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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".

Saturday, March 26, 2011

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).