The Intake and Grand Jury sections are responsible for the initial screening of criminal cases, handling of detention motion proceedings, the administration of the Early Disposition Court (EDC), and the presentation of cases to the grand jury for indictment. These sections are staffed by assistant prosecutors, detectives, agents, and clerical/paralegal staff.
All indictable criminal complaints originating in Bergen County are referred by the municipal courts to the Prosecutor’s Office. The complaints undergo a screening process in which they are reviewed by an assistant prosecutor. A decision is made as to whether the case will be handled by the Prosecutor’s Office or returned to the municipal court for disposition.
Cases accepted by the Prosecutor’s Office for prosecution in the superior court are typically listed for Early Disposition Court (EDC), and scheduled via the Criminal Case Manager’s Office. At EDC, cases may be resolved with a guilty plea agreement or admission into the pre-trial intervention program (PTI). If a disposition cannot be agreed upon, the case is forwarded to the Grand Jury section for presentation.
All defendants prosecuted for an indictable charge at the superior court level are granted the right to have their case presented to a grand jury pursuant to the New Jersey Constitution (Art. I, par. 8).
A grand jury is an independent body consisting of 23 members of the community, with 12 affirmative votes needed to return an indictment. Its proceedings are conducted confidentially. An assistant prosecutor will elicit witness testimony before the grand jury to establish whether or not there is probable cause for the return of an indictment. Upon hand-up of an indictment by the grand jury, the case is transferred to the Trial Section for disposition.