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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 112774
Experience:  Attorney with over 20 years law enforcement, prosecution, civil rights and defense experience
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I live in NJ, I have a status conference tomorrow morning

Customer Question

Hi. I live in NJ, I have a status conference tomorrow morning at 8:45am at Gloucester County Court. I knew I was unavailable to attend and I tried to get in contact with my public defender Thursday and Friday of last week, and he was out of the office and returning Monday May 16, 2016. I spoke with his secretary who was rather rude and I explained my problem, she told me to contact the court. I did so. As well they were very rude and said "sorry you have to be here, nothing we can do call your attorney. After numerous calls back to the receptionist she said she would "do her best to get in contact with him. I recieved no return call. What do I do? Is there away to get in contact with him emergency? I don't know what to do. Please advise.
Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 8 months ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
Unfortunately, the court is not a place to play games. You are scheduled to appear and if you do not appear they will issue a warrant for your arrest. In the criminal court, they are not there to accommodate the defendant's schedule, so that is why they sound "rude" as you put it. There is no entitlement to a continuance of your pretrial hearing because your schedule will not fit it in according to the court rules in NJ.
You need to show up in court and cancel whatever it was on your schedule that you needed to do. Under NJ law, the defendant does not get to dictate to the court and it is not good cause that the defendant had another appointment that interferes with appearance in court and the NJ judges tell defendants all the time that such an emergency on the part of the defendant does not constitute an emergency to the court. So unless you or your child are in a hospital and physically unable to appear, the court is not going to grant a continuance just because your schedule does not allow you to attend due to some conflict and the NJ court expects you to cancel the other conflict and not the criminal court appearance.
So that is why the people at the PD office and Court seemed rude to you, they were trying to tell you that you did not have a choice but to appear and because you had a conflict is not good cause to not appear and that you better make yourself available.