The State Senate today confirmed five new Superior Court judges from Union County, giving Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Nicholas Scutari (D-Linden) and Gov. Phil Murphy an impressive lineup to clear through some of the vacancies.
“We’ve got a really dynamic, wonderful package that myself, Senator (Tom) Kean and Senator (Joseph) Cryan put together, Scutari seat. “The people here today are elite.”
The Senate also confirmed three judges in Hudson County and three in Essex.
Dara Aquila Govan, an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the last ten years, becomes the first Black woman to serve on the bench in Union County. The 45-year-old Plainfield resident joins the judiciary at an age where he will likely get some consideration for an appellate or Supreme Court post down the road.
Govan was chief of the Public Protection Unit and had previously prosecuted federal cases in the organized crime and gangs, economic crimes and cybercrimes units.
“I am thankful to the mayor of the City of Plainfield, Adrian Mapp, for making our introduction,” Scutari said. “I said to Adrian, ‘Where have you been keeping this young lady. She is a superstar.”
Paul Nieves becomes a judge after 22 years as a deputy attorney general. He said he was originally hired by retiring Supreme Court Justice Jaynee LaVecchia when she worked in the attorney general’s office.
The 51-year-old decorated U.S. Army major has served in the Judge Advocate General Corps since 1996.
“I’m a man of humble beginnings who stands on the shoulders of many great leaders,” Nieves said, noting that he was born in a part of the Bronx known as Fort Apache.
He thanked his commander for his safe return from his deployment to Iraq.
Daniel Roberts, 56, a former legislative assistant to U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg, is a former municipal court judge in Linden.
“I have known or have known of Dan Roberts for pretty much my whole life because his Dad was my councilman, Scutari said. “We had one of these stickers on my refrigerator when I was growing up– Lou Roberts, second ward councilman — with all the important numbers. Before you had the Internet, that’s what you went to when you needed to call the police or the sanitation department.”
Rosalba Comas moves to the Superior Court after 23 years with the Union County Counsel’s office. She has served as first deputy county counsel since 2013. The 53-year-old Comas is a former municipal prosecutor in Garwood and Fanwood.
“I’ve known Rose Comas for well over 20 years,” Scutari said, noting he was a freeholder when she started working for Union County. “She has a tremendous acumen for certain areas of the law that no one else knows.”
Westfield attorney Stacey Edelbaum Boretz, 59, began her career as an Assistant District Attorney in the Bronx and served as a staff attorney to a New York judge.
“Stacey is a passionate lover of the law,” said Senate Minority Leader Thomas Kean, Jr. (R-Westfield). “This is going to be an extremely strong opportunity for the residents and citizens of Union County and the people across the state.”
Kean recommended Boretz to Murphy.
Tax Court Judge Kathi Fiamingo, a former Republican mayor of Kenilworth, was confirmed today for a tenured term. She was originally nominated in 2014.
Three new judges in Hudson County were also confirmed: Jersey City Municipal Court Judges Carlo Abad and Margaret Marley, and Michael Jimenez, a partner at Scarinci Hollenbeck.
That gives Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop a chance to fill two municipal court judgeships before the 2021 mayoral election.
The Senate also approved Joshua David Sanders to a Superior Court Judge in Essex County. The former public defender will become the first Native American to serve in the New Jersey judiciary, State Sen. Nia Gill (D-Montclair) said today. He is a descendant of a former Cherokee Nation Chief Justice.
“He won’t just be a good judge, he will be a brilliant jurist,” Gill said.
Bruce D. Buechler, a 20-year member of the West Orange Zoning Board, will also serve in Essex. He was recommended by former Gov. Richard Codey (D-Roseland), the senior member of the Senate. He is a partner at Lowenstein Sandler with former Murphy Chief Counsel Matt Platkin.
Alvin Ricardo (Rick) Little, the grandson of a tenant farmer, also won confirmation in Essex after being recommended by State Sen. Ronald Rice. A former deputy attorney general and Assistant Attorney General in charge of administrative practice, he’s spent the last two years teaching at Seton Hall Law School.
Little also served as Executive Director of the New Jersey Transportation Trust Fund Authority and the Director of the state’s Crime Victims Compensation Office.
Robin Stacy, a Wall attorney and former state Parole Board staffer, was confirmed to serve as a Superior Court Judge.
“We need experienced, capable attorneys such as Robin on the bench in this state, in particular Monmouth County,” said former Superior Court Judge Ronald Lee Reisner.
Stacy was recommended to the governor by State Sen. Declan O’Scanlon (R-Little Silver).