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In February we alerted you to an issue where municipal public defenders were being asked to provide representation to certain defendants at pretrial detention hearings held in Superior Court – an unintended consequence of the recently implemented bail reform.  The League reached out to Acting Administrative Director of the New Jersey Courts, Hon. Glenn A. Grant, J.A.D., to express our concerns with having the municipal public defenders take on this new role.

Judge Grant was receptive to our concerns and coordinated with State Public Defender Joseph Krakora to develop a plan to help alleviate the newly created burdens on municipal public defenders.  Through the efforts and leadership of Public Defender Krakora and Judge Grant the State Office of Public Defender has agreed to provide representation for indigent defendants under certain circumstances.  Public Defender Krakora has committed the State Office of Public Defender to provide representation for indigent defendants at initial pretrial detention motions that are filed either at, or prior to, the defendants’ Central Judicial Processing (CJP) or first appearance, when:

  • The indigent defendant is charged with disorderly persons domestic offenses that fall within the jurisdiction of the Municipal Court.
  • The indigent defendant is charged with disorderly persons domestic violence contempt proceedings (J.S.A. 2C:29-9b) that fall within the jurisdiction of the Family Division of Superior Court.

There are still circumstances where the Municipal Public Defender will be required to provide representation to certain defendants in Superior Court.  However, the new commitment by State Public Defender Krakora and the State Office of Public Defender will remove the need for Municipal Public Defenders to travel and provide representation at the Superior Court on short notice.

The League would like to thank Judge Grant and State Public Defender Krakora for hearing our concerns and taking action to address them.

To read Judge Grant’s reply letter which fully explains the new commitment by the State Office of Public Defender please click here.  Please pass this information along to your Municipal Public Defender and anyone else that should be alerted.

Contact:  Frank Marshall, Esq., League Staff Attorney, fmarshall@njslom.org, 609-695-3481 x. 137.

Contact:  Frank Marshall, Esq., League Staff Attorney, fmarshall@njslom.org, 609-695-3481 x137.

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