The Intake and Screening Unit is staffed by an assistant prosecutor, who serves as the Unit Director, several additional assistant prosecutors, two paralegals, and numerous support personnel. The Intake Unit will be substantially expanded over the next several months, to accommodate the implementation of the Bail Reform and Speedy Trial Legislation
The Screening Unit receives all indictable adult complaints, along with any related non-indictable charges and/or motor vehicle tickets, from the 53 municipalities in Monmouth County. Police reports, criminal case histories and any other relevant documentation is assembled in a case file, and is sent to the Unit Director for screening. After the case is reviewed, a decision is made by the Director to forward for presentation to the Grand Jury, list the case for pre-indictment court, remand the charges as lesser offenses to the municipal court, or administratively dismiss the charges outright. Relevant screening factors include the following: the facts of the case, the strength of the evidence, the possibility of evidence being suppressed by a court, the defendant’s prior criminal history, the wishes of the victim, the rehabilitative needs of the defendant and the impact of the crime on society in general. Some cases which were originally referred to a Grand Jury are re-screened when further information becomes available.
The Intake Unit receives and screens approximately 6000 cases a year. As a result of the screening process, approximately 3000 defendants are remanded to the appropriate municipal court and approximately 500 defendants are administratively dismissed. Approximately 2500 defendants are indicted through the grand jury process.
The Intake Unit also incorporates other programs that represent an alternative to traditional prosecution, namely Pre-indictment Program (PIP), Pretrial Intervention and Drug Court.
The Pre-indictment Program provides an opportunity for early resolution of simple cases. Pre-indictment Program is scheduled on a weekly basis, with approximately 30-35 cases listed. PIP provides an opportunity for a defendant, as represented by a defense attorney, to confer with the PIP prosecutor regarding pending criminal cases. Generally, PIP is appropriate for cases that are straightforward in nature, with presumed non-custodial sentences and involving defendants who are not subject already to supervision or who have matters pending in the trial division.
Pretrial Intervention is a program which diverts a criminal defendant from the normal course of prosecution. PTI, which lasts from one to three years, requires a defendant to fulfill certain conditions, similar to probation, when admitted to the program. Upon a successful completion of the program, the indictment is dismissed. The application process requires the PTI prosecutor to review the report prepared by criminal case management, and make a recommendation to the County Prosecutor whether to accept or reject the defendant. More information about Pretrial Intervention is found in the FAQ section.
The purpose of Drug Court is to provide a treatment-based alternative to worthy prison-bound offenders. One of the roles of the Drug Court Prosecutor is to review each application for Drug Court. The Assistant Prosecutor assigned to Drug Court determines whether each defendant is legally eligible for Drug Court and, if so, whether the Prosecutor’s office should object to that defendant’s application. In deciding whether to object to an application, the Prosecutor’s Office considers factors such as the extent to which a crime was motivated by a compulsion to satisfy an addiction, and the extent to which a defendant may constitute a danger to the Community.