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NOTICE: Virtual Grand Jury Program – (1) Supplement to the Grand Jury Charge; and (2) Supplement to the Oath of Secrecy

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.

Virtual grand juries have continued and are expanding as permitted by the Supreme Court. Consistent with the Court’s September 17, 2020 Eighth COVID-19 Omnibus Order, all counties are in the process of selecting new grand jury panels in a virtual format, and those new grand juries will be ready (and equipped with technology) to hear cases by December 1, 2020.

This update (to the May 15, 2020 supplement to directive #23-06) clarifies operational requirements for administration of the supplemental grand jury charge and oath and refines the language to cover new grand jury panels (rather than grand juries empaneled before COVID-19 that then reconvened in a virtual format).

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

Attachments:

  1. Updated COVID-19 Supplement to the Charge for Grand Juries Convening in a Virtual Format
  2. Updated COVID-19 Supplement to the Oath of Secrecy for Grand Juries Convening in a Virtual Format

Dated: September 30, 2020

From: Hon. Glenn A. Grant, J.A.D.

NOTICE Virtual Grand Jury Program (1) Supplement to the Grand Jury Charge; and (2) Supplement to the Oath of Secrecy.pdf