Acting Sussex County Prosecutor Annmarie Taggart is the chief law enforcement officer of Sussex County. The New Jersey Constitution created the Office of County Prosecutor. The Governor, with the advice and consent of the Senate, appoints each of the twenty-one county prosecutors for a five year term or until the appointment of a qualified successor is announced. The Constitution does not further define the powers and duties of the office but the legislature has done so through statutory enactment and the courts have further refined the prosecutor's responsibility and authority through case decisions.
The Prosecutor is the legal advocate of the people of the state and is responsible for the enforcement of its criminal laws. Because the supreme interest of the citizenry is to see that its laws are enforced justly, that is the Prosecutor's duty. The Prosecutor must both refrain from the use of improper methods calculated to produce a wrongful conviction and must use every available legitimate means to obtain just convictions. The Prosecutor and his staff of nine Assistant Prosecutors, twenty detectives and twenty administrative personnel are dedicated to using reasonable and lawful diligence for the detection, investigation, apprehension and prosecution of all criminal offenders in the County of Sussex. To accomplish their goals, the prosecutor and his staff work closely with the New Jersey State Police, the Sussex County Sheriff's Office and the twelve municipal police departments in the County.
The Sussex County Prosecutor's Office is organized into units that concentrate on different types of criminal behavior. Those units include the following: Major Crimes Unit, Sex Crimes Unit, Juvenile Unit, Domestic Violence Unit and Grand Jury Unit and the Gangs, Guns & Narcotics Task Force. Each unit is lead by an Assistant Prosecutor and a Senior Detective. There are a number of secondary units concerned with particular functions such as the Evidence Unit, Fugitive Unit and Forfeitures Unit. Due to the relatively small staff and variety of duties required, everyone on staff is cross-trained and is sufficiently flexible to move from unit to unit as the need arises. We also have specially trained victim advocates in our Victim Witness Unit.
The Prosecutor invites all citizens to come to the courthouse to witness the criminal justice process from defendant's first appearance after arrest through trial. Open public courts are one of the most cherished liberties of the citizens of this great country and the proceedings provide valuable insights into many public issues.