Gov. Chris Christie on Monday announced his intention to nominate eight candidates for Superior Court judgeships, bringing to 23 the number he has put forth in a week.
The latest group would fill spots in Bergen, Camden, Hudson, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris and Union counties.
• Carlia Brady, D-Woodbridge (Middlesex), is a litigation partner with Stark & Stark in Lawrenceville, concentrating in personal injury cases. A graduate of Rutgers University in 1994 and Seton Hall University School of Law in 1997, Brady apparently would be the first New Jersey Superior Court judge to have been born in the Philippines.
• Maritza Byrne, R-Towaco (Morris), has been with UBS Financial Services Inc. in Weehawken since 2007, conducting regulatory compliance. Prior to that, she was a partner at McCusker, Anselmi, Rosen, Carvelli & Walsh in Chatham, representing oil, pharmaceutical and insurance companies in litigation and regulatory matters. A graduate of Rutgers University in 1989 and Rutgers Law School-Newark in 1992, she taught appellate advocacy at Seton Hall Law School in 2003 as an adjunct professor.
• Mitzy Galis-Menendez, R-Cliffside Park (Bergen), is a litigation partner at Chasan Leyner & Lamparello in Secaucus, concentrating in defense of municipalities and other government entities in harassment, discrimination, civil rights and other suits and collection of bail forfeitures on behalf of the state and Hudson County. She graduated from Rutgers University in 1994 and Seton Hall Law School in 1998.
• Jeffrey Jablonski, R-Kearny (Hudson), a partner at Gillespie, Gillespie & Jablonski in Kearny, handles criminal-defense, family and delinquency matters. He also is Kearny’s public defender. A graduate of College of the Holy Cross in 1992 and Thomas M. Cooley Law School in 1997, he is a professor in Fairleigh Dickinson University’s paralegal studies program and an adjunct professor at Seton Hall Law, teaching legal research and writing.
• Alan Lesnewich, R-New Providence (Union), defends discrimination, wrongful-termination and other employment cases as a partner with Fisher & Phillips in Murray Hill. The firm merged with his prior firm, Collier, Jacob & Mills of Somerset, in 2005. A graduate of Colgate University in 1975, he was an investigator in the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office for two years before attending Seton Hall Law School and graduating in 1985.
• Kathleen Sheedy, D-Cream Ridge (Monmouth), practices at Peter Lucas’s firm in Oakhurst, concentrating on workers’ compensation, disability, municipal court matters, criminal defense and general litigation. Sheedy is a court-appointed arbitrator, the Freehold Borough prosecutor and attorney for the Freehold Borough Housing Authority. She is a graduate of Rutgers University in 1978, and Seton Hall Law School in 1981.
• Thomas Shusted Jr., R-Cherry Hill (Camden), a Westmont solo, practices in matrimonial and criminal defense litigation and is the municipal public defender for Pine Valley, a position he has held in Berlin, Woodlynne, Pine Hill, Voorhees and Waterford. He has served as solicitor for local boards. A graduate of Gettysburg College in 1977 and Delaware Law School in 1981, he is the son of the late Thomas Shusted, who was Camden County’s first full-time prosecutor and a GOP assemblyman from 1968 to 1972 and from 1980 to 1991.
• Stephen Taylor, I-Montgomery Township (Somerset), since January 2010 has been director of the Division of Criminal Justice, comprising 125 of the 664 lawyers in the Department of Law and Public Safety. He worked for Christie’s campaign on Election Day in 2009, monitoring Mercer County polling places, and was one of Christie’s first appointments. He had practiced at Taylor, Colicchio & Silverman in Princeton from 2007 to 2010 and before that was with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Newark since 1998, being appointed chief of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force in 2002 and chief of the Terrorism Unit in 2005. Before that, he spent 12 years in the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, including three years as head of the Homicide Unit. He graduated from the University of Delaware in 1982 and Villanova School of Law in 1985. Taylor is intended to sit in Morris County.
Also on Monday, Christie nominated for the Somerset County bench Michael O’Neill, a Branchburg resident and a partner at Purcell, Mulcahy, O’Neill & Hawkins in Bedminster, practicing complex insurance litigation. He graduated from Seton Hall University School of Law and St. Francis College.
Also on Monday, Christie formerly nominated 14 judge candidates for whom he had filed notices of intent on Jan. 28: Peter Bogaard, Bradford Bury, J. Randall Corman, Angela White Dalton, Katie Gummer, Daniel Lindemann, Linda Mallozzi, Arnold Natali Jr., Christopher Rafano, Nesle Rodriguez, Joseph Oxley, Donald Stein, James Wilson and Mara Zazzali-Hogan.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Nicholas Scutari, D-Union, says the package of nominees "has been the product of a lot of negotiation, so we’re pretty comfortable with them."
The only one likely to face significant questioning is Oxley, Scutari says.
Currently at Scarinci Hollenbeck in Freehold and Monmouth County Sheriff from 1996 to 2008, Oxley was investigated by federal authorities after government informant Solomon Dwek reportedly said Oxley had given him advance notice of foreclosed properties before they were publicly listed.
The investigation yielded no evidence of misconduct by Oxley and Scutari says he’s "satisfied" that the issue shouldn’t impede Oxley’s nomination. Oxley did not return a call.