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New Jersey Superior Court Judge William A. Daniel. (Photo: New Jersey Judiciary)

Judge will be new Union County Prosecutor, sources say

William Daniel set to move to top lawman post; James Tansey will be first assistant

By David Wildstein, June 10 2021 10:50 am

Gov. Phil Murphy is expected to nominate Superior Court Judge William A. Daniel to serve as the new Union County Prosecutor, the New Jersey Globe has leaned.

James Tansey, a former assistant prosecutor in Union County, will return as the first assistant.

The nomination could come as early as today.

Daniel is originally from Linden and has a long history in law enforcement, starting out when he spent summers as a police officer in Ocean City. He served as an assistant prosecutor and Linden municipal prosecutor before becoming the municipal court judge in Linden.

Daniel was nominated to the bench by Gov. James E. McGreevey in 2003 and was renominated for a tenured term in 2010.  The 65-year-old judge would face mandatory retirement in 2026.

Former Union County Assistant Prosecutor James Tansey. (Photo: Union County Prosecutor’s Office.)

Tansey spent sixteen years in the prosecutor’s office and ran the Guns, Gants, Violence and Drugs units.

The move reflects the new détente between two Union County senators: Nicholas Scutari (D-Linden), the Union County Democratic Chairman and the Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman; and Joseph Cryan (D-Union), a former Demcoratic State Chairman, Assembly Majority Leader and Union County Sheriff.

Scutari strongly supporter Cryan in his landslide win this week in the Democratic primary, where he fended off a challenge from Assemblyman Jamel Holley (D-Roselle) by a 23-point margin.  Cryan will be nominated Scutari when he runs for re-election as county chairman.

While Daniel and Scutari come from Linden, Tansey’s roots go back to the Vailsburg section of Newark’s West Ward, which was the political base of Cryan’s late father, former Essex County Sheriff John F. Cryan.

Daniel will replace acting Prosecutor Lyndsey Ruotolo, who was recently named director of the state Division of Criminal Justice.

In 2019, Attorney General Gurbir Grewal pulled Acting Prosecutor Michael Monahan and replaced him with First Assistant Attorney General Jennifer Davenport days after the prosecutor’s office took control of the internal affairs functions of the Elizabeth Police Department.  Ruotolo replaced Davenport.

Daniels’ brother, Charles, has been the Demcoratic mayor of Califon since 2009

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