Section Chief: Assistant Prosecutor Linda Shashoua
The Appeals Section of the Unit is responsible for handling all appeals from convictions for indictable crimes entered by the New Jersey Superior Court, Law Division – Criminal Part, Camden County. This section also handles appeals from juvenile adjudications of delinquency, appeals from municipal court convictions and any appeals filed on behalf of the State.
The Appeals Section prepares answers, appendices and other appropriate motions in response to petitions for writs of habeas corpus filed in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, as well as those petitions that proceed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and the United States Supreme Court.
The Motions Section of the Unit responds to all suppression and post-conviction relief motions filed in indictable cases. The Motions Section also represents the State at de novo hearings on appeals from municipal court convictions.
DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
Six attorneys are assigned to the Appeals Section. In preparing an appeal, the assistant prosecutors review the trial court record, research the legal issues, prepare any necessary motions and write a comprehensive brief advocating the State’s position on the issues raised in the appeal. The assistant prosecutors also appear at the oral arguments scheduled in cases pending before the New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division, on its plenary calendar and its monthly excessive sentencing oral argument calendar. In cases that reach the New Jersey Supreme Court, assistant prosecutors prepare the State’s brief and appear before the Court for oral argument. Assistant prosecutors also assist other units in the office with legal issues that arise in cases pending before the trial court and provide support in the preparation and filing of interlocutory appeals from trial court rulings. Finally, assistant prosecutors track developments in criminal case law and keep the trial prosecutors informed of changes in the law that affect pending cases.
The three attorneys assigned to the Motions Section handle suppression motions, de novo municipal court appeals and post-conviction relief motions. Suppression motions require that the trial court conduct a hearing to determine whether law enforcement officials legally seized evidence such as illegal drugs or weapons. In response to a suppression motion, the assistant prosecutors research the applicable law, write a brief in opposition to the motion and present the State’s evidence and legal argument at the suppression hearing.
In a de novo municipal court appeal, the trial court reviews convictions entered by the County’s municipal courts for traffic violations, drunk driving violations and disorderly and petty disorderly criminal offenses. In response to a defendant’s de novo appeal of a municipal court conviction, the assistant prosecutors review the municipal court record, write a brief in support of the State’s position and argue the matter before the trial court.
An application for post-conviction relief is typically filed with the trial court after a defendant’s indictable conviction has been affirmed through the appellate process. In a post-conviction relief motion, a defendant may raise a variety of issues related to the conviction. In preparing the State’s response, the assistant prosecutors review the trial court record and any appellate record, write a brief in support of the State’s legal position and present the State’s case at the post-conviction relief hearing.