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Inside the Courtroom: An exclusive look at Essex County's sweeping drug raids

THE PROCESS

The arraignment process for each of the 17 suspects (Laurie B. Campney, who was reportedly in the county jail, was the only suspect who was not arraigned before Meyer on Friday) followed the same basic template:

The suspects, most clad in baggy county-issued jail uniforms and shackled at the waist, feet and wrists, were brought before Meyer, who then opened a sealed indictment before the court.

Meyer then asked the accused if they would like to review the indictment personally or have the charges read to them.

If the suspect opted for the latter, Meyer would briefly explain the charges — those explanations contained details of the date and location of the alleged crimes that were otherwise not made immediately available to the public — before explaining their legal rights and ascertaining if they required public counsel.

First Assistant District Attorney Michael Langley then presented the state’s suggestion for bond or bail for each defendant — the standard fee for each individual without prior convictions was $2500 cash bail (or $5000 insurance bond) — which would then be tweaked based on a set of variables, namely prior conviction records, current employment status, civic involvement, family dependents and a brief statement from the accused.

Based on the above, Meyer would then set bail and the next court date, most of which were set for Friday, March 28 to allow the defendants who, all of whom except two, needed time to obtain public counsel and start building a case.

THE DEFENDANTS

All of the charges were felonies, the majority bundled into packs of two: Criminal sale of a controlled substance and criminal possession of that same substance.

Michael J. Rosselli, a International Paper staffer arrested at 6:45 a.m this morning on heroin charges, was the first defendant to be brought before Meyer:

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