In May 2022, Attorney General Matthew Platkin named Pearl Minato as the DCJ Director. Minato, a veteran prosecutor, spent more than two decades as an Assistant Prosecutor in two counties and a Deputy Attorney General in DCJ. While with the Division, Minato oversaw investigations into many high-profile and complex criminal matters including public corruption, multi-jurisdictional narcotics investigations and multi-million-dollar frauds. Before being named Director, Minato served as Chief of Staff for the Office of Public Integrity & Accountability and as Senior Counsel to Attorneys General Andrew Bruck and Matthew Platkin.
DCJ attorneys prosecuted a number of significant cases, including a years’ long investigation into a multi-county burglary ring involving multiple defendants, a wide-ranging racketeering investigation that resulted in uncovering an illegal firearms-trafficking network involving 14 individuals, and prosecutions of individuals responsible for distributing child sexual abuse exploitation material over the internet.
In 2022, DCJ established the Worker Protection and Fair Labor Enforcement Unit to prosecute cases involving victims whose wages are stolen by their employers, victims of labor trafficking, victims of identity theft resulting in the collection of unemployment insurance benefits under their identity, and victims of workers compensation fraud, payroll fraud, and prevailing wage violations.
DCJ took on crucial roles in two Attorney General Initiatives, including the Statewide Gun Violence Reduction Task Force, an effort to impact gun crimes and gun violence throughout New Jersey, and the Reproductive Rights Strike Force, an effort to protect reproductive rights in New Jersey and ensure the safety of patients and health-service providers.
DCJ held its first Operation Helping Hands event in Trenton, the first of many statewide events to further demonstrate DCJ’s commitment to assisting the communities we serve.
DCJ’s Appellate Bureau represented the State in a variety of criminal appellate matters, submitting 40 briefs with the Supreme Court and approximately 130 briefs with the Appellate Division, including Facebook v. New Jersey (procedures for obtaining prospective electronic communications); State v. Olenowski (admissibility of Drug Recognition Expert testimony); State v. Oliver (interpretation of Compassionate Release Act) ; and State v. Sheira (eligibility for Pretrial Intervention where prior conviction expunged by the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Enforcement Assistance, and Marketplace Modernization Act).