Chief Justice Stuart Rabner has named Francis R. Hodgson, Jr. as the new Ocean County assignment judge, replacing Marlene Lynch Ford.
Ford, a former Democratic assemblywoman, is retiring from the bench a little more that one year before she reaches the mandatory retirement age of 70.
Hodgson was nominated to the Superior Court by Gov. Jon Corzine in 2007 and has served as presiding judge of the General Equity Division since 2015. The 60-year-old Republican can hold that post until April 2030.
“We congratulate Judge Ford on a remarkable career that encompassed all three branches of government, culminating with her impressive contributions to the Judiciary,” Rabner said. “Judge Hodgson is an exemplary judge with broad experience who is poised to continue the tradition of excellent leadership in the Ocean Vicinage.”
The replacement of Ford by Hodgson increases the male majority of assignment judges from 8-7 to 9-6.
Gov. Jim Florio nominated Ford to serve as a Superior Court Judge in 1992 after losing her Assembly seat in the 1991 Republican wave election. She had first won election to the legislature in 1983, lost to now-State Sen. Robert Singer (R-Lakewood) in 1985 and 1987, and then beat Singer in 1989.
Ford has served as the assignment judge since 2013.
“I am honored to have this opportunity to lead the hard-working staff and judges of the Ocean Vicinage and am grateful for Chief Justice Rabner’s confidence in my ability to continue to uphold the exceptional reputation of the Judiciary,” Hodgson said.