A group of approximately 20 Detectives and Investigative Assistants provide on-going evidence management and development along with investigative support for cases being handled through the Adult Trial Unit and the Juvenile Trial Unit (i.e., cases where criminal charges have been filed and which are not otherwise retained for prosecution by a major crime squad such as the Arson Unit or Homicide Task Force). Under the direction of a Detective Sergeant, Lieutenant and Captain, this staff helps to locate and manage witnesses, obtain documents and photographs, assure proper service of all legal notices, track and provide proper chain-of-custody for evidence items, provide factual research, and otherwise work in close cooperation with the Assistant Prosecutors assigned to each case.
In 2014, the Adult Trial Section handled 5,138 requests for investigation in support of adult prosecutorial proceedings.
As with most law enforcement organizations, the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office requires a support staff who provide and maintain an appropriate setting for key activities like case investigation and legal processing.
Extradition is the process by which one government jurisdiction surrenders an individual found on its territory to another jurisdiction where the individual is wanted either to stand trial for an offense he or she is alleged to have committed, or to serve a penal sentence already pronounced against him or her. Because Essex County lies at the crossroads of national and world commerce and has a highly mobile population, much criminal activity involves persons who reside or who flee beyond the County Prosecutor’s jurisdiction. In such instances, the Prosecutor’s Office must institute extradition proceedings with the state or foreign nation where the wanted party is found.
Extradition is a very technical area of law enforcement, which is strictly regulated by State and Federal law, interstate compacts and international treaties. Within the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, extradition requests are presented and argued by Assistant Prosecutors assigned to relevant cases; a County Investigator is assigned to facilitate the overall extradition process. Some of the functions involved in the extradition process include preparing requests for Governor’s warrants, preparation of Interstate Compact forms, the arraignment of fugitives, the execution of Waivers of Extradition, the arrangement of habeas corpus hearings, execution of appropriate documents, and reporting and evaluation.
The Essex County Prosecutor’s Office typically executes from 200 to 300 interstate requests each year, for persons incarcerated in another jurisdiction facing charges in Essex County. After adjudication within this County, the person will generally be returned to the other jurisdiction in order to complete their sentence, and later be returned to Essex County to serve any new sentence imposed there. The Office executes from 300 to 400 regular extraditions annually, involving a one-way transfer from an outside jurisdiction to Essex County (following a hearing decision or waiver). The Office coordinates its extradition activity with various statewide and federal task forces that address specific criminal concerns, e.g. narcotics trafficking, organized crime, etc.
In 2014, the Extradition Unit received 272 requests for extradition. Essex County coordinated the legal paperwork to extradite 158 fugitives to other jurisdictions, and to return 168 fugitives back to Essex County. The Unit also coordinated the return of one international extradition.
The Police Legal Advisor of the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office is responsible for providing all law enforcement officers in the County with legal advice. One Assistant prosecutor is designated as the Police Legal Advisor, with one Appellate Attorney acting as the primary back-up to this position and the Appellate section as the secondary back-up. The Police Legal Advisor is on call on a 24 hour basis. The Advisor also trains recruits at the Essex County and Newark Police Academies, conducts in-service training at numerous locations throughout the County, and helps develop county-wide law enforcement policies. The Police Legal Advisor also reviews search warrant applications, Grand Jury Subpoena applications as well as applications for Communication Data Warrants.
The Police Legal Advisor provides in-service training for local and Sheriff’s Office police officers in Essex County, along with Juvenile Detention officers and Corrections Officers. The Police Legal Advisor also teaches recruits of the Auxiliary Police Program and Junior Police Academy. The Police Advisor further maintains an active relationship with the County Chiefs of Police and makes several presentations at their Association meetings.
In 2014, the Advisor taught three classes of sheriff deputies, one class of auxiliary police officers, two police classes, and two classes of corrections officers. In addition, the Advisor conducted in-service training for over 700 Newark Police Officers, as well as two (2) separate four day in-service trainings at the Essex County College Police Academy.
In August of 2000, the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office created a formal system for advising the New Jersey State Parole Board of its position regarding the release of parole eligible inmates.
As inmates become eligible for release, input regarding the appropriateness of the parole release is solicited from the assistant prosecutor who prosecuted the inmate. In any given week, of the 21 counties in the state, Essex County has the highest number of parole eligible inmates.
In 2014, a total of 125 pre-parole packages were requested and reviewed by the Parole Notification Unit. Of those 125 packets requested, 97 letters objecting to parole releases were written to the Parole Board.