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Category Archives: Family

NOTICE TO THE BAR

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 COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, the New Jersey courts have transitioned from in-person to virtual court proceedings in nearly all areas. However, grand jury sessions have been suspended for two months and remain unable to resume in an in-person format based on public health risks.

The Supreme Court on May 14, 2020 authorized a pilot program for virtual (video) grand jury proceedings in Mercer and Bergen counties, as one method of enabling criminal matters to move forward during this unprecedented crisis. As outlined in the Court’s May 14, 2020 Order, a number of additional safeguards are required before those virtual (video) grand jury sessions can begin. Those precautionary measures include reissuance of the standard charge to the grand jury, plus an additional supplement to that charge, and the requirement that all grand jurors reaffirm their oath of secrecy and swear or affirm a supplement to that oath. Consistent with the Court’s May 14, 2020 Order, this Supplement to Directive #23-06 promulgates on a temporary basis a supplement to Attachment A (grand jury charge) and a supplement to Attachment B (secrecy oath). Those approved supplements will be issued to all grand jurors convening in a virtual (video) format in the pilot counties.

Questions or comments regarding this Directive Supplement should be directed to the Office of the Administrative Director at (609) 376-3000.

Attachments: (1) COVID-19 Supplement to the Charge for Grand Juries

Convening in a Virtual Format (2) COVID-19 Supplement to the Oath of Secrecy for Grand Juries Convening in a Virtual Format

***Please follow the link below to view these additional attachments.***

Supplement to Grand Jury Charge and Oath of Secrecy for the Virtual Grand Jury Pilot Project (Supplement to Directive #23-06).pdf

Follow the link below and read the updated policy from the Supreme Court of New Jersey in regards to the required usage of facemasks when inside courthouses and court facilities. This notice effectively supersedes memos and supplements established on April 3rd and April 17th.

Memo – COVID-19 – Revised Policy on Masks and Face Coverings – As Signed – 05-08-20.pdf

NOTICE TO THE BAR

The New Jersey courts are committed to continuing court operations during and after the COVID-19 public health emergency. Sustaining and expanding meaningful access to justice throughout this unprecedented emergency requires a careful and considered balancing of interests. To that end, by Order dated May 5, 2020, the Supreme Court confirmed that the Judiciary Electronic Document Submission (JEDS) system launched in early April is an approved electronic filing system, and that all documents submitted through JEDS are filed upon receipt and deemed electronically signed.

The JEDs system was established pursuant to Rule 1 :32-2A(a) and serves as an approved electronic filing system for the trial divisions of the Superior Court and for the Tax Court. The electronic signature of documents filed in JEDS, as with the electronic signature of documents filed in eCourts, satisfies the signature requirements of Rule 1:5-6.

By that same May 5, 2020 Order, the Court supplemented and relaxed the filing requirements of Rule 1 :5-6 during the COVID-19 pandemic. Documents are deemed filed once transmitted through eCourts or JEDS. The trial court will issue deficiency notices where a document submission is missing information necessary to proceed with the pending court matter. Filers will be provided ten (10) days following the notice to correct matters covered by Rule 1 :5-6(c)(1) pursuant to the Court’s rule relaxation. For a deficiency that is not corrected, the document will remain filed subject to objections by adversaries and pending a decision by the assigned judge.

Additionally, where a document is electronically filed in the wrong venue, the wrong division, or the wrong case type, the court will redirect that document to the correct venue, division or case type without the need for a court order.

Attorneys are required to file in eCourts where eCourts is available. Those case types for which eCourts is available include Criminal, Civil Law, Special Civil DC, Foreclosure, Family- Children in Court, and Tax Court. Where eCourts is not available for a case type, attorneys must electronically file all documents in JEDS with the trial divisions of the Superior Court and the Tax Court, except that probate and guardianship documents will continue to be filed with the County Surrogate. For non-eCourts case types, attorneys are required to file both emergent and non-emergent matters in JEDS. When an attorney files a document in JEDS where eCourts is available for that case type, the filing will be dismissed by the clerk without a refund of the filing fee.

***A copy of the Supreme Court’s May 5, 2020 Order is attached.*** 

Questions regarding this notice may be directed to Superior Court Clerk Michelle M. Smith at (609) 815-2900 ext. 54200 or michelle.smith@njcourts.gov.

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

Acting Administrative Director of the Courts

Dated: May 8, 2020

Notice and Order – COVID-19 – Electronic Filing in eCourts and the Judiciary Electronic Document Submission (JEDS) System – Attorneys Required to File in eCourts Where Available.pdf

 

NOTICE TO THE BAR

As a further step in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting disruption to the courts and the legal system, the Supreme Court this week issued the attached May 4 order temporarily allowing attorneys licensed in another United States jurisdiction to provide needed pro bono legal services to individuals and small businesses affected by the public health crisis.

The basis for the order is the Court’s determination that the COVID-19 public health emergency constitutes an “emergency affecting the justice system,” thereby invoking Rule 1:21-10 which provides for this temporary authorization to practice in New Jersey.

The Court’s Order will enable in-house counsel and other attorneys not licensed in New Jersey to provide those critical services on a pro bono basis. The out-of-state attorney seeking to provide pro bono legal services must not be disbarred, suspended from practice, or otherwise restricted from practice in any jurisdiction, and must be supervised by an attorney licensed and in good standing in New Jersey. The supervising attorney must file a certification with the Supreme Court regarding all attorneys who provide pro bono assistance through this avenue

Questions about this notice should be directed to Superior Court Clerk Michelle M. Smith at Michelle.Smith@njcourts.gov or (609) 421-6100.

***Please follow the link below to see the attached notice.***

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

Acting Administrative Director of the Courts

Dated: May 6, 2020

Notice and Order – Temporarily Authorizing Out-of-State Attorneys During COVID-19 to Provide Pro Bono Legal Services Under Supervision.pdf

Criminal cases are being scheduled throughout the week. Law clerks are reaching out to attorneys in advance regarding scheduling and also on the day of the virtual Zoom appearance if there are delays in hearing a particular case. Adjourn dates are placed on the record and a notice is uploaded to ecourts.

Applications for Drug Court may be completed electronically and applications are on-line. TASC is able to do evaluations. There will be a virtual Drug Court graduation on May 21.

Attorney visits with Bergen County Jail inmates may be scheduled with the jail by sending an email request to jvelez@bcsd.us. The visits are confidential.

Bergen Vicinage IT Manager Ron Bell will be sharing on a weekly basis helpful links regarding the use of Zoom technology for members of the Bergen County Bar Association.  This helpful Zoom links for this week are as follows:

  1. Here is a link to Zoom Meeting Plans and Prices:https://zoom.us.pricing  (Review the plans offered by Zoom and select one that best fits your needs.)
  2. Here is a link to a video on how to join a Zoom Meeting: https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/201362193-How-Do-I-Join-A-Meeting
  3. Here is a link to a video on how to schedule a Zoom meeting through the Zoom website: https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/201362413-How-Do-I-Schedule-Meetings- 

 

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

COVID-19 – SECOND OMNIBUS ORDER ON COURT OPERATIONS AND LEGAL PRACTICE – MORE OPERATIONS TO BE CONDUCTED REMOTELY; LIMITED DISCOVERY EXTENSIONS AND TOLLING PERIODS

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 March 31, 2020 Notice to the Bar advised that Matrimonial Early Settlement Panel (MESP) events would resume using video or telephone technology, rather than in-person sessions, beginning the week of April 27, 2020. That notice included a number of steps to be taken to ensure the scheduling and conducting of these remote MESP sessions. Those steps have since been revised. Accordingly, the following steps replace the steps set forth in the March 31 notice: Read More