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Category Archives: Bergen County Superior Court

NOTICE TO THE BAR

The Supreme Court today issued its Third Omnibus Order on Court Operations and Legal Practice in response to the ongoing COVI D-19 pandemic. A copy of the Order is attached.

This May 28, 2020 Third Omnibus Order addresses all provisions of the April 24, 2020 Second Omnibus Order (and the May 15, 2020 clarification order). It continues some of those provisions through June 14, 2020, affirms that other provisions remain in full force and effect, and lists those provisions that have concluded. Read More

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

FOR THE DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY

STANDING ORDER 2020-12

IN RE: COURT OPERATIONS UNDER THE EXIGENT CIRCUMSTANCES CREATED BY COVID-19, SUPERSESSION OF STANDING ORDERS 2020-02, 2020-03, 2020-04 AND 2020-09

WHEREAS, on March 13, 2020, the President of the United States declared a National Emergency in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic;

WHEREAS, in response to the spread of COVID-19, on March 9, 2020, the Governor of the State of New Jersey declared a State of Emergency of indefinite duration and a Public Health Emergency, which the Governor has extended through at least June 5, 2020; Read More

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; Read More

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 sue.callaghan@njcourts.gov or by phone at 609-815-2900 ext. 55300.

Directive #16-20 – _Guidance for Megan’s Law Proceedings During the COVID-19 Pandemic.pdf

NOTICE TO THE BAR

The Supreme Court has entered an order clarifying four provisions of the Court’s April 24, 2020 Second Omnibus Order regarding court operations during the COVID-19 crisis.

The May 15, 2020 Order, a copy of which is attached, clarifies the following aspects of remote court operations:

  1. The Office of Foreclosure will continue to review and recommend non-dispositive motions (e.g. , motions to substitute plaintiff, motion to enter default, motion for surplus funds and motions to correct defendant), but will not recommend judgments or dispositive motions received on or after March 1, 2020 pending further court order;
  2. The suspension of the requirement of courtesy copies as already applied to Civil matters also extends to Family matrimonial (FM) matters, meaning that courtesy copies are not required so long as the total submission (including appendices and attachments) does not exceed 35 pages;
  3. The ongoing suspension of trial calendars in Special Civil (DC) and Small Claims (SC) does not prevent attempts to settle those matters or requests in an individual case to proceed to trial. Judges may conduct DC and SC trials remotely with the consent of all parties; and
  4. In addition to certified copies and exemplified copies, and other categories covered by the March 27, 2020 First Omnibus Order, electronic signatures are permitted for documents to which the seal of the court is affixed by the Superior Court Clerk (including but not limited to orders, Judgments of Conviction, Judgments of Divorce, Qualified Domestic Relations Orders, and writs of execution).

Questions on this notice should be directed to the Office of the Administrative Director at (609) 376-3000.

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

Administrative Director of the Courts

Dated: May 15, 2020

Notice and Order – Clarification of Four Provisions of the Court’s Second Omnibus Order Regarding Court Operations During the COVID-19 Crisis.pdf

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

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 June 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.

  • June 1 and 2: Judge Vinci/Judge Sattely
  • June 3 and 4: Judge Catuogno/Judge McGrogan
  • June 5 and 8: Judge Kazlau/Judge Wilcox
  • June 9 and 10: Judge Foti/Judge Bachmann
  • June 11 and 12: Judge Vinci/Judge Sattely
  • June 15 and 16: Judge Catuogno/Judge McGrogan
  • June 17 and 18: Judge Kazlau/Judge Wilcox
  • June 19 and 22: Judge Foti/Judge Bachmann
  • June 23 and 24: Judge Vinci/Judge Sattely
  • June 25 and 26: Judge Catuogno/ Judge McGrogan
  • June 29 and 30: Judge Kazlau/Judge Wilcox
  • July 1 and 2: Judge Foti/Judge Bachmann
  • July 3: HOLIDAY

NOTICE TO THE BAR

May 13, 2020

The Bergen County Surrogate’s Court has extended electronic services to complete applications for appointment as Guardian of Minor’s Property resulting from a Friendly Hearing held in Superior Court. Electronic Services to complete the appointment shall take place on a limited basis on the first and third Friday afternoons of the month from 1:00 – 3:00pm.

To make application for appointment as guradian of a minor’s property, the guardians must provide a copy of the child’s birht certificate and social security card, both parents’ photo identification, name and address of any siblings, a valid email address and telephone number, proff of residence, a copy of any consents (if applicable), a copy of the court order entered at the time of the friendly hearing, and the processing fee. Upon receipt of same, an appointment will be made to take electronic signatures via Webex.

Be well,

/s/Michael R. Dressler, Surrogate

Deputy Clerk, Superior Court

Chancery Division, Probate Part

5/13/2020 Notice to the Bar.pdf

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:

  • REGISTRY DIVISION: The office continues to receive land record transactions by mail or electronically (E-Recording). Working with the Office of the County Executive, we have been able to distribute laptops to employees so that they can carry out these functions from home. Eleven employees are working to verify these processed documents in order to make them available to the public.
  • LAND RECORDS MANAGEMENT DIVISION: This division has continued to remain functional and open to title searchers on a very limited, rotational and secure basis. Following the approval of our request by the County Administrator on March 18, 2020, we initially permitted title searchers access from 8:30 am to 1:00 pm. To further diminish any potential exposure, we are now strictly limiting the title searchers to alternating every other day during the same hours. Everyone is required to wear a face covering or mask. The searching area has been completely disinfected and title searchers’ stations are more than 10 feet apart.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

John Hogan (Bergen County Clerk) 201-336-7006, jhogan@bergen.nj.us

Steve Shong (Deputy Clerk) 201-336-7030, schong@co.bergen.nj.us

Carlos Soto (Supervisor of Land Records Management) csoto@co.bergen.nj.us

Kathy Ciolko (Supervisor of E-Recording) kciolko@co.bergen.nj.us

Antoinette Kqira (Supervisor of Paper Processing) akqira@co.bergen.nj.us 

CLERK’S OFFICE NOTIFICATION.pdf