The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday recommended appointment of Superior Court nominees from Middlesex, Hudson, Monmouth, Camden and Morris counties.
The candidates, who are likely to be approved by the full Senate within a week, bring to 20 the number given the committee’s nod in recent weeks.
Gov. Chris Christie had put forth these five nominees on Feb. 4.
• Carlia Brady, a Democrat from Woodbridge in Middlesex County, is a litigation partner with Stark & Stark in Lawrenceville, concentrating on personal injury cases. She previously was with Peckar & Abramson in River Edge and Picillo Caruso in West Orange. Brady graduated from Rutgers University in 1994 and Seton Hall University School of Law in 1997, and would be the first New Jersey Superior Court judge to have been born in the Philippines.
• Jeffrey Jablonski, a Republican from Kearny in Hudson County, is a partner at Gillespie, Gillespie & Jablonski in Kearny, where he handles criminal-defense, family and delinquency matters. He has been with the firm his entire career, is a certified criminal trial lawyer and serves as Kearny’s public defender. Jablonski, who graduated from the College of the Holy Cross in 1992 and Thomas M. Cooley Law School in 1997, is a professor in Fairleigh Dickinson University’s paralegal studies program and an adjunct professor at Seton Hall Law, teaching legal research and writing.
• Kathleen Sheedy, a Democrat from Cream Ridge in Monmouth County, is with Peter Lucas’ firm in Oakhurst, and concentrates 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 also is a former Monmouth Bar Association president. She graduated from Rutgers University in 1978 and Seton Hall Law School in 1981.
• Thomas Shusted Jr., a Republican from Cherry Hill in Camden County, runs a solo practice in Westmont, concentrating on matrimonial and criminal defense litigation. He is the public defender for Pine Valley, a position he has held in Berlin, Woodlynne, Pine Hill, Voorhees and Waterford. Shusted also has served as solicitor for local boards. He graduated from Gettysburg College in 1977 and Delaware Law School in 1981, and is the son of the late Thomas Shusted, Camden County’s first full-time prosecutor and a GOP assemblyman from 1968 to 1972 and from 1980 to 1991.
• Stephen Taylor, an Independent from Montgomery Township, is designated for assignment to Morris County. Since January 2010, has been director of the Division of Criminal Justice. 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 practiced at Taylor, Colicchio & Silverman in Princeton from 2007 to 2010. Beginning in 1998, he was with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Newark, where he was 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.
At present, there are 40 vacancies out of 443 allotted positions in the Superior Court — 17 in Essex County.
Fifteen of 23 candidates Christie nominated this year were confirmed by the Senate on Feb. 7.
Three remaining nominees are awaiting Judiciary Committee approval.
• Alan Lesnewich, a Republican from New Providence in Union County, 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. He graduated from Colgate University in 1975 and was an investigator in the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office for two years before attending Seton Hall Law School, from which he graduated in 1985.
• Linda Mallozzi, a Democrat from Union Township in Union County, is a solo practitioner and handles family, personal injury, criminal, real estate, workers’ compensation and other matters. A 1982 Seton Hall Law School graduate, she was an assistant Somerset County prosecutor from 1984 to 1987 and since then has been in private practice.
• Christopher Rafano, a Democrat from South River, in Middlesex County, is a partner with Rafano & Wood in South River, where he focuses on personal injury, divorce and real estate matters. A 1985 graduate of Penn State University’s Dickinson School of Law, he has been a Middlesex County freeholder since 1998 and is municipal prosecutor for Woodbridge and Jamesburg.
The committee has recommended confirmation for Rafano, but a final vote is being withheld until he divests himself from his firm. Lesnewich and Mallozzi still require hearings.