Company/Organization: Englewood Municipal Court
Topic of Internship
Even though Bergen was originally a ďjudicial districtĒ in 1675, it wasnít until 1683 that the Provincial Assembly passed an act creating the counties of Bergen, Essex, Middlesex and Monmouth. In 1710, Hackensack was designated as the county seat. The oldest records of the Bergen County Board of Freeholders and Justices are dated May 19, 1715. At that meeting, it was decided to build a combined courthouse and jail which was erected on Hackensackís historic Green in 1716. Soon after, local municipal courts were created to follow suite, like Englewood Though Hackensack is the home of the head municipality, each town in Bergen County for the most part deals with its own problems. The Englewood Municipal Court has jurisdiction over all traffic matters that occur within the boundary of the City of Englewood, as well as all disorderly persons offenses and City ordinance violations.
Summary of Internship
My internship at the Englewood Municipal Court has been an eye opening experience. By observing actual trials like DWIs (Driving While Intoxicated) and other traffic and criminal offenses, Iím really able to get a broad view of what itís like to work with several aspects of the law. Iíve had the opportunity to interact with Police Officers, prosecutors, defense attorneys and even criminals. I get to see how they interact with the judge and I have learned that itís much more than what it looks like on TV. My duties expanded to doing some light office work, entering traffic summons, filing and helping the Court Administrator in any way that I can. Although the cases that come to the municipal court are disorderly personís offenses, major crimes have occurred as Indictable Cases. In these cases, the defendants appear before the judge for an arraignment where the judge reads the charges to them and informs them of their rights. The cases are then transferred from the Municipal court to the Bergen County Prosecutors office. After the prosecutor reviews the complaints, they decide if the crimes have warranted enough evidence to keep it in their office, or remand back to a Municipal level. At this point the crimes are downgraded to a lesser offense, and then those cases are heard in the Municipal court. Itís amazing to be exposed to many of the things that go on in the city that are largely hidden because of the police and legal system. Now that I have been more familiarized with the legal system, even if I decide that I donít want to pursue a legal career, there are many aspects in this experience that will prove helpful in any career I choose.
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