When an assistant prosecutor assigned to a particular matter is out sick on the date an arraignment or a status conference is scheduled, another assistant appears in court and handles the matter for the State. By way of contrast, when the assistant prosecutor assigned to handle expungements is out sick (or away for other completely legitimate reasons), the prevailing practice appears to be that nobody steps in for him or her. If the assistant is away for several weeks (as occasionally happens), expungement applications that he or she is handling languish, unexamined, unprocessed, untouched. The same is true for personnel in the criminal division manager’s office, for law clerks, or even for the judges who handle expungements.
New Jersey State Police are notorious for their lethargy in processing expungements. Investigation reports to county prosecutors are delayed by weeks, sometimes months. “Normal” processing time for signed expungement orders now exceeds half a year.
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