Company/Organization: Superior Court of New Jersey
Mentor(s):Judge Peter J. Melchionne
Topic of Internship
The Superior Court of New Jersey is one of the most important court houses in the state. This is one of the highest state level courts, so all the cases that are heard here are of some significance. Some cases donít even get to be heard and are just rejected from the start. The building is located in Hackensack and reachable by public transportation. Inside are many different divisions including: criminal, civil, and family. There are holding cells for prisoners in the building which arenít usually empty and an entire office of on-duty cops. The building is heavily secured and looked after; there are metal detectors at the front entrance and cameras on all floors.
Summary of Internship
As an intern at the Superior Court, my regular day may vary on what the calendar says. If my judge is seeing Dyfs cases, which he does two Thursdays out of the month, then that day I have my work cut out for me. On Dyfs days, after observing each case, I go to the back and get the order out of the machine. Once I have the 3 to 4 page document, I take it to the judge with the back page in front so he can sign it. After he signs the order, I stamp it with the date and take it to the copier. Once Iím there with the signed and stamped document, I count up how many parties need copies and make that number of copies. Once the copies are made, I take them, with the original on top, and give it to the woman I help named Joan. She distributes these papers accordingly while I head back into the court room and see the next case. Once that case is over, the process is repeated. On an average Dyfs day, Judge Melchionne and his staff see about twenty five cases before lunch and twenty five cases in the afternoon, with short recesses throughout the day.
Not all days are Dyfs days though, and when itís not a Dyfs day then the Family Division is pretty calm and laidback. On these days the judge just sees mostly Domestic Violence and Divorce cases which take up a smaller portion of the day than Dyfs cases do but are still as important. When the judge is free though, he still meets with attorneys about future trials and prepares for other cases. When my judge isnít seeing a case, I usually have the secretary check with the other divisions to try and find me something interesting to watch. Most of the time they donít fail since thereís always something interesting going on in the Superior Court. During my time interning at the family division, Iíve seen numerous, very interesting, criminal and family trials and I have talked to private attorneys, state prosecutors, judges, and public defenders. This internship is great, first hand experience, for students who are interested in the field of law and want to know how it works.
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