Healthy New Jersey

Office of the Public Defender

Special Litigation Unit

The Special Litigation Unit (SLU) represents indigent individuals subject to Megan’s Law in various post-conviction proceedings, including tier classification hearings and motions to terminate an offender’s registration obligations. Since 1996 the unit has successfully mitigated the harmful effects of community notification for thousands of individuals statewide and successfully removed countless others from the registry altogether. The SLU has three regional offices that provide representation to clients at Megan’s Law tier classification hearings. These hearings, held in each of New Jersey’s 21 counties, give clients the chance to challenge a prosecutor’s decision about their risk (tier) level and the scope of community notification to which they may be subject. Each regional office also provides representation to clients seeking to terminate their Megan’s Law and Parole Supervision for Life obligations. Deputy Public Defender Stephanie Lutz is the manager of the SLU’s Megan’s Law practice. She and her staff in the three regional offices, noted below, are available to answer any questions from current and potential clients.

In recent years, the SLU’s role in the agency has expanded to include litigating other issues that impact the legal rights of the agency’s clients on a statewide or systemic basis, including those related to the rights of incarcerated people, the rights of juveniles, parole, expungements, and many other issues that affect people within the criminal justice system. The unit’s expanded role, including its civil rights work, is managed by Deputy Public Defender Michael Noveck.

Each regional SLU office has two attorneys on staff and covers several counties:

Newark (973-877-1622) (Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Morris, Passaic, and Sussex Counties); Trenton (609-292-9350) (Burlington, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean, Somerset, Union, and Warren Counties) and Gibbsboro (856-346-8060) (Atlantic, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, and Salem Counties)

Did you get an expungement from the court, but are still waiting for your criminal record to be cleared?  
Read below to learn more about a lawsuit that may help you.

The New Jersey Office of the Public Defender’s Special Litigation Unit has filed a class action lawsuit against the New Jersey State Police on behalf of all people who have an expungement order that has not yet been processed. The lawsuit asks the court to order the New Jersey State Police to process expungement orders in a timely manner.

Because we have filed a class action lawsuit, any favorable resolution of the case should benefit everyone who has successfully petitioned for expungement, even if they are not a named plaintiff. If you are currently waiting for the State Police to process your expungement order, you don’t need to do anything extra at this time to benefit from this litigation. Please note that we are not seeking monetary damages in this lawsuit.  Our office will litigate this case as quickly as possible, but we do not have an estimated timeline as to when the matter will be resolved or when any individual expungement order may be processed. 

As of February 23, 2024, the case has been set for mediation before the Honorable Jaynee LaVecchia, Retired Associate Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court.  Through mediation, the OPD aims to work toward an efficient and quick solution to address the backlog of expungement orders that have not been processed by the New Jersey State Police, and to ensure that all future orders are processed in a timely manner.

For up-to-date information on the case, please regularly visit this website, or send an email to to be added to our email distribution list. Please include your name; telephone number; email address; and the date and county of your expungement order.

Case Documents (updated regularly):

  1. Complaint - A.A. v. Callahan - 10.23.2023
  2. Case Management Order

to top