The Bergen County Jail (BCJ) has created a computer lab where inmates can view discovery weekly during scheduled blocks of time. Tablets may be available for inmates to access Lexis/Nexis for research purposes. Laptops may also be utilized as necessary and in the discretion of the BCJ. Viewing time for discovery may be expanded by court order during the inmate’s trial upon consultation with BCJ officials. When the jail receives new discovery, the inmate(s) will automatically be called down to the discovery lab, so they are informed that discovery has been received and may be reviewed by the inmate(s) as soon as possible. At that time the inmate(s) will have the opportunity to identify any concerns or difficulties in opening files.
The following protocol for electronic discovery is set forth in the Bergen County Jail’s policy manual:
A. The Bergen County Jail shall allow inmates access to electronic discovery to supplement in-person attorney visitation. All electronic discovery must meet the following conditions:
1. Electronic discovery must be submitted by an attorney in USB format accompanied by a completed manifest.
a) The manifest must contain:
(i) The inmate’s name and current booking number
(ii) The attorney’s name, address and contact number.
(iii) A detailed listing of the files contained on the drive.
(iv) Instruction for the inmate on how to operate proprietary player and/or access files.
2. Files must be in PDF, CSV, MP3, or MP4 formats that will open with VLC or Windows Media Player.
3. All personal content that does not pertain to the case at hand must be removed, including all that may be obtained from cellphone extractions.
4. No device may contain any contraband, including, but not limited to, pornography, movies, music, etc.
B. Electronic discovery will be inspected by the Jail Security Unit upon receipt of the file(s) to ensure compliance with these requirements.
C. Electronic discovery that does not meet the above criteria will be returned to the attorney.
D. When an inmate is no longer incarcerated at the Bergen County Jail, electronic discovery shall be returned to the attorney.
If the viewing of discovery is not compatible with the technology listed above, attorneys may bring in their own devices to view the discovery along with their clients. The Jail will afford attorneys the time and space for such a meeting.
Officials at the BCJ ask that attorneys be mindful of the content contained in the discovery (See A (4)) as well as the voluminous amount of information that usually occurs with a data dump. The BCJ also recommends that files be “unzipped” as to avoid any issues with opening files that otherwise meet the criteria above.
Any questions regarding the above can be addressed to:
Sergeant Christina Mamo
201-336-3500 ext. 4346