Special Hearings Unit (SHU)

The current Chief Counsel of the Special Hearings Unit (SHU) is Deputy Public Defender Fletcher Duddy.  SHU has four regional offices that provide legal 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 the client's proposed risk (tier) level, and the kind of public notification to which the client may be subject.  Since 1996, the SHU has provided this kind of representation in thousands of cases throughout the state.

Each regional SHU office has an attorney on staff and covers several counties:

Trenton (609-292-7677) (Covers Burlington, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Oceean, Somerset, Union and Warren Counties)

Newark (973-877-1622) (Covers Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Morris, Passaic and Sussex Counties)

Gibbsboro (856-346-8060) (Covers Atlantic, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem Counties)

Clients do not have to travel to SHU regional offices for representation; SHU attorneys will meet clients in the counties in which they live.

To challenge one's Megan's Law tier level and public notification provision, the client should follow the following steps to protect his/her rights. Time to make challenges is limited so these steps should be completed as soon as possible:

1.  Fill out the paperwork given by the County Prosecutor's Office called "Application for Judicial Review" with name, address and phone number.

2.  Check the associated box if an interpreter is needed, if you will be represented by a private attorney, or if you want public defender representation.

3.  Sign, date and return the completed form as soon as possible to the Superior Court Judge listed on the form.

If you wish to obtain a Public Defender, you must also complete a "5A" form at your County Courthouse. Completion of this form, which contains financial questions to determine if you are eligible for public defender representation, usually occurs in the Criminal Case Management Office.

REMEMBER: If you do not challenge your tier level when you first try to do so, you may be prevented from challenging certain facts in the future.

Our staff is available to answer questions from current and potential clients.