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New Measures About Criminal Speedy Trials & Excludable Time

SUPREME COURT OF NEW JERSEY

In response to the growing public health crisis worldwide and in this state involving the COVID-19 coronavirus, 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 (“NJ DOH”) and the Centers for Disease Control (“CDC”).

Based on the large number of persons required for jury and grand jury panels, on March 12, 2020, the Judiciary suspended all reporting for jury service except for ongoing trials and directed that no new criminal jury trials would be conducted until further notice, and on March 17, 2020, the Court postponed the empanelment of all grand juries, including the State Grand Jury, and cancelled all current grand jury sessions, including the State Grand Jury, effective Tuesday, March 17, 2020, through Friday, March 27, 2020

Accordingly, it is ORDERED that, effective immediately:

  1. In the computation of the time limits for the commencement of a prosecution for an indictable offense under N.J.S.A. 2C:1-6(b), the period from March 17 through Sunday, March 29, 2020, shall be tolled.
  2. In the calculation of the time period for the return of an indictment for an eligible defendant detained in the county jail, the period from March 17 through March 29, 2020, shall be excluded due to exceptional circumstances, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2A:162-22(b)(1)(f), and on account of good cause for the delay, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2A:162-22(b)(1)(l), namely, grand jury unavailability, which period shall be attributable to the court.
  3. In the calculation of the time period for the commencement of trial for an eligible defendant detained in the county jail, the period from March 12 through March 29, 2020, shall be excluded due to exceptional circumstances, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2A:162-22(b)(1)(f), and on account of good cause for the delay, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2A:162-22(b)(1)(l), namely, the statewide postponement of jury trials, which period shall be attributable to the court.
  4. Those excludable time provisions are not intended to prevent the parties from making every effort to continue to resolve cases prior to indictment and trial, and courts will conduct proceedings by video or phone, as appropriate.

 

For the Court,
/s/ Stuart Rabner
Chief Justice

Dated: March 19, 2020