MORRIS COUNTY — Morris County Prosecutor Robert J. Carroll and First Assistant Prosecutor Maggie Calderwood have elevated Kelly Sandler to the position of Supervising Assistant Prosecutor, and Tara Wang to the role of Senior Assistant Prosecutor within the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office.
A formal ceremony was held on August 1, 2023, in the Commissioner’s Public Meeting Room.
Supervising Assistant Prosecutor Sandler will supervise the Domestic Violence Unit and Firearms Returns within the Family Division.
Supervising Assistant Prosecutor Sandler joined the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office in 2016 as an Assistant Prosecutor in the Major Crimes Unit and the Arson/Environmental Crimes Unit. Since the resumption of trials in the last 2 years during and post-covid, SAP Sandler has successfully tried three jury trials as lead counsel, specifically State v. Kelvin Briggs, which resulted in a conviction for sexual assault, endangering and invasion of privacy and a 24-year NJSP sentence; State v. Andrew Pena, which resulted in a conviction for Corrupting a Jury and Obstruction and a 5-year NJSP sentence and State v. Shonette St. Clair who was found guilty by a jury on June 7, 2023, of two counts of second degree Arson and related charges. SAP Sandler also assisted Sr. AP Tara Wang in trying Edwin Urbina for murdering a 3-year-old boy resulting in a life sentence.
Immediately prior to the pandemic shutdown, SAP Sandler traveled with members of the Major Crimes Unit to California during the investigation of State v. Laureano-Gonzalez, a homicide defendant who had fled New Jersey to avoid prosecution, which ultimately ended with his plea of guilty in May 2020. She also recently effectively argued for an 18-year sentence in the homicide prosecution of Edilson Trejo, who killed an acquaintance in front of a child. SAP Sandler has received past commendations for her work on an Environmental Crimes prosecution for State v. Roberto Benitez, a case involving a violation of the Freshwater Wetlands Protection Act, which resulted in a $10,000 fine; and the successful Sex Crimes prosecution of State v. Kelvin Briggs.
Prior to joining the MCPO, SAP Sandler worked as an Assistant Prosecutor for eight years in the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office where she served primarily in the Special Victim’s Unit and the Trial Team. While there she was the Human Trafficking liaison to the Attorney General’s Office. She successfully prosecuted the first case charged in the State under the revised Human Trafficking statute, resulting in a sentence of 20 years in New Jersey State Prison with 20 years of parole ineligibility in State v. Charles Torres, Sr.
SAP Sandler also represents the MCPO as the liaison to the Attorney General’s Environmental Crimes Task Force and the New Jersey Northern Region Child Fatality Review Board. She is currently the co-Chair of the Women Lawyers Section of the Morris County Bar Association. Prior to joining the MCPO, SAP Sandler clerked for Presiding Criminal Judge Scott Moynihan in Union County. She holds a Juris Doctor from Rutgers University School of Law – Newark and a Bachelor of Arts from Boston University.
Senior Assistant Prosecutor Wang will continue to be assigned to the Major Crimes and Arson Units within the Tactical Division.
Sr. AP Wang started with the MCPO as a legal intern in 2010 and 2011. She later worked briefly for a civil defense firm and clerked for Civil Judge David H. Ironson in Morris County, before formally joining the MCPO in 2014 as an Assistant Prosecutor. While assigned to the General Investigations Unit, where she successfully tried State v. Jamal Nurse, involving the armed robbery of a Babies-R-Us in East Hanover where the defendant received a 12-year prison sentence; and State v. Casey Powers, involving a burglary of firearms from a residence in Mount Olive which resulted in a 15-year prison sentence.
In 2018, Sr. AP Wang was transferred to the Major Crimes and Arson & Environment Crimes Units, where she has been involved in a number of notable cases, including the trial of defendant John Formisano, an Acting Newark Police Lieutenant who was convicted of murdering his estranged wife and attempting to murder her boyfriend in Jefferson. Earlier this year, Sr. AP Wang brought to trial the case of State v. Edwin Urbina, who was ultimately convicted of murdering a three-year-old boy in East Hanover. The defendant, in that case, received a sentence of life without parole plus 20 years.
Sr. AP Wang has completed several noteworthy trainings while a member of the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office, including the Division of Criminal Justice’s Basic Course for Arson Investigators and Top Gun here in New Jersey, as well as the National Computer Forensics Institute’s Digital Evidence in Court for Prosecutor’s Program in Hoover, Alabama.
Sr. AP Wang earned her Juris Doctorate from Wake Forest University School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Bryn Mawr College.
Prosecutor Carroll said, “I am proud to promote these accomplished prosecutors. Kelly and Tara have each distinguished themselves in the courtroom and amongst their colleagues. I anticipate many more successful investigations and trials in cases they are involved in.”