News Department

Morris County Prosecutor’s Office marks bicentennial

MORRISTOWN, NJ (Morris County) – Morris County Prosecutor Robert J. Carroll, First Assistant Prosecutor Maggie Calderwood, and Chief of Detectives Robert McNally, announce the launch of a year-long bicentennial celebration marking two centuries of the modern-day Morris County Prosecutor’s Office.

On December 11, 1823, the New Jersey General Assembly passed an Act directing that Prosecutors of the Pleas of the State in several counties be appointed by elected members of the Assembly.

According to the enabling legislation, the previous appointment process via the Attorney General was “liable to abuses” and “contrary to the rights of the people.” Prosecutors were required to be attorneys, and were appointed to five-year terms, a tradition that continues today. Thus, the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office as we know it came into being.

George K. Drake was subsequently appointed the first Prosecutor of the Pleas for Morris County on December 20, 1824.

The world in 1824:

  • The United States Constitution is less than 40 years old.
  • There are 24 States in America – half slave and half free. Michigan and Florida are territories. California and Texas are still part of Mexico. Alaska is part of the Russian Empire.
  • 142 years before the “Miranda warning” was recognized under the Fifth Amendment.
  • 139 years before the Right to counsel is applied to the States under the Sixth Amendment.
  • 45 years before the first college football game in which Rutgers beat Princeton 6-4.
  • 96 years before women secured the Right to vote under the 19th Amendment.
  • 55 years before Thomas Edison invented the practical light bulb in Menlo Park NJ.
  • Approximately 2 years before the first photograph was taken.
  • Thomas Jefferson and John Adams are still alive (they would die two years later).
  • Ludwig van Beethoven is still alive, Symphony No. 9 premiers, his Magnum Opus.
  • Marquis de Lafayette visits America, including a return to Morristown, NJ.
  • 37 years until the United States Civil War begins.
  • Abraham Lincoln was 15 years old.
  • Ulysses S. Grant was 2 years old.
  • Washington D.C. burned down 10 years prior during the War of 1812.
  • In Europe, the Italian peninsula was not united, the Ottoman Empire is going through modern reforms, Germany has not unified, and the French have returned to Monarchy.

“As the chief law enforcement agency serving a region that predates the founding of our nation, the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office aims to build upon the foundation and commitment to justice demonstrated by the men and women who have served before us. Our dedication to lawfulness is the cornerstone of our office’s mission – committing resources in partnership with the law enforcement community, our County Government and Sheriff’s Office and most importantly, the citizens of Morris County, all working together to promote a safe and secure environment,” Carroll said.

Follow the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office on Facebook for weekly historical facts and photos about the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office.

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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