7:8-7. Appearances; Exclusion of the Public
- (a) Presence of Defendant. Except as otherwise provided by Rules 7:6-1(b), 7:6-3, or 7:12-3, the defendant shall be present, either in person, or by means of a video link as approved by the Administrative Office of the Courts, at every stage of the proceeding and at the imposition of sentence. If, however, defendant is voluntarily absent after the proceeding has begun in the defendant's presence or the defendant fails to appear at the proceeding after having been informed in open court of the time and place of the proceeding, the proceeding may continue to and including entry of judgment. A corporation, partnership or unincorporated association shall appear by its attorney unless an appearance on its behalf by an officer or agent has been permitted pursuant to R. 7:6-2(a)(2). The defendant's presence is not, however, required at a hearing on a motion for reduction of sentence.
- (b) Appearance for the Prosecution. The municipal prosecutor, municipal attorney, Attorney General, county prosecutor, or county counsel, as the case may be, may appear in any municipal court in any action on behalf of the State and conduct the prosecution either on the court's request or on the request of the respective public official. The court may also, in its discretion and in the interest of justice, direct the municipal prosecutor to represent the State. The court may permit an attorney to appear as a private prosecutor to represent the State in cases involving cross-complaints. Such private prosecutors may be permitted to appear on behalf of the State only if the court has first reviewed the private prosecutor's motion to so appear and an accompanying certification submitted on a form approved by the Administrative Director of the Courts. The court may grant the private prosecutor's application to appear if it is satisfied that a potential for conflict exists for the municipal prosecutor due to the nature of the charges set forth in the cross-complaints. The court shall place such a finding on the record.
- (c) Exclusion of the Public. In matters involving domestic relations, sex offenses, school truancy, parental neglect, and as may be otherwise provided by law, the court, in its discretion and with defendant's consent, may exclude from the courtroom any person not directly interested in the matter during the conduct of the trial or hearing.