Section Chief: Assistant Prosecutor Tracy Cogan
Unit Commander: Sergeant Vince McCalla
The Trial Team Unit in the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office is responsible for handling most criminal matters resulting from indictment in the County of Camden. The unit receives all the cases indicted by the Grand Jury Unit and receives cases from every other unit in the office except for the Special Prosecutions Unit. The Trial Team Unit is responsible for conducting further investigations in these cases to solidify proof so either reasonable plea agreements can be reached, or successful trials can be conducted. Trial Team prosecutors also handle all motions associated with the prosecution of their assigned cases. In addition, the Trial Team handles all sentences resulting from pre-indictment pleas and Violation of Probation hearings.
DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
In 2019, the Trial Team was responsible for 2,520 convictions, the great majority of which were from guilty pleas. The types of cases handled by Trial Team prosecutors include, but are not limited to, homicide, aggravated sexual assault, kidnapping, robbery, drug distribution, burglar, stalking, cyber-harassment, child luring, theft, and shoplifting.
Currently 18 attorneys, including a Section Chief and a Deputy Section Chief, eight detectives, including the Unit Commander, and three support staff, are assigned to Trial Team.
Two attorneys constitute a trial team and are regularly assigned to each of eight criminal courtrooms where cases are scheduled. Each team of attorneys is responsible for all criminal matters before their assigned judge. On Mondays of each week, the cases are listed for arraignment, initial case disposition conference, final case disposition conference, discretionary case disposition conference, or pre-trial conferences. Sentencings and Violations of Probation are heard on Fridays. Trials are conducted on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. When the Court does not have a trial scheduled for that week, the trial team attorneys are often in Court handling motions including, but not limited to, Miranda, Wade/Henderson, and Suppressions.
The Section Chief and Deputy Section Chief are responsible for supervising the entire unit. Their duties include handling complex cases, monitoring performance and plea negotiations of the other attorneys, providing legal and trial tactical advice, general supervision, and acting as liaisons with the judges assigned to the criminal division.
One trial detective is normally assigned to each trial team. Additionally, a Unit Commander/Operations Sergeant is assigned to the unit as the investigative supervisor. The investigative duties and responsibilities include, but are not limited to, securing attendance of witnesses at trial (including subpoenas, telephone calls, and transportation as necessary), securing physical evidence for trial, securing documentary evidence (such as police reports files needed by the trial teams), and victim-witness contact for pretrial preparation. Detectives are also tasked with Security details, Central Judicial Process (CJP) criminal history look-ups, in-person visitors/complainants, and Megan’s Law Notifications.
A Secretarial Assistant, Clerk, and Receptionist are assigned to Trial Team. They are responsible for transcribing a large volume of statements, correspondence, legal memoranda, briefs, subpoenas, and writs, as well as handling a large volume of telephone calls and file management. In addition, the clerical staff must have a working knowledge of the criminal justice system, as well as the personality and temperament to handle a wide array of public inquires.