This Unit is staffed by an assistant prosecutor, who serves as the Unit director, and support personnel.
The Screening Unit receives all indictable adult complaints, along with any related non-indictable charges and/or motor vehicle tickets, from the 53 municipalities in Monmouth County. Relevant criminal case histories and any police reports are obtained and all related paperwork is placed in a case file and sent to the assistant prosecutor to be screened. After the case is reviewed, a decision is made by the assistant prosecutor to forward the case to Grand Jury, remand the charges to the appropriate municipal court on a related or lesser-included disorderly persons offense, or administratively dismiss the complaint. Relevant screening factors include the following: the defendant's prior criminal history, the strength of the evidence involved in the case, the possibility of evidence being suppressed by a court, the wishes of the victim, the rehabilitative needs of the defendant and the impact of the crime on society in general. Some cases which were originally referred to a Grand Jury are re-screened when further information becomes available.
The Screening Unit receives and screens approximately 5,000 cases a year. As a result of the screening process, approximately 3,300 defendants are remanded to the appropriate municipal court, approximately 500 defendants are administratively dismissed, and approximately 250 defendants are transferred due to change of venue or otherwise screened out. Approximately 3,500 defendants are indicted through the grand jury process.