The Salem County Prosecutor’s Office currently has eight (8) lawyers on staff. This includes the First Assistant Prosecutor and Prosecutor Lenahan. Because we are relatively small in size, our attorneys cannot, like other prosecutors’ offices, dedicate all of their time to one specialty. Our Assistant Prosecutors are required to perform many different tasks including handling trial matters, plea negotiations, sentences, restitution matters, appeals, bail hearings, municipal court appeals, extradition matters and other varied matters for which a prosecuting attorney is needed.
To enhance our efficiency, our Assistant Prosecutors have been split into two (2) teams, with one team responsible for scheduled trials and duty assignments and the other team responsible for Grand Jury. This responsibility shifts from one team to the other on a weekly basis. Within each team, Assistant Prosecutors are assigned specific duties, including a Juvenile Prosecutor, Narcotics Prosecutor, Sexual Assault Prosecutor and an Assistant Prosecutor for Drug Court. To the extent possible, the cases are prosecuted vertically with the Assistant Prosecutor who presents the case to Grand Jury ultimately handling the case at trial.
The purpose of the Salem County Office of Victim Witness Advocacy is to ensure that the crime victims of this county are treated with dignity and compassion so their unfortunate experience through the criminal justice system is less burdensome.
The Victim Witness Unit consists of a coordinator, two victim advocates and a secretary. The Unit provides a variety of services for victims to lessen the emotional strain associated with the criminal justice system. Some of these services include, but are not limited to, introduction to the criminal justice system, personal court accompaniments to provide moral support, social services referrals, employer intervention and assistance with financial recovery.
Investigative staff are assigned within the Salem County Prosecutor’s Office to one of three Divisions: Administration, Criminal Investigations, or Special Operations. The men and women of the Investigative Staff serve as a force multiplier to the local police departments, bring specialized training to investigations, and take the lead on larger, more complex cases throughout the County of Salem in support of the mission of the Salem County Prosecutors Office.
The Criminal Investigations Division is responsible for conducting and/or overseeing narcotics investigations within Salem County. These investigations include: covert undercover operations, narcotics search warrants, local street level operations, and medium and large scale narcotics operations that may extend beyond the borders of Salem County. Unit members frequently take part in educational presentations in schools, for community groups, and civic organizations on the dangers of narcotics use. Unit members also assist with the in-service training of county and local law enforcement on current narcotics trends. A new, intense focus of this unit has become the eradication of gang related crime within Salem County and the intense investigation of firearm related crimes. A recent influx of gang members to this county and violent crime related to these individuals has forced law enforcement to modify its approach to proactive investigations. Members of this unit work very closely with detectives from the SCPO Intelligence Division in identifying potential threats and devising ways to thoroughly investigate these entities.
In addition, the Division is responsible for investigation of all major crimes that occur within Salem County. These crimes include; but are not limited to the following: homicide, death investigations, aggravated assaults with weapons, bank robberies, bomb threats, arsons, certain public integrity matters, fatal motor vehicle crashes, and serious motor vehicle crashes with criminal elements. Unit members work very closely with these other law enforcement entities in a “task force” approach to solving crime.
The Special Operations Division is responsible for tracking the Megan’s Law offenders in Salem County, administering any grant monies received by law enforcement in Salem County, and Internet Crimes Against Children investigations. Additionally, the Insurance Fraud Unit, which is also assigned to the Special Operations Division, handles investigations involving potential insurance fraud and is funded through a grant received from the Division of Criminal Justice.
The Administration Division has four major areas of responsibility. First, the division prepares all cases for presentation to the Grand Jury. Preparation means the review of all cases for content, the gathering of all reports and other materials necessary for a successful criminal prosecution, the preparation of an indictment and the service of all subpoenas. In those cases that are determined to be inappropriate for Grand Jury presentation, the First Assistant Prosecutor makes the decision to remand or dismiss. If the case is remanded, the original complaints and reports are sent back to the appropriate agency. If the case is to be dismissed, the victim and the witnesses are notified, and the appropriate information is entered into the computer by the clerical staff. Once the file is prepared for Grand Jury presentation, it is assigned to that team and ultimately to a specific assistant prosecutor for review. If additional investigation or other reports are necessary, the assistant prosecutor will direct the members of the Administration Division to follow-up within specified time frames.
The second area of responsibility is to support the prosecution staff with all cases that are pending trial in Superior Court. This includes all juvenile and domestic violence cases that are heard in Family Court. This support involves the collection of reports, compiling of a witness list, the notification of the witnesses and control of the State’s evidence.
Administration Division also handles the third area of responsibility, fugitives. The task force is responsible for receiving and reviewing all fugitive warrants from Superior Court for placement in either NCIC or SCIC. Additionally, the task force prepares all Governors’ Warrants, Interstate Agreements on Detainers and whatever other documentation is necessary for the return of fugitives to this jurisdiction for criminal prosecution. They also prepare the Waivers of Extradition for fugitives to be returned to other jurisdictions. The Fugitive Task Force is also a member of the US Marshall’s Fugitive Task Force for the District of New Jersey. As such, they are regularly involved in organized efforts to locate and apprehend active fugitive cases, not only in Salem County but also in southern New Jersey.
The fourth area of responsibility for the Division is the investigation of all internal affairs complaints received by this office and the review of all internal affairs investigations conducted by the municipal police departments.
Support staff are assigned within the Salem County Prosecutor’s Office to either a clerical position or an advocacy position.
Clerical Staff The clerical support staff is an integral part of successful prosecution. Personnel assigned to the support staff handle the word processing and information management needs of the Prosecutor’s Office, as well as the criminal case reception, tracking, and filing procedures.