RECORD GROUP: Courts
RECORD SERIES #: 3000
SERIES: Quarter Sessions
VOLUME: 84 volumes, 68 manuscript boxes, and 2 flat boxes
The primary function of the Quarter Sessions Court was to deal with criminal cases, at a higher level than the Court of Small Causes, which was presided over by one justice of the peace, and at a lower level than the Court of Oyer and Terminer, which was presided over by a Supreme Court Justice and one or more other judges. However, except for the most serious crimes like murder, most felonies could be tried in either Oyer and Terminer or in Quarter Sessions. It was not unusual for individuals to be arraigned in one court (usually Oyer) and tried in the other.
As a consequence of the 1947 New Jersey Constitution, the Quarter Sessions Court was officially abolished in 1948.
These volumes consist of the minutes for the Court of General Quarter Sessions from 1721 to 1948, with gaps in the 18th and 19th centuries. Quarter Sessions Minutes 1721 to 1852 were recorded in with the Common Pleas Minutes Books. The books include General Quarter Sessions and Special Quarter Sessions cases.
Typical entries in the Quarter Sessions Minute Books will include the plea of the defendant and, if the defendant pleaded not guilty, a record of the trial. The trial record includes the names of the jury, the witnesses, and the attorneys. If the defendant is found guilty, the minutes include a record of the sentence. Records of recognizances issued (bail) are also recorded in the Minute Books. Typical cases are for larceny, illegal gambling, assault & battery and other matters.
General Quarter Session, loose papers, 1727-1937 with gaps
Loose papers are mostly Indictments, but also Applications & order for trial, and other.
Special Quarter Session, loose papers, 1877-1925 with gaps
Special Quarter Sessions were scheduled as additional sessions when the defendant wanted to plead guilty and reduce court costs. If the name of the defendant appears in the Minute Books, it should also appear in the Access database.
Quarter Sessions Grand Jury Lists, 1783-1852
These large Grand Jury lists with names of defendants are stored in two flat boxes.
125 Symmes Drive
Manalapan, NJ 07726
Phone: (732) 308-3771