STATE OF NEW JERSEY VS. HOWARD MYEROWITZ
A-6032-12T2Defendant appeals from the judgment of the Law Division finding him guilty of harassment after conducting a de novo review of the trial record developed in the municipal court. We reverse and hold defendant's conviction in the municipal court was void ab initio because he was prosecuted by a private attorney who did not comply with the requirements in State v. Storm, 141 N.J. 245 (1995) and codified in Rule 7:8-7(b). Without cross-complaints from complaining witnesses there are no legal grounds to permit a private attorney to represent the State. Public policy favors prosecutions conducted by independent prosecutors. A municipal court judge should obtain an on-the-record statement confirming the prosecutor's recusal in the case. However, if the municipal prosecutor insists on on
proceeding with the prosecution, the prosecutor's decision should be final. Use of the form approved by the Administrative Director of the Courts is not discretionary. The questions contained therein, including the precise phraseology used, constitutes the expressed method adopted by the Supreme Court to accommodate the public policy concerns expressed in Storm.