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U.S. District Court Judge John Michael Vazquez. (Photo: U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey).

Federal judge named by Obama will retire at age 52

John Michael Vazquez, the judge on the Sean Caddle murder case, will depart in September

By David Wildstein, March 23 2023 3:27 pm

A 52-year-old federal judge nominated by President Barack Obama eight years ago has decided to retire, opening up a second vacancy on the U.S. District Court in New Jersey.

Judge John Michael Vazquez will step down from a lifetime appointment to the federal bench to return to private practice  He filed a notice of his intention to resign on September 8, 2023.

Vazquez is the judge assigned to the case of Sean Caddle, the former political consultant who admitted to a bizarre murder-for-hire scheme in January 2022.  Caddle’s sentencing has been rescheduled to June.

A former assistant U.S. Attorney and First Assistant Attorney General of New Jersey, Vazquez was a law partner of one of the state’s top criminal defense attorneys, Michael Critchley.    He began his career as a law clerk to Appellate Court Judge Herman Michels.

Obama nominated Vazquez, a Democrat, to serve as a federal judge in 2015 at the request of New Jersey’s two U.S. Senators, Bob Menendez, and Cory Booker.   The Senate unanimously confirmed him.

Vazquez’s departure leaves two openings on the U.S. District Court.  Last November, Judge Kevin McNulty filed his intent to go on senior status on October 31.

As a defense attorney, Vazquez and Critchley obtained an acquittal on federal corruption charges for former Ridgefield Mayor Anthony R. Suarez, now a Superior Court Judge.

President Joe Biden has nominated and confirmed six U.S. District Court judges since taking office in 2021: Julian X. Neals, Zahid Quraishi, Christine O’Hearn, Karen Williams, Georgette Castner, and Evelyn Padin.  Two other nominees, Michael Farbiarz and Robert Kirsch, have appeared before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee and are awaiting approval by the panel.

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