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Stuart Rabner

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Glenn A. Grant, J.A.D.

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Superior Court Judges in Bergen, Somerset and Union Counties Elevated to Appellate Division

Chief Justice Stuart Rabner has appointed Judges Victor Ashrafi of Somerset County, Marianne Espinosa of Union County and Jonathan N. Harris of Bergen County to the Appellate Division effective Aug. 1.

The Appellate Division of the Superior Court is New Jersey's intermediate Appellate Court. Appellate Division judges hear appeals from decisions of the trial courts, the Tax Court and state administrative agencies. The Appellate Division decides approximately 7,000 appeals and 7,500 motions each year.

Ashrafi served in the civil, criminal and family divisions in Somerset/Hunterdon/Warren Vicinage and was assigned temporarily to the Appellate Division from February until May of this year. He was appointed to the bench in 1995 by then-Gov. Christie Whitman and was reappointed by then-Gov. James E. McGreevey in 2002.

Ashrafi previously served as an assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey. He is a graduate of Amherst College, Stanford University and Cornell Law School.

Ashrafi was 8 years old when he immigrated to the United States from Iran with his family 50 years ago. He was raised in Dunellen.

Ashrafi lives in Basking Ridge with his wife Ginny. The couple has four children, Mandy, Melissa, Will and Alex. In his spare time, Judge Ashrafi enjoys reading, cooking and playing golf.

Espinosa was appointed to the Superior Court by then-Acting Gov. Richard J. Codey and took her oath of office on July 22, 2005. She has served two separate terms in the Superior Court, most recently in the civil and criminal divisions in Union Vicinage. Espinosa was assigned temporarily to the Appellate Division from March until May of this year. In a previous term she served in the civil, criminal and family divisions in Morris/Sussex Vicinage.

She has served on the Supreme Court Civil Practice and Criminal Model Jury Charge Committees.
In addition to her judicial career, Espinosa was an assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey, a deputy state attorney general, assistant counsel to an insurance company and in private practice. She is a graduate of New York University and Rutgers School of Law-Newark.

Espinosa, a Summit resident, has two daughters. Meredith Murphy is a New Jersey attorney and Flannery Murphy is studying for her doctorate in psychology.

Harris was nominated by then-Gov. Thomas H. Kean in 1989 and has sat in the civil, criminal and family divisions in Bergen Vicinage. Harris was reappointed in 1996 by then-Gov. Christie Whitman. In 2005, he was designated one of four judges in the state to hear mass tort cases.

Harris is a graduate of Brown University and New York University School of Law. Prior to his judicial career, Harris focused his private practice in the areas of land use development, tax appeals and chancery litigation. He also served as general and special counsel to several banking and municipal corporations and public utilities.

Harris lives in Upper Saddle River with his wife Karen. The couple has two children, Joshua and Rachel. In his spare time, Judge Harris enjoys gardening, visiting botanical gardens and museums and reading, cooking and traveling.

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