all cases, but particularly where the defendant is considering a plea offer or preparing for a motion to be heard. If an attorney learns that his/her client has not yet reviewed the electronic discovery, and if it is important to do so quickly, the attorney will notify the judge assigned to the case. The attorney will request that the judge expedite their review session for the inmate. The request must include the defendant’s name, indictment or accusation number, total approximate time needed for the review, and the date by which the defendant needs to complete the review.

The judge will forward the request to the Criminal Division Manager Leslie Darcy, who will communicate with Captain Russo to effectuate the request.

The Bergen County jail will keep Criminal Division Manager Leslie Darcy apprised of defendants who have completed their review of the electronic discovery. If an inmate refuses to review the discovery, the jail will notify Division Manager Darcy.

Notice to the bar.pdf

April 27, 2020

Please be advised that the Bergen County Courthouse remains closed for entry by the public until further notice. However, court proceedings are still being held by way of video and telephone conferences.

You have been scheduled for a hearing for a violation of pretrial monitoring on Thursday, May 14, 2020 at 1:30 PM. You will be able to appear via telephone. Please see the attached court notice for details as to your required appearance.

Please call 201-370-2641 or email BergenPTSMailbox@njcourts.gov before Tuesday, May 12, 2020 to provide the Court with a telephone number at which you will be able to be reached on Thursday, May 14, 2020.

If you do not have an attorney and wish to apply for a Public Defender, please include that information when you call or e-mail the Court. If you already have a Public Defender and wish to contact their office, please call 201-996-8020.



The New Jersey Courts are committed to continuing court operations during and after the COVID-19 public health emergency. To that end, the Supreme Court announced the next phase of remote court operations and legal practice.

Please follow the link below and read the Second Omnibus Order from the Supreme Court of New Jersey relating to the status of continuing court operations and legal practice during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

Notice and Order – COVID-19 – Second Omnibus Order on Court Operations and Legal Practice – As Signed – 04-24-20.pdf

The Bergen County Criminal Part Judges are handling Criminal Matters by utilizing technology to enable the parties to appear remotely. Please the schedule below for the month of May for the assigned Criminal Part judges to handle emergent matters. Of course, this schedule is subject to change if the Courthouse opens to the public sooner

May 1 and 4: Judge Kazlau/Judge Wilcox

May 5 and 6: Judge Foti/Judge Bachmann

May 7 and 8: Judge Vinci/Judge Sattely

May 11 and 12: Judge Catuogno/Judge McGrogan

May 13 and 14: Judge Kazlau/ Judge Wilcox

May 15 and 18: Judge Foti/Judge Bachmann

May 19 and 20: Judge Vinci/Judge Sattely

May 21 and 22: Judge Catuogno/Judge McGrogan


May 26 and 27: Judge Kazlau/Judge Wilcox

May 28 and 29: Judge Foti/Judge Bachmann

Please follow the link below and read the attached notice below from the Supreme Court of New Jersey in regards to guidelines on remote proceedings in the Trial Courts, obtaining audio and video records, and the extent of the court’s authority to suspend the commencement of certain custodial terms.

4-20-2020 New Jersey Supreme Court Notice.pdf


The Supreme Court Omnibus Order on COVID-19 issues, entered March 27, 2020, in response to the growing health crisis worldwide involving the COVID-19 coronavirus, affirmed, continued, or supplemented provisions established in a series of prior orders, including the Court’s prior March 17, 2020 Order, which were necessitated as part of the Judiciary’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Omnibus Order extended a number of deadlines and tolled time periods. This notice provides guidance as to the effect of the Omnibus Order on specific Appellate Division practices and procedures. Read More


     In response to the ongoing COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic and the need to adhere to crucial social distancing measures recommended by the New Jersey Department of Health (“NJ DOH”) and the Centers for Disease Control (“CDC”), the Court has entered orders, including Orders dated March 17, 2020 and March 27, 2020 (“Omnibus Order”), that inter alia extended deadlines and tolled time periods.

This Order is to clarify that the Court’s extension of deadlines and tolling of time periods as set forth in those earlier orders did not apply to pretrial detention filings, including appeals filed pursuant to Rule 2:9-13 (“Appeals from Orders Granting Pretrial Detention”), responses to those appeals, and motions for leave to appeal pursuant to Rule 2:5-6 (“Appeals from Interlocutory Orders, Decisions and Actions”).

To the extent that a party may have interpreted the tolling provisions of prior orders otherwise, that party may pursue an appeal and submit an accompanying motion to file as within time.

For the Court,

/s/ Stuart Rabner

Chief Justice

Dated: April 9, 2020

Order – COVID-19 – Clarifying That Prior Orders Extending Deadlines and Tolling Time Periods Did Not Apply to Pretrial Detention Appeals.pdf