Venue, Judge, and Your Criminal Court Case

When you are arrested for a crime in New Jersey, you will be processed via the state’s criminal justice system. You have certain rights that are guaranteed to you by the U.S. Constitution, including a right to a trial by jury, a right against self-incrimination, and a right to be represented by a lawyer who can help to ensure that those rights are protected.

The New Jersey Superior Court system is divided by counties with several sections within each, including one focusing on criminal law. Each town is a part of a particular venue wherein your trial will take place. The venue will be determined by the location where the crime was committed. 

If the crime was committed in Boonton, Boonton Township, Butler, Chatham Borough, Chatham Township, Chester Borough, Chester Township, Denville Township, Dover, East Hanover Township, Florham Park, Harding Township, Jefferson Township, Kinnelon, Lincoln Park, Long Hill Township, Madison, Mendham Borough, Mendham Township, Mine Hill Township, Montville, Morris Township, Morristown, Mount Arlington, Mount Olive Township, Mountain Lakes, Netcong, Parsippany-Troy Hills Township, Randolph, Riverdale, Rockaway Borough, Rockaway Township, Roxbury Township, Victory Gardens, Washington Township, or Wharton, New Jersey, your case will be heard in Morris County.

Judge Stuart A. Minkowitz is the Assignment Judge for this county. Presiding Judge Stephen J. Taylor, Judge Ralph E. Amirata, Judge Noah Franzblau, Judge Robert M. Hanna, and Judge Michael C. Gaus serve in the Criminal Division. 

However, if the crime occurred in Bedminster Township, Bernards Township, Bernardsville, Bound Brook, Branchburg Township, Bridgewater Township, Far Hills, Franklin Township, Green Brook Township, Hillsborough Township, Manville, Millstone, Montgomery Township, North Plainfield, Peapack-Gladstone, Raritan, Rocky Hill, Somerville, South Bound Brook, Warren Township, or Watchung, New Jersey, you could appear before a Somerset County judge.

The Assignment Judge is Judge Kevin M. Shanahan Presiding Judge Peter J. Tober, Judge Michael J. Rogers, Judge Kathy Qasim, Judge Angela Borkowski in both Somerset County and Hunterdon County, and Judge H. Matthew Curry are in the Criminal Division.

Your case will be heard before a Middlesex County court for crimes committed in Carteret, Cranbury, Dunellen, East Brunswick, Edison, Helmetta, Highland Park, Jamesburg, Metuchen, Middlesex, Milltown, Monroe Township, New Brunswick, North Brunswick, Old Bridge, Perth Amboy, Piscataway, Plainsboro, Sayreville, South Amboy, South Brunswick, South Plainfield, South River, Spotswood, or Woodbridge, New Jersey.

The Assignment Judge for this venue is Judge Michael A. Toto. Presiding Judge Colleen M. Flynn, Judge Benjamin, S. Bucca, Jr., Judge Thomas J. Buck, Judge Andrea G. Carter, Judge Craig L. Corson, Judge Pedro J. Jimenez, Jr., Judge Robert J. Jones, Jr., and Joseph Paone are in the Criminal Division.

Your case will be heard in a Monmouth County court if the crime was committed in Aberdeen Township, Allenhurst, Allentown, Asbury Park, Atlantic Highlands, Avon-by-the-Sea, Belmar, Bradley Beach, Brielle, Colts Neck Township, Deal, Eatontown, Englishtown, Fair Haven, Farmingdale, Freehold Borough, Freehold Township, Hazlet Township, Highlands, Holmdel Township, Howell Township, Interlaken, Keansburg, Keyport, Lake Como, Little Silver, Loch Arbour, Long Branch, Manalapan Township, Manasquan, Marlboro Township, Matawan, Middletown Township, Millstone Township, Monmouth Beach, Neptune Township, Ocean Township, Oceanport, Red Bank, Roosevelt, Rumson, Sea Bright, Sea Girt, Shrewsbury Borough, Shrewsbury Township, Spring Lake, Spring Lake Heights, Tinton Falls, Union Beach, Upper Freehold Township, Wall Township, or West Long Branch, New Jersey.

Judge Katie A. Gummer is in the Appellate Division, and the Assignment Judge is Judge Lisa P. Thornton. Presiding Judge Marc C. Lemieux, Judge Richard W. English, Judge Paul X. Escandon, Judge Vincent N. Falcetano, Jr., Judge Lourdes Lucas, Judge Joseph W. Oxley, and Henry P. Butehorn are in the Criminal Division.

To ensure that all trials proceed despite a shortage of judges, the state organizes its court systems into 15 court districts or vicinages. For the most part, your case will be tried in the county court of the town where the crime was committed. However, a situation could arise that requires that your case move to a different county. Certain counties such as Middlesex and Monmouth are their own vicinages, meaning all cases will remain within the county. However, that is not always the case. For instance, Somerset County is a part of a vicinage with both Hunterdon County and Warren County, while Morris County is a part of a vicinage with Sussex County.

What Can I Expect at the Federal Level?

Most crimes are prosecuted at the local level, meaning that you will appear before a municipal court or the New Jersey Superior Court. However, if you are accused of violating a federal crime, then you will appear in federal court.

Honorable Freda L. Wolfson is the Chief Judge of this court system, which is divided into three sections: Newark, Trenton, and Camden. Each section has its own group of judges.

In Newark, the judges include Judge Jessica S. Allen, Judge Madeline Cox Arleo, Judge Claire C. Cecchi, Judge Stanley R. Chesler, Judge James B. Clark, III, Judge André M. Espinosa, Judge Michael A. Hammer, Judge Katharine S. Hayden, Judge Edward S. Kiel, Judge William J. Martini, Judge Brian Martinotti, Judge Kevin McNulty, Judge Julien X. Neals, Judge Esther Salas, Judge John Michael Vazquez, Judge Cathy L. Waldor, Judge Leda Dunn Wettre, and Judge Susan D. Wigenton.

Chief Judge Wolfson is located in Trenton along with Judge Douglas E. Arpert, Judge Tonianne J. Bongiovanni, Judge Lois H. Goodman, Judge Norah McCann King, Judge Zahid N. Quraishi, Judge Peter G. Sheridan, Judge Michael A. Shipp, and Judge Anne E. Thompson.

In Camden, the judges include Judge Renee Marie Bumb, Judge Ann Marie Donio, Judge Noel L. Hillman, Judge Sharon A. King, Judge Robert B. Kugler, Judge Christine P. O’Hearn, Judge Joseph H. Rodriguez, Judge Matthew J. Skahill, and Judge Karen M. Williams.

New Jersey Criminal Defense Lawyers at Lyons & Associates, P.C. Will Represent You When You Are Facing Criminal Charges

If you have been arrested and charged with a crime in New Jersey, it can be an overwhelming experience. Our New Jersey criminal defense lawyers at Lyons & Associates, P.C. have experience on their side that will benefit you in your criminal case. Call us at 908-575-9777 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. Our offices are located in Somerville, Freehold and Morristown, New Jersey, and we proudly serve clients throughout New Jersey, including but not limited to Somerset County, Morris County, Middlesex County, Union County, Essex County, Bergen County, Hunterdon County, Warren County, Sussex County, Passaic County, and Monmouth County.