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Hudson County Prosecutor Esther Suarez

Hudson County police chiefs back Suarez for U.S. Attorney

Hudson prosecutor is on the short list of candidates for top federal prosecutor post

By David Wildstein, January 31 2021 12:39 pm

Hudson County Prosecutor Esther Suarez is getting support from law enforcement in her home county to become the next U.S. Attorney from New Jersey.

The Hudson County Police Chiefs Association sent a letter this morning to the state’s two U.S. Senators urging that they recommend Suarez for the federal prosecutor post.

“We believe that Prosecutor Esther Suarez represents the very best of the criminal justice community in New Jersey. She recognizes and respects the concepts of culture, dignity, diversity, and equity,” the letter to U.S. Senators Bob Menendez and Cory Booker said.  “We believe these are attributes that are needed in a United States Attorney. We firmly believe that Esther Suarez is the right person for this appointment.”

The letter, signed by association president Anthony Monteiro and vice president David Strumolo, representatives of twelve Hudson County municipalities, New Jersey Transit and Stevens Institute of Technology police chiefs, and the chief of the Hudson County Prosecutor’s office.

The local chiefs would not have signed the letter without the consent of the Hudson County mayors.

“Prosecutor Suarez is truly responsive to the needs of the people of Hudson County,” the chiefs stated in their letter.  “Through Prosecutor Suarez’s leadership, the Hudson County law enforcement community has placed a special emphasis on forming healthier partnerships between the police and the community through a series of seminars, community meetings, and other forms of community engagement.”

Suarez is one of seven candidates on a short list of current and former prosecutors being considered by Menendez and Booker, along with Henry Klingeman, Jenny Kramer, Phil Sellinger, Jamel Semper, Ricardo Solano, Jr., and Lee Vartan.

The U.S. Attorney post is traditionally filled by the senior senator from the state, if that senator’s party occupies the White House.  That role now falls to Menendez, who would presumably make the recommendation to Biden after consultation with Booker.

The chiefs praised Suarez’s record as a prosecutor since she was named to the post in 2015.

“Suarez has encouraged every police chief to increase their department’s emphasis on expressing empathy, following constitutional requirements, and treating citizens with respect and dignity,” the chiefs association told the senators.  “The result has been a high focus on the 21st Century Policing Mindset in Hudson County, essentially striving for justice through transparency, accountability, and professionalism.”

Suarez is a former Superior Court Judge, Hoboken corporation counsel, and Bergen County law director.  Suarez began her legal career as an associate at Scarinci Hollenbeck, a political influential law firm.

Several grassroots groups have already indicated their choice for the U.S. Attorney post.

The leaders of two Latina advocacy groups, Latinas United for Political Empowerment and LUPE PAC., are pushing for Suarez.

Semper, a current Assistant U.S. Attorney who heads the Organized Crimes and Gangs section, is backed by a group of politically powerful Black ministers from across the state.

Last week, seven faith leaders backed Vartan, a former Assistant U.S. Attorney and an assistant counsel to the governor.  He is the son of Leo Vartan, the former mayor of Kearny.

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