2053 Woodbridge Ave. Edison, NJ 08817

Ken is a NJ trial attorney who has published 130 articles in national and New Jersey publications on litigation topics. He has been selected to write the new ABA book: DUI and Drug Possession Defense".

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Victims’ Rights

Victims’ Rights

In 1990 the voters approved a constitutional amendment requiring that victims of crimes be treated with fairness and respect by the criminal justice system. The amendment entitled victims to be present at public judicial proceedings when not sequestered and authorized the Legislature to define rights and remedies for victims of crimes. Thereafter, a number of laws were enacted defining victims’ rights. Legislation was enacted

Allowing crime victims to submit a written statement about the impact of the crime to the Prosecutor’s Office prior to his or her final decision to file charges. The legislation also gave victims the right to make an in-person statement directly to the sentencing Court prior to sentencing. L. 1991, c. 44; N.J.S.A. 52:4B-36, -44.

Requiring restitution to crime victims, or, in the case of a homicide, to the nearest relative of the victim, where the victim suffered a loss. N.J.S.A. 2C:43-3.

Giving victims of a crime, or a relative of a murder victim, the right to present testimony, or make a presentation, to the parole board when the offender becomes eligible for parole. L. 1992, c. 59.

Allowing victims of certain crimes to demand that the offender be tested for HIV/AIDS. N.J.S.A. 2C:43-2.2.

Requiring community notification that an inmate convicted, or adjudicated delinquent, for a sex offense is to be released from incarceration or is going to relocate into a community. N.J.S.A. 2C:7-6.

Requiring the AOC to give advance notice to prosecutors, in certain cases, regarding defendant’s appearance before a judicial officer. This legislation then requires the prosecutor to give notice to the victim. L. 1994, c. 131.

Requiring prosecutors to provide notice to victims of a defendant’s escape or release from custody via ISP, commutation or parole release. L. 1994, c. 131.

Requires the prosecutor to notify the victim whenever a defendant charged with domestic violence is released from custody. N.J.S.A. 2C:25-26.1.

Requires the court to tell the defendant the approximate term to be served in custody before parole eligibility. L. 1994, c. 157. See also R. 3:21-4j.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Allocution Hearing

Allocution Hearing

After the defendant's guilt has been determined, or he has pled guilty, a Presentence Investigation (PSI) is ordered by the court. R. 3:21-2(a) has been interpreted as requiring that a presentence report be prepared in all indictable cases except death penalty cases. See State v. Buglione, 233 N.J. Super. 110, 113 (App. Div.), certif. den., 117 N.J. 636 (1989). See also Pressler, Rules Governing the Courts, Comment 3 to R. 3:21-2. However, where a functional equivalent of a full PSI is present in the file, the court may, on 3rd and 4th degree victimless offenses, sentence the defendant at the time of the plea when the sentencing can be expedited without jeopardizing fairness. This is known as simultaneous sentencing. Under the normal process, after the presentence report is prepared, a sentencing hearing is held. This is known as the allocution hearing, which is the court's inquiry of the defendant as to whether he or she has any legal cause to show why the sentence should not be pronounced against him or her and whether he or she would like to make a statement and present any information in mitigation of sentence. At this hearing the prosecution and defense make sentence recommendations to the court. The defendant also is allowed to make a personal plea to the court regarding the sentence. The judge then imposes the sentence and states his or her reasons for the sentence on the record.



N.J.S.A. 2C:43-6(a)





Extended Term Range



1st Degree (See below Exceptions)

2nd Degree

3rd Degree

4th Degree

10-20 years

5-10 years

3-5 years

up to 18 months

15 years

7 years

4 years

9 months

20 - Life

10-20 years

5-10 years

5 years***

50 years

15 years

7 years

5 years****



a. Overview

Sentencing in New Jersey is governed by the New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice, Title 2C. The Code of Criminal Justice defines what constitutes criminal activity and what the penalties are for violating the law. There are four degrees of crime: first degree, second degree, third degree and fourth degree. The most serious criminal activity is encompassed in the first degree category. An example of a first degree crime is armed robbery. The least serious type of criminal activity is contained in the fourth degree category. An example of this would be theft of goods valued at between $200-$500. Below these four levels of crimes there are two levels of less serious offenses, 20

which are categorized as disorderly persons, and petty disorderly persons offenses. Upon conviction of a crime of the first degree, a judge may sentence within a prescribed range of 10-20 years in state prison; for violating a second degree crime, within a range of 5-10 years in state prison; for a third degree crime, within a range of 3-5 years in state prison; and for fourth degree crime, within a range of up to 18 months. Any sentence of one year or greater is a sentence to state prison unless the county has a penitentiary or workhouse. N.J.S.A. 2C:43-10(a) and (b).

These sentencing ranges were placed in the Criminal Code to guide judges' discretion and, hopefully, avoid undue sentencing disparity. Sentencing disparity occurs when two offenders who have similar backgrounds and who committed similar offenses receive dissimilar sentences. A judge can determine the length of sentence, within the permissible range by first starting at the mid-range of the sentence range and then considering the aggravating and mitigating factors. Aggravating factors are factors that aggravate the crime or make the crime more serious while the mitigating factors are factors that mitigate the crime or make the crime less serious.

Under the Code, there is a presumption of incarceration for persons sentenced for first and second degree crimes or for persons convicted for a second time of theft of a motor vehicle or of the unlawful taking of a motor vehicle. This means that it is presumed that the judge will sentence an offender to state prison. In order to overcome this presumption, which would allow the judge to sentence the offender to probation or another non-incarcerative term, the court, having regard for the character and condition of the defendant, must find that the defendant's imprisonment would be a serious injustice which overrides the need to deter such conduct by others. N.J.S.A. 2C:44-1(d).

There is no presumption of incarceration for crimes of the third and fourth degree. This means that the judge is free to determine whether or not to sentence the offender to incarceration. However, there is a presumption against incarceration if the offender is a first offender. This presumption against incarceration does not apply to certain third or fourth degree crimes such as theft of a motor vehicle, unlawful taking of a motor vehicle, eluding, or a crime of the third or fourth degree constituting bias intimidation. N.J.S.A. 2C:44-1(e). 21

Once a judge decides to impose a prison sentence, the judge can also fix a minimum term of parole ineligibility if he or she is clearly convinced that the aggravating factors substantially outweigh the mitigating factors. These minimum terms are called discretionary minimum terms as they are solely within the discretion of the judge. A minimum parole ineligibility term is a period of time that the offender must serve in prison before becoming eligible for release on parole. A minimum parole ineligibility term can be up to one half of the maximum sentence that is imposed. N.J.S.A. 2C:43-6(b).

There are a number of statutes that require that the judge impose a mandatory minimum parole ineligibility term, meaning that the judge has no discretion whether to impose a minimum term. Some examples are persons convicted of possession of a firearm with intent to use it against the person of another or committing certain offenses while using or possessing a firearm (Graves Act), death by auto while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, sex offenses (second or subsequent offenses) and distributing drugs near or on school property (School Zone).

The Criminal Code also gives sentencing judges the discretion to extend the term of imprisonment of offenders convicted of first, second, or third degree offenses who are (1) persistent offenders, (2) professional criminals, (3) hired criminals, (4) second offenders with a firearm, (5) convicted of committing certain crimes and during the course of committing the crime used, or were in possession of a stolen motor vehicle, or (6) convicted of aggravated sexual assault, sexual assault, aggravated criminal sexual contact or criminal sexual contact involving violence and the victim was 16 years of age or younger, or (7) knowingly involved in criminal street gang activity. In most cases in order to extend the term, the prosecutor must make an application to the court and the court must hold a hearing. At the hearing, the State must prove that the defendant falls within the enhancement criteria set forth in N.J.S.A. 2C:44-3. Pursuant to Rule 3:21-4 (e), (f), the prosecutor need not file notice to seek an extended term if the extended term exposure is part of the negotiated plea agreement and is set forth on the guilty plea form.



Once all 12 jurors and any alternates have been selected, the jury is sworn and is considered impaneled. If there are no pre-trial motions, the trial begins. The trial begins with opening statements by the prosecutor. Defense counsel may then choose to give an opening statement. After opening statements are complete, both sides present their evidence to the jury. The State presents its case first. When both sides have finished presenting their evidence, each side presents closing arguments to the jury. After closing arguments are finished, the judge charges the jury as to the applicable law. The jury then deliberates and eventually returns a verdict of guilty or not guilty. In order to return a guilty verdict the jury must be unanimous. If the jury is unable to arrive at a unanimous verdict (“hung jury”), the judge can declare a mistrial.

Right to Trial by Jury


a. Right to Trial by Jury

If a defendant decides to contest guilt, the defendant is entitled, by both the United States and New Jersey Constitutions,3 to a trial by a jury. The right to a jury trial generally applies to all criminal acts where the penalty for the offense exceeds six months in confinement. The right to a jury trial can be waived by the defendant if the court approves. The defendant also needs the approval of the prosecutor to waive a jury trial in the sentencing phase of a capital case. If the judge grants such a request, the judge alone hears the case. See R. 1:8-1(a). This is known as a bench trial. In addition to the right to a jury trial, the defendant has the right to be present at every stage of a trial, including jury selection. See R. 3:16.

b. Selection of a Jury

In criminal cases a jury consists of 12 persons, unless the parties agree that the jury may consist of fewer than 12. One exception is a capital case where there must be 12 jurors. See R. 1:8-2. Normally, 14 persons are selected who sit and hear the case, with two designated as alternate jurors at the end of the trial. In many cases judges will empanel alternate jurors in the event that one of the twelve jurors cannot finish the trial, e.g., due to sickness. The alternate jurors are available for deliberations if one of the 12 deliberating jurors becomes ill or otherwise cannot continue to serve. Jurors are drawn from a merged list of registered voters, licensed drivers, filers of state gross income tax returns, and filers of home state rebate application forms in the county where the case will be tried. 19

The jury is selected after the judge questions prospective jurors about their backgrounds or the answers provided on the juror questionnaire. If the court allows, counsel may be permitted to personally question jurors or offer questions for the court to ask of jurors. This process is known as jury voir dire. This process seeks to determine whether jurors have a bias or prejudice which would render them unable to objectively evaluate all testimony and render a fair and impartial verdict. During this process, both the defense and the prosecution are given what are known as peremptory challenges. These challenges allow the parties to exclude prospective jurors who are being considered for selection to the jury without giving a reason for excluding them. See R. 1:8-3(d). Of course, the court will always exclude jurors for cause, such as where a juror has personal knowledge of the case.

Pre-trial Conference

Pre-trial Conference

At the arraignment/status conference, motion dates and a date for a future status conference are set. All motions are heard prior to the last status conference. The last status conference is the

pre-trial conference. The court conducts a conference when there are no motions pending, discovery is complete, all reasonable attempts to dispose of the case prior to trial have been made and it appears that further negotiations or an additional status conference will not result in either the disposition of a case or progress towards the disposition of a case. The pre-trial conference is conducted in open court with the defendant, defense counsel and prosecutor present. At the pre-trial conference, unless objected to by a party, the judge will ask the prosecutor to describe the case. The judge then addresses the defendant and advises the defendant of the State's final plea offer and the authorized sentence for the offenses charged. The defendant is also advised of a plea cutoff, which means that ordinarily a negotiated plea will not be accepted after the conference and after a trial date has been set. The judge also advises the defendant of his or her right to trial. If the defendant wishes to proceed to trial, a 18

trial memorandum is prepared and reviewed on the record and a trial date is set. No motions are normally heard after this event and a plea cutoff is in effect. A plea cutoff means that, after the last status conference, the State's plea offer is withdrawn and the defendant must either proceed to trial or enter a plea to the indictment without a recommendation from the State. Negotiated pleas shall not be accepted absent the approval of the Criminal Presiding Judge based on a material change of circumstance, or the need to avoid a protracted trial or manifest injustice. See R. 3:9-3(g).

Motions in criminal cases


A motion is a legal pleading which asks the court for some specific action, e.g., to suppress evidence unlawfully obtained. It is normally a document that sets forth facts and legal arguments to persuade a judge to grant the action requested. The most common type of motion is a motion to suppress evidence. Most motions are filed by defense counsel, but some, such as a motion for depositions, may be filed by the State. At the time of filing, motions are normally accompanied by an affidavit. See R. 1:6-2; 1:6-6.

For purposes of continuity this section on motions is included before the discussion on pre-trial conferences. In practice, motions should have been addressed either well before the conference, or will be addressed subsequent to this point (e.g., motion for judgment of acquittal after the jury's verdict). All motions that can be disposed of before the pre-trial conference should be in order to make the pre-trial conference a more productive event.

Arraignment/Status Conference

Arraignment/Status Conference

The first in-Court event after indictment is the arraignment/status conference. The arraignment/status conference, which occurs within 50 days of the return of the indictment, is held in Superior Court and consists of the judge advising the defendant of the substance of the

1 Discovery is the facts and information that will be relied upon in trial and is provided to the opposing party. A copy of discovery is required to be delivered to the Criminal Division Manager's Office or available at the Prosecutor's Office, within 14 days of indictment. Defense counsel is required to obtain discovery no later than 28 days after the return or unsealing of the indictment. See R.3:9-1(a).

2 A plea bargain is an offer by the State to the defendant, which gives the defendant some consideration or benefit in return for his or her plea of guilty. Sometimes the bargain is for a plea in exchange for a reduction or dismissal of charges (charge bargain). Other times the bargain is for a plea in exchange for a recommendation of reduced sentence (sentence bargain). Still other times the bargain is for both a reduction or dismissal of charges and for a reduced sentence (charge and sentence bargain). 17

charges against him or her, as contained in the indictment, confirming that the defendant has reviewed the indictment and discovery with counsel, and asking him or her to enter a plea to the charges. If the plea is not guilty, counsel is to report to the judge on the status of plea negotiations. At the arraignment/status conference, the dates for hearing motions and a further status conference are set. See R. 3:9-1(c).

Pre-arraignment Conference

Pre-arraignment Conference

The first post-indictment event is a pre-arraignment conference, which is conducted by the Criminal Division of the Superior Court. This conference occurs within 21 days after indictment. At this conference, defense representation is confirmed, discovery1 is available, and the uniform defendant intake form is completed. If the defendant has not previously applied for PTI, and asks to do so, an application is taken. The court can also screen for eligible Drug Court candidates. The purpose of this conference is to insure routine matters, which need not take up valuable judicial resources, are resolved prior to the arraignment/status conference. This allows the first court event, the arraignment/status conference, to be used as a tool to dispose of cases or to set firm dates for motions, future conferences and trials. The arraignment/status conference is scheduled to occur a few weeks after the pre-arraignment conference, by which time defense counsel should have reviewed discovery and discussed a negotiated plea with the state. Giving the parties time to review discovery prior to the arraignment/status conference provides a better opportunity to discuss a realistic plea bargain,2 diversion or dismissal, or, if the case is going to proceed to trial, to discuss the specific needs of the case, e.g., motions, and to set realistic dates to meet these specific case needs.

No pre-arraignment conference is required where the defendant has obtained counsel and the Criminal Division Manager's Office has established to its satisfaction that (1) an appearance

has been filed under R. 3:8-1; (2) discovery has been obtained, and (3) the defendant and counsel have obtained a date, place and time for the arraignment/status conference. See R. 3:9-1(a).

What is Indictment ?


1. Indictment

An indictment is a written statement of the essential facts constituting the crime charged. The Court Rules require that the indictment be signed by the prosecuting attorney and endorsed by the foreperson of the grand jury as a True Bill. The indictment must also state the official statutory citation for the crime charged. See R. 3:7-3. Once an indictment has been returned, it

is filed with the court, either by returning it to the assignment judge, or, with his approval, any other Superior Court judge. R. 3:6-8(a). Once returned, the assignment judge can order that the indictment be kept secret, i.e. sealed, until the defendant is arrested or the indictment is ordered unsealed by the court. When an indictment is sealed it is usually at the request of the prosecutor who may not want an on-going investigation to be compromised by public knowledge of the indictment or if there is concern that the defendant who may not have been arrested on the underlying charges may flee the jurisdiction of the court before being arrested

Grand Jury

Grand Jury

If a complaint is not resolved pre-indictment, it is presented to a grand jury for action. The right to have charges presented to a grand jury is guaranteed by the New Jersey Constitution. See N.J. Const. art. I. 8. The function of the grand jury is to investigate criminal complaints, with the goal of either bringing charges against those responsible for criminal conduct, or refusing to bring charges where prosecution is unwarranted.

A grand jury consists of no more than 23 members, randomly selected from the general public. The assignment judge appoints one juror to be foreperson and another deputy foreperson. Each county must have a grand jury at all times. The deliberations of the grand jury are secret. An assistant prosecutor presents the State's case to the grand jury. Neither the defendant, nor his or her attorney attend grand jury proceedings unless the defendant asks to testify before the grand jury. If 12 or more members of the grand jury find that charges are warranted, the panel renders an indictment, which is called a "True Bill." If the grand jury finds charges are unwarranted, it returns a "No Bill." If a case is "No Billed," the grand jury, through the foreperson, reports this in writing to the assignment judge, who, if the defendant is in jail, will order the defendant's release unless there are other charges pending for which detention is required.

Pre-indictment Event

Pre-indictment Event

One of the clearest messages from the experiences of speedy trial programs during the 1980s was that it is important to assess cases early. Doing so saves valuable system resources and promotes a just resolution of cases. In that vein, most counties have moved to bring the judge, attorneys and Criminal Division staff together pre-indictment. Many counties hold a formal in-court event, such as Central Judicial Processing (CJP) or Pre-indictment Program (PIP). At this event, the prosecutor screens the case to determine whether to remand the case to Municipal Court, to administratively dismiss the case or to proceed to indictment. For those cases that will proceed to indictment, the pre-indictment event is also used as a vehicle for early diversion into the Pretrial Intervention Program (PTI) or to plea to an accusation; to resolve issues regarding defense representation, e.g., indigency; to screen for eligible Drug Court candidates; and to complete the uniform defendant intake report (UDIR). Other counties hold a less formal event that is normally scheduled after the prosecutor has screened the case. Staff from the criminal division meet with the defendant and the UDIR is completed and counsel is identified, or if the defendant does not have counsel, an application for a public defender is completed and indigence is determined. The defendant is also told he or she can apply for PTI. If the defendant wishes to do so, a PTI application is taken.

First Appearance

First Appearance

The first appearance is, generally, the first time a defendant appears before a judge. If the defendant is in custody, the first appearance is to be conducted within 72 hours, excluding holidays. If the defendant is released on bail, the first appearance is to occur without unnecessary delay. See R. 3:4-2(a). At the first appearance the judge informs the defendant

a. of the charges and furnishes a copy of the charges;

b. of the right not to make a statement as to the charge. The defendant also is

informed that any statement he or she makes may be used against him or


c. of the right to counsel or, if indigent, the right to have counsel

furnished without cost. 14

If the defendant is charged with an indictable offense, the judge also informs the defendant

of the existence of the PTI program and how to apply for admission to the program;

of the right to indictment by grand jury;

of the right to a trial by jury;

of the right to have a hearing as to probable cause.

R. 3:4-3 provides that if a defendant does not waive a hearing as to probable cause, one shall be held. As a practical matter, once such a hearing is requested, an indictment normally occurs prior to the hearing thus averting the need for such a hearing.

At this first appearance, the court also reviews bail if the defendant is incarcerated. See

R. 3:4-2. The first appearance can take place in front of either a Municipal Court judge or a Superior Court judge. In some instances it occurs at a pre-indictment event such as CJP or PIP.

Released on Own Recognizance (ROR)

Released on Own Recognizance (ROR)

When a court releases a defendant on his/her own recognizance the court does not set a bail amount. However, a recognizance must be signed by the defendant thereby acknowledging that he or she will appear in court and abide by any other conditions imposed by the court.

Additional information about bail forms, procedures and guidelines is available at the Criminal Practice Division section of the Judiciary Infonet site.

Types of Bail

Types of Bail

When bail is set, it can be satisfied in one or more of the following ways

1. Cash Bail

The defendant or surety must deposit with the court a certain amount of money. A surety is a person, other than defendant, who is posting bail.

Full Cash

Full cash bail must be posted when a defendant is charged with certain crimes of

the first or second degree as enumerated at N.J.S.A. 2A:162-12a. and the defendant

1. has two other indictable cases pending at the time of the arrest;

2. has two prior convictions for a first or second degree crime or for

a violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-7 or any combination thereof; 12

3. has one prior conviction for murder, aggravated manslaughter,

aggravated sexual assault, kidnapping or bail jumping; or

4. was on parole at the time of the arrest.

Ten Percent Cash Bail

Except in first or second degree crimes as set forth in N.J.S.A. 2A:162-12 and unless the order setting bail specifies the contrary, whenever bail is set pursuant to R. 3:26-1, bail may be satisfied by the deposit in court of cash in the amount of ten percent of the bail amount, and by the defendant executing a recognizance for the remaining ninety percent. Under the Court Rules, ten percent cash bail is presumed when the judge sets an amount, unless the judge orders otherwise. See R. 3:26-4(g). When ten percent cash is deposited with the court and is owned by someone other than the defendant, the owner of the cash cannot charge a fee other than the lawful interest. See R. 3:26-4(g).

2. Corporate Surety Bonds

A corporate surety bond usually is posted by a bail agent (bondsman) who represents an insurance company that is approved by the commissioner of the Department of Banking and Insurance. The bail agent must have a power of attorney from the insurance company. The bond is a contract between the court and the insurance company whereby the insurance agency agrees to be responsible for the full amount of the bail should the defendant fail to appear in court.

3. Property Bonds

For a property bond, the defendant or a surety posts real property, (e.g., a house) to satisfy the bail amount. In order to post real property, the defendant or surety must provide the court with the following information in accordance with

N.J.S.A. 2A:162-12:

1. a legal description of the property;

2. a description of each encumbrance on the real property; 13

3. the market value of the unencumbered equity owned by the

affiant as determined in a full appraisal conducted by an appraiser

licensed by the state of New Jersey; and

4. a statement that the affiant is the sole owner of the

unencumbered equity.

If real property is going to be posted for a crime with bail restrictions as identified in N.J.S.A. 2A:162-12a, the property must be located in New Jersey with an unencumbered equity equal to the amount of the bail undertaken plus $20,000.

Review of Initial Bail Set

Review of Initial Bail Set

1. Informal Review

Any person unable to post bail shall have his or her bail reviewed by a Superior Court judge no later than the next day, that is not a Saturday, Sunday, nor a legal holiday. See R. 3:26-22. In most counties, the Superior Court judge reviews the 11

bail shortly after the offender reaches the county jail by reviewing the complaint, usually in chambers, but in some instances with a Criminal Division probation officer or investigator who has interviewed the offender in jail. In some counties, an assistant prosecutor is present during the review. This procedure was started largely as a response to jail overcrowding and provides a quick method of reviewing bail.

2. Formal Review

The Court Rules only provide for a bail review via motion. Under R. 3:26-2(d), bail reduction motions are to be heard no later than seven days after the motion is filed. In some counties, the full seven days is required before a motion to reduce bail is heard while in others these motions are scheduled in less than seven days. However, in order to alleviate jail over crowding and reduce the volume of work created by the filing of motions, most counties do not require the filing of a motion for this review. These counties automatically schedule a review for any new defendant that remains in custody unable to post bail. However, a motion is required for any subsequent bail review requested by defense counsel.

Bail in Domestic Violence Cases

Bail in Domestic Violence Cases

Violations of domestic violence restraining orders should be reviewed with the same severity as high impact offenses. Once a defendant has been arrested and charged with an indictable domestic violence offense, a Superior Court judge will set bail. Non-indictable N.J.S.A. 2C:29-9(b) bail matters should be handled by a Superior Court

judge, unless otherwise approved by the Assignment Judge. In domestic violence cases some special rules apply: 10

1. A judge cannot set bail without considering the defendant's prior record.

2. There is a statutory requirement that bail be set within 12 hours of arrest.

3. Once bail has been set, it may not be reduced without prior notice to the

county prosecutor and the victim.

4. Bail shall not be reduced by a judge other than the judge who originally

ordered bail, unless the reasons for the amount of the original bail are

available to the judge who reduces the bail and are set forth on the


5. The victim’s address is to be kept confidential.

6. A copy of the bail order, specifying conditions of bail/release, including

restraints, must be given to the victim forthwith.

7. Bail orders on domestic violence cases must capture

a. the gender of the parties,

b. the relationship of the parties,

c. the relief sought, and

d. the nature of the relief granted.

Where relief is sought or granted, a uniform record of this information must be kept for the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) to file mandated periodic reports to the legislature. See P.L. 1991, c. 261 and the "Domestic Violence Procedures Manual."

f. When Bail is Set

Bail is initially set either contemporaneously with the issuance of a warrant, subsequent to the issuance of a warrant but prior to the first appearance, or at the first appearance. However, if bail was not set when an arrest warrant was issued, the person who is arrested on that warrant shall have bail set without unnecessary delay, and no later than 12 hours after arrest

Purpose of Bail

Purpose of Bail

The purpose of bail is to ensure that a defendant appears for all court events, both pre-trial and trial. Its purpose is not to punish nor is it to detain a person pre-trial to assure he doesn't commit another crime (preventative detention). State v. Johnson, 61 N.J. 351, 364 (1972); State v. Fann, 239 N.J. Super. 507 (Law Div. 1990). Additionally, the Court has said that the constitutional right to bail must not be unduly burdened, i.e., that excessive bail should not be utilized as a means of confining the accused until trial. State v. Johnson, supra, 61 N.J. at, 364-365.

c. Authority to Set Bail

A Superior Court judge may set bail for a person charged with any offense. Bail for any offense except murder, kidnapping, manslaughter, aggravated manslaughter, aggravated sexual assault, sexual assault, aggravated criminal sexual contact, a person arrested in any extradition proceeding or a person arrested under N.J.S.A. 2C:29-9b for violating a restraining order may be set by any other judge, or in the absence of a judge, by a Municipal Court administrator or deputy court administrator. In most cases, bail is set initially in Municipal Court by a Municipal Court judge. See R. 3:26-2(2). 9

d. Factors to Consider when Setting Bail in a non-capital case.

In State v. Johnson, supra, 61 N.J. at 364-365 the Court identified a number of factors that must be considered in fixing bail

1. The seriousness of the crime charged against the defendant, the apparent

likelihood of conviction, and the extent of the punishment prescribed by

the legislature.

2. The defendant's criminal record, if any, and previous record on bail, if


3. The defendant’s reputation and mental condition.

4. The length of the defendant’s residence in the community.

5. The defendant’s family ties and relationships.

6. The defendant’s employment status, record of employment, and financial condition.

7. The identity of responsible members of the community who would vouch for the defendant's reliability.

8. Any other factors indicating defendant's mode of life, or ties to the

community, or bearing on the risk of failure to appear.

See also R. 3:26-1, which lists background, residence, employment, family status, the general policy against unnecessary sureties and detention as factors to consider when setting bail. R. 3:26-1 also allows the court to R.O.R. defendants and impose terms or conditions necessary to protect persons in the community.

Right to Bail


Bail is the money or property deposited with the court to secure the release of a person held in custody awaiting the resolution of charges against him or her.

a. Right to Bail

The right to bail, except in capital cases, is guaranteed by the New Jersey Constitution and is provided for in the Court Rules. See R. 3:26-1(a). The New Jersey Constitution, Article I, paragraph 11, provides that

All persons shall, before conviction, be bailable by sufficient sureties, except for capital offenses when the proof is evident or presumption great.

Paragraph 12 further provides that

excessive bail shall not be required . . .

The Court, in interpreting this right, has said that the right to bail means that

the accused has the right to pre-trial liberty on such bond and in such amount as in the judgment of the trial court under the circumstances of the case will assure his appearance at the trial. State v. Johnson, 61 N.J. 351, 359-360 (1972). 8

However, the Court has recognized that bail may not always be possible. In Johnson, the Court also said

if, however, the court is satisfied from the evidence presented on the application for bail that regardless of the amount of bail fixed, the accused if released will probably flee to avoid trial, bail may be denied. Id. at 360.

Note also that a person may be denied bail in a capital case where the prosecutor presents proof that there is a likelihood of conviction and reasonable grounds to believe that the death penalty may be imposed. See R. 3:26-1(a).

Indictable Complaints

Indictable Complaints

Where the complaint alleges an indictable offense, the complaint, and all investigative reports, are required to be forwarded to the prosecutor within 48 hours. The Municipal Court is to forward the complaint to the Criminal Division Manager's Office within 48 hours. See R. 3:2-1(b)



A summons is the process by which a defendant is ordered to appear before the Court on a certain date. If a summons is used, a Court Disposition Report – 1 (CDR -1) is filled out and a copy is handed to the defendant, who is then released. These reports are forwarded to the State Police and are used to create an offender's computerized criminal history (CCH) commonly referred to as a rap sheet.

b. Arrest Pursuant to a Warrant

An arrest warrant is a document that orders the police to arrest a defendant and bring him before the court issuing the warrant. If an arrest warrant is used, a CDR-2 is filled out and bail is set. If bail is posted the defendant is set free. If bail is not posted, the defendant is detained pending a first appearance, which is normally held in Municipal Court. However, in some counties first appearances are centralized before the presiding judge of the Municipal Courts or a Superior Court judge.

c. Arrest without a Warrant

In many instances, the criminal process actually begins with an arrest by a police officer where no formal papers, i.e. complaint, have been filed with the court. Where this occurs, the accused is arrested, brought to police headquarters where a complaint is prepared. The matter is then brought before a judicial officer, who determines whether there is probable cause that an offense has been committed by the accused and determines whether a summons or warrant will be issued. See R. 3:4-1. If the judicial officer issues a summons, the defendant is given the complaint-summons (CDR-1) and told to appear at a later date. If the judicial officer issues a complaint-warrant (CDR-2), the defendant is remanded to jail unless bail is posted. Simultaneous with making of the probable cause determination, the judicial officer should also set bail, or the conditions under which the defendant may be released from jail pre-trial, such as Released on 7

his/her own Recognizance (R.O.R.), no contact with victim, or cash bail. The present Court Rules allow for the setting of bail by a Municipal Court administrator or deputy court administrator in the absence of a judge at the judge's discretion. There is also statutory authority for this responsibility. See N.J.S.A. 2B:12-21c.


Summons or Warrant upon Complaint

Summons or Warrant upon Complaint

The procedure after a complaint is made depends on who is making the complaint and/or whether a complaint-summons or complaint-warrant is being sought. If a private citizen is making the complaint, or a law enforcement officer is seeking an arrest warrant once a complaint is filed, a judicial officer (judge, municipal court administrator or deputy court administrator) makes a determination of whether there is probable cause to believe an offense has been committed and that the defendant may have committed it. If a judge reviews a complaint and does not find probable cause, the complaint is dismissed. If a judicial official other than a judge finds no probable cause, then the procedure contained in R. 3:3-1(d) is utilized to dismiss the complaint. If probable cause is found, a judicial officer must determine whether a summons or warrant should be issued. A summons will be issued unless a judicial officer finds that one of the conditions set forth in R. 3:3-1(c) exists. The conditions for issuing a warrant are: (1) the accused is charged with a serious crime; (2) the accused has previously failed to respond to a summons; (3) the accused is dangerous to self, other persons, or property; (4) there is an outstanding warrant against the accused; (5) the identity or address of the 6

accused is unknown or (6) there is reason to believe the accused will not respond to a summons. If one or more of these conditions exist, the judicial officer must issue a warrant, as opposed to a summons.

If the law enforcement officer decides to issue a summons, that officer may do so without a prior determination of probable cause.



The pre-indictment phase of criminal case processing encompasses all actions taken in relation to the case from the filing of the initial charges through presentation of the case to a grand jury.

1. Complaint

The criminal process normally begins with the filing of a complaint in Municipal Court. The process can also begin with an arrest without a warrant or by the return of an indictment. The complaint is a written statement accusing a specific person of committing an offense and citing the essential facts constituting the offense. Complaints are normally made by police officers, but all citizens have the right to lodge complaints. The Court Rules require that the court clerk or deputy clerk, Municipal Court administrator or deputy court administrator accept for filing complaints made by any person. See R. 3:2-1(a). The Rules require that the complaint be made upon oath or by certification before a judge or other person, e.g. Municipal Court administrator, authorized by N.J.S.A. 2B:12-21 to take complaints.

New Jersey Judiciary, Adult Drug Court Programs Administrative Office of the Courts Criminal Practice Division

New Jersey Judiciary, Adult Drug Court Programs Administrative Office of the Courts Criminal Practice Division Joseph J. Barraco, Esq. Assistant Director Carol Venditto, Manager-Drug Court Unit Tel# 609-292-3488 Fax# 609-292-9659 Email: carol.venditto@judiciary.state.nj.us Maurice Hart Jayne Cavanaugh, LCADC Statewide Drug Court Coordinator Statewide TASC Coordinator Tel# 609-633-2101 Tel# 609-984-3834 maurice.hart@judiciary.state.nj.us jayne.cavanaugh@judiciary.state.nj.us Criminal Practice Division, Drug Court Unit Hughes Justice Complex, 7North - PO Box 982 Trenton, NJ 08625-0982 Atlantic County Drug Court Atlantic/Cape May Criminal Drug Court Courthouse 4997 Unami Blvd. 2nd floor Mays Landing, NJ 08330 Drug Court Judge: Michael Connor, J.S.C. Tel# 609-909-8135 Fax# 609-909-8246 DC Coordinator: Celeste Goodson Tel# 609-909-8113 Fax# 609-909-8246 celeste.goodson@judiciary.state.nj.us Bergen County Drug Court Bergen County Courthouse 10 Main Street Room 150 Hackensack, NJ 07601 Drug Court Judge: Lois Lipton, J.S.C. Tel# 201-527-2465 Fax# 201-371-1107 DC Coordinator: Barbara Morgan Tel# 201-527-2405 Fax# 201-371-1123 barbara.morgan@judiciary.state.nj.us Burlington County Drug Court Burlington County Criminal Drug Court 50 Rancocas Road, 3rd Floor Mount Holly, NJ 08060 Drug Court Judge: James W. Palmer, Jr., J.S.C. Tel# 609-518-2855 Fax# 609-518-2948 DC Coordinator: Michelle Consuegra Tel# 609-518-2559 Fax# 609-518-2639 michelle.consuegra@judiciary.state.nj.us Camden County Drug Court Camden County Criminal Division 101 South Fifth Street Camden, NJ 08103 Drug Court Judge: Thomas A. Brown, J.SC. Tel# 856-379-2357 Fax# 856-379-2220 DC Coordinator: Scott Decicco Tel# 856-379-2200x 3358 Fax# 856-379-2288 scott.decicco@judiciary.state.nj.us NJAdultDrugCourtPrograms-contacts 9/27/10

Cumberland/Gloucester/Salem Drug Court

Gloucester County Criminal Division

Criminal Justice Complex, lst Floor

Hunter and Euclid Streets

Woodbury, NJ 08096

Drug Court Judge: Jean McMaster, J.S.C.

Tel# 856-853-3501 Fax# 856-853-3786

DC Coordinator: Donald Van Dunk

Tel# 856-853-3753 Fax# 856-853-3759


Essex County Drug Court

Essex County New Courts Building

50 West Market Street, Rm 912

Newark, NJ 07102

Drug Court Judge: Ramona A. Santiago, J.S.C

Tel# 973-693-6504 Fax# 973-424-2435

DC Coordinator: T.B.A.

Tel# 973-693-6598 Fax# 973-693-5974


Hudson County Drug Court

Hudson County Administration Building

595 Newark Ave.

Jersey City, NJ 07306

Drug Court Judge: Sheila Venable, PJ.Cr.

Tel# 201-795-6668 Fax# 201-795-6364

DC Coordinator: Patricia DellOsso

Tel# 201-795-6882 Fax# 201-217-5334


Mercer County Drug Court

Mercer County Courthouse

209 South Broad & Market Streets

P O Box 8068

Trenton, NJ 08650

Drug Court Judge: Gerald Council, PJ, Cr.

Tel# 609-571-4130 Fax# 609-571-4131

DC Coordinator: Anastasia Jackson

Tel# 609- 571-4067 Fax# 609-571-4049


Middlesex County Drug Court

Middlesex County Courthouse

1 John F. Kennedy Square

New Brunswick, NJ 08903

Drug Court Judge: Lorraine Pullen, J.S.C.

Tel# 732-519-3825 Fax# 732- 519-3828

DC Coordinator: Tammy D’Aloia

Tel# 732-565-5057 Fax# 732-565-5031


Monmouth County Drug Court

Monmouth County Courthouse

71 Monument Park

P O Box 1266

Freehold, NJ 07728-1266

Drug Court Judge: Thomas Scully, PJ.Cr.

Tel# 732-677-4168 Fax# 732-677-4198

DC Coordinator: Adri Lieb

Tel# 732-677-4551 Fax# 732-677-4347


Middlesex County Drug Court Team List

Middlesex County Drug Court Team List

Fax: 732-519-3828


Hon. Lorraine Pullen, JSC


Linda Cusumano


Fax: 732-565-5031


Mark Billon


Tammy D’Aloia


Tatyana Vaynshteyn


Mark Warner


Donna Roche


Fax: 732-745-2324


Caroline Meuly, Esq.


Deborah Farlow



Fax: 732-937-4556


Melissa Karabulut, Esq.


Ken Goodman, Esq.


Annette Grier


Fax: 732-448-6201


Lamont Bowling


Cell: 732-841-1103

Dean Smith


Cell: 732-841-1113

Tara Jones


Cell: 732-841-1080

Susan Smith


Cell: 732-735-9410

Shawna Hooper



Boris Chavez


Cell: 732-887-7694
PROBATION MAIN NUMBERReceptionist732-448-6101