The New Jersey Constitution requires that persons who are suspected of committing crimes in the state can only be formally charged with those violations upon indictment returned by a grand jury.
The function of the Grand Jury Section of the Atlantic County Prosecutor's Office is to review all indictable complaints which originate in Atlantic County, conduct additional investigation to gather evidence, make legal decisions regarding cases and, where appropriate, prepare and present those cases to a grand jury. Ordinarily this process takes 30 days from the signing of a complaint for jail cases and 45 days for those defendants not incarcerated. The Grand Jury Section has the authority to dismiss complaints where appropriate, or to refer complaints to municipal court for prosecution. The Grand Jury Section also is responsible for conducting bail hearings. Bail hearings are conducted weekly in Superior Court on cases where defendants are held in the county jail. The hearings occur on Thursdays and require the services of one assistant prosecutor and an agent, who are responsible for investigating bail issues presented in each case and contacting the victims where appropriate.
The Atlantic County grand juries meet each week on: Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.