The state Senate on Thursday confirmed 15 of Gov. Chris Christie’s recent nominations to the Superior Court bench, the same day they were vetted by the Senate Judiciary Committee.
The nominations went through both the committee and the full Senate without opposition.
Five of the new judges are from Monmouth County, two each are from Morris and Somerset, and one each are from Bergen, Camden, Hudson, Middlesex, Passaic and Union.
They will likely be assigned to those counties once they are sworn in, though the state’s chief justice has authority to situate judges in any vicinage.
• Peter Bogaard, R-Chester (Morris), has been in private practice since graduating from the University of Notre Dame Law School in 1988 and has headed Bogaard & Associates in Chester since 2007, concentrating in personal injury, business consulting, real estate and land use matters. A former Chester Borough Council member, he served on Christie’s law and public safety transition team following the 2009 election.
• Bradford Bury, D-Watchung (Somerset), is a Mountainside solo practicing civil litigation — including personal injury, whistleblower and discrimination cases — and white-collar criminal defense, matrimonial and estate matters. A 1978 Villanova Law School graduate, he spent five years as an assistant county prosecutor, first in Union and then in Morris, and has been in private practice since 1983.
• 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 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 University School of Law in 2003 as an adjunct professor.
• J. Randall Corman, R-Sayreville (Middlesex), is a workers’ compensation judge sitting in New Brunswick. A 1985 Rutgers Law School-Newark graduate, he was a Republican state senator from 1992 to 1994, and the N.J. Turnpike Authority’s law director from 1997 to 2002.
• Angela White Dalton, R-Howell (Monmouth), is a partner at Zager Fuchs in Red Bank, where she litigates guardianship, disability, estate and other matters. A 1995 graduate of Rutgers Law School-Camden, she is treasurer of the New Jersey State Bar Association.
• 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 University School of Law in 1998.
• Katie Gummer, R-Rumson (Monmouth), is a litigation partner at DLA Piper in Florham Park, where she represents financial-services clients, including life and health insurance companies. She graduated from Yale Law School in 1990.
• Daniel Lindemann, R-Wayne (Passaic), has headed a Totowa firm since 2008. For 17 years before that, he was at Cranford’s Dughi & Hewit, Christie’s former firm. He is a 1987 graduate of Indiana University’s Mauer School of Law.
• Arnold Natali Jr., D-Little Silver (Monmouth), is a partner at McCarter & English in Newark, where he represents corporate clients in complex insurance matters. He is a 1989 Seton Hall University School of Law graduate.
• Michael O’Neill, Branchburg (Somerset), has been with Purcell, Mulcahy, O’Neill & Hawkins in Bedminster since 1983, as an associate and then a partner, concentrating in complex insurance litigation and alternative dispute resolution. He graduated in 1975 from St. Francis College and in 1980 from Seton Hall University School of Law, where he was editor in chief of the Law Review.
• Joseph Oxley, R-Red Bank (Monmouth), is a partner at Scarinci Hollenbeck in Freehold, where he heads the firm’s risk management group. A 1983 Delaware Law School graduate, he was an assistant Monmouth County prosecutor from 1984 to 1986, in private practice from 1986 to 1996 and Monmouth County sheriff from 1996 to 2008.
• Nesle Rodriguez, D-Jersey City (Hudson), has been a full-time judge in the city’s municipal court since 2006 and chief judge since 2008. She is a 1990 graduate of Rutgers School of Law-Newark and has served as a court-appointed guardian ad litem in custody matters.
• Donald Stein, D-Haddon Heights (Camden), has since 2004 been an administrative law judge sitting in Trenton. A 1981 Delaware Law School graduate, he was in private practice as a general litigator for more than two decades and served as prosecutor or public defender for several municipalities in Camden County.
• James Wilson, D-Roselle (Union), is a senior staff attorney of Central Jersey Legal Services in Elizabeth, where he has spent 16 years and handles family law matters. He is a 1994 graduate of the Southern University Law Center in Baton Rouge, La.
• Mara Zazzali-Hogan, D-Shrewsbury (Monmouth), is a partner at Gibbons in Newark, where her father, former Supreme Court Chief Justice James Zazzali, also practices. She practices business and commercial litigation and is the firm’s pro bono coordinator. She is a 1998 graduate of Seton Hall University School of Law.
One other nomination, that of Christopher Rafano, D-South River (Middlesex), a partner at Rafano & Wood in South River, was put on hold while he wraps up his private practice, which focuses on personal injury, divorce and real estate. A 1985 graduate of Penn State University’s Dickinson School of Law, Rafano has been a Middlesex County freeholder since 1998 and is municipal prosecutor for Woodbridge and Jamesburg. Senate aides say Rafano could be confirmed as early as Monday.
Of the nominees, only Oxley had been expected to face questioning by the committee. He 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. But the probe, known as Operation Bid Rig, yielded no evidence of misconduct on Oxley’s part.
Committee member Raymond Lesniak, D-Union, said it was unfortunate that Oxley was tainted along with former Assembly Speaker and Department of Community Affairs Commissioner Joseph Doria and former Ridgefield Mayor Anthony Suarez, both of whom are Democrats who were also ultimately exonerated. Sen. Paul Sarlo, D-Bergen, agreed, saying that Oxley’s "entire life had been put on hold" during the course of the investigation.