There are several different kinds of courts in the State of New Jersey. They include the New Jersey Supreme Court, the Superior Court, which includes the Appellate Division, the Tax Court, and the Municipal Courts.
Cases involving criminal, civil and family law are heard in the Superior Court. Jury trials are conducted in the Superior Courts but not in the Municipal Courts. There are no jury trials for juvenile matters heard in Superior Court. There is a Superior Court in each of New Jersey’s 21 counties with approximately 360 Superior Court trial judges in New Jersey.
Criminal cases are those in which a defendant is accused of a serious crime, such as robbery, theft, aggravated assault, sexual assault, drug possession or murder. These matters are known as Indictable Offenses in New Jersey. Quite often they are referred to as Felonies in other States. In a criminal case, a prosecutor tries to prove that the defendant committed a crime. The prosecutor is an attorney who represents the State of New Jersey, and the defense attorney represents the defendant. The judge oversees the proceedings (somewhat like a referee in a sporting event) and ensures that they are conducted according to the law and the rules of court.
As a former Essex County and Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor, I have had the opportunity to handle dozens of jury trials. I have also had the opportunity to not only present thousands of cases to a Grand Jury, I have also had the opportunity to resolve thousands of cases by way of plea bargain. It is imperative that you consider the credentials of who you choose to represent your interests. Ask yourself – does this attorney have any trial experience? Does this attorney have the ability to find issues with my case and use them to my advantage to formulate the best possible defense and get the best possible outcome?
Unlike many law offices, Mr. Campo will personally and confidentially discuss your matter with you and will personally handle your case from beginning to end. If you or a loved one is charged with an Indictable Offense in New Jersey then you want to hire someone with a vast amount of courtroom trial experience. Please do not hesitate to call the Law Office of Thomas V. Campo at 732-691-3427.
Most criminal trials are decided by a jury consisting of 12 citizens. The jury represents the community in which the crime occurred. For example – is a defendant is charged with an Indictable Offense in Toms River, New Jersey, then the matter will be heard in the Ocean County Superior Court. The jury’s role is to hear the evidence presented by the prosecutor and the defense attorney. Evidence is presented to the jury by witnesses who testify. After all the evidence has been presented, the jury discusses the case in private. If all the jurors believe beyond a reasonable doubt that the evidence proves the defendant committed the crime, the jury convicts the defendant by returning a guilty verdict. After a defendant is convicted, the judge imposes a sentence, such as a term in prison or perhaps probation based upon the seriousness of the offense and the prior criminal history of the defendant.
If the jurors do not believe the evidence proves the defendant committed the crime, then the jury acquits the defendant by returning a verdict of not guilty. If the jurors are unable to decide between conviction and acquittal, the judge can declare a mistrial, and a new trial can be held with different jurors.
Not every criminal case is decided by a trial. Many cases are resolved through a plea bargain. In a plea bargain, the defendant agrees to plead guilty by admitting that he or she committed a crime. In return, the prosecutor asks the judge to impose a sentence that is less severe than if the defendant had gone to trial and been convicted. The judge, however, is not required to agree to the recommendation and may choose to ignore it. A plea bargain ensures that a guilty defendant is punished. Plea bargains can be entered either before or even during the trial.
Call the Law Offices of Thomas V. Campo 24/7 at (732) 691-3427 for a free consultation!