The Appellate Unit is responsible for representing the State in appeals from criminal convictions obtained by the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office in all cases that the state Division of Criminal Justice refers here for handling. The unit is called upon to handle appeals both in the Appellate Division of New Jersey’s judicial system and in the Supreme Court of New Jersey. If matters are pursued into the federal court system, the Appellate Unit follows the cases in the United States District Court, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and the United States Supreme Court. It is the unit’s mission to aggressively defend those convictions obtained by this office after a trial or guilty plea. However, the unit also takes interlocutory appeals when a judge has, in our estimation, ruled erroneously, and routinely initiates its own appeals from adverse pre-trial and post-trial rulings.
The unit oversees appellate research, including use of computerized legal research, and is available to conduct, or assist in, research projects for other members of the staff. Toward this end, the unit has created and maintains a network brief bank available to the entire staff.
The unit also handles emergent applications and works directly with the trial staff by assisting in some of the more difficult trial motions, by serving in a consulting capacity for trial attorneys, and by providing legal updates and case summaries. In addition to the writing of appellate briefs and any oral argument before the Appellate Division and Supreme Court, the unit is also responsible for conducting Excessive Sentence Oral Arguments before the Appellate Division.