Gov. Phil Murphy is expected to nominate Renee Robeson as the next Hunterdon County Prosecutor and will renominate Passaic County Prosecutor Camelia Valdes to another term, two senior administration officials told the New Jersey Globe.
Murphy will formally submit their nominations to the Senate on Monday, along with his pick for Morris County Prosecutor, Robert Carroll.
Sources close to the process confirmed that Hudson County Prosecutor Esther Suarez would have been renominated by Murphy as part of the current package, but that her consideration as a candidate for U.S. Attorney has put her renomination on hold for the time being.
Robeson, 53, is a career prosecutor. The Flemington resident is currently a senior assistant prosecutor in Mercer County, where she has worked for the last 18 years.
Valdes has been prosecutor since Gov. Jon Corzine nominated her in 2009 after previously serving as an assistant U.S. Attorney, deputy attorney general and as an assistant counsel to two New Jersey governors, Christine Todd Whitman and Donald DiFrancesco. She is the first Dominican American to serve as a county prosecutor.
If confirmed by the Senate, Robeson would replace acting prosecutor Michael J. Williams. Williams has held the post for two years after Anthony Kearns left after eight years to become the chancellor of the Diocese of Metuchen.
Since Robeson lives in Flemington, only State Sen. Christopher Bateman (R-Branchburg) has senatorial courtesy.
Robeson began her legal career as an associate at Lerner, David, Littenberg, Krumholz and Mentlik, a Westfield-based law firm specializing in patent and intellectual property law. Her path to a job at that firm was mostly a result of Rep. Bob Frank’s campaign for re-election to a third term in Congress in 1996.
The Democratic nominee against Franks that year was Larry Lerner, the firm’s founder and senior partner. Franks repeatedly criticized Lerner for running a medium-sized law firm that didn’t hire women attorneys. Lerner got in hot water when he suggested that patent law was highly technical and didn’t typically draw women into the field.
After Lerner’s defeat, his partners recognized the need to hire women. Today, a full 17% of the attorneys at Lerner David are women.