The Trial Division of the Prosecutor's Office handles most of the adult criminal prosecutions in Monmouth County. It is primarily responsible for case screening, grand jury preparation and presentation, and the trial or disposition of those indictments in a vertical process. This ensures that each of the steps along the route of presentation to disposition of any particular file is approached with the knowledge that a trial team has responsibility for that file throughout the entire process.
The Trial Division is managed by a Director whose responsibilities include supervising the daily activities of the Trial Division and collaborating with the Director of Case Screening and the Director of the Appellate Section in matters relating to the Trial Division.
The Trial Division is composed of three trial teams, each of which is comprised of attorneys and support personnel. Each trial team is supervised by a trial team leader.
The assistant prosecutors assigned to the trial teams are responsible for the review of cases presented to the grand jury, trial preparation, and trial or plea of those files. In addition, they appear at sentencings, violations of probation, motions, and any other court appearances as assigned on a weekly basis. These assistant prosecutors are also responsible for handling routine court-related matters which occur on a daily basis such as initial appearances, bail reviews, and extraditions.
Grand Jury Operations
The Trial Division receives case files from several different sources. The largest percentage are sent by the various municipalities in Monmouth County and forwarded to the Trial Division by the Case Screening Unit. In addition, matters may be referred by other units within the Prosecutor's Office and by the New Jersey State Police.
Pretrial dates are set pursuant to Court Rule 3:9-1 which requires that the pre-arraignment conference shall occur within 21 days of the indictment. The arraignment/status conference is to be conducted no later than 50 days after indictment. All pretrial hearings are required to take place prior to the pretrial conference. If the matter is not disposed of at the pretrial conference stage a plea "cutoff", i.e. an order prohibiting a negotiated plea, is imposed and a trial date is scheduled.
The Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office is committed to achieving just and fair resolutions of all cases. Plea negotiations play an important role in this process. The Prosecutor's Office has adopted a well-formed plea negotiation policy that requires appraisal of the legal and factual circumstances of each case and takes into account the impact of the crime upon the victim. Resulting plea offers are in the interests of justice and appropriately redress the wrong(s) which have been committed by the accused.