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Three Judges Elevated to Appellate Division

Superior Court Judges Margaret M. Hayden, Mitchel E. Ostrer and Jerome M. St. John will be elevated to the Appellate Division effective Aug. 1, Chief Justice Stuart Rabner has announced.

The Appellate Division of the Superior Court is New Jersey's intermediate appellate court.  The 35 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.

Margaret M. HaydenHayden has served in the family division in the Essex Vicinage since her appointment to the bench by Gov. James E. McGreevey in 2004. A former member of the statewide Domestic Violence Working Group, Hayden served as the lead judge on domestic violence cases from 2004 to 2006. She served as lead judge for Children in Court (dependency) cases and for the Newark Model Court from 2008 to 2011.

A graduate of Georgetown University School of Foreign Service and Rutgers University School of Law-Newark, Hayden began her legal career in 1973 at the Newark firm of Ball, Hayden, Livingston & Smith. In 1985, she joined the Environmental Protection Bureau of the New York Office of the Attorney General as assistant attorney general.

In 1987, Hayden joined Rutgers University’s Environmental Law Clinic, where she worked as a senior attorney training law students in complex litigation involving environmental law. 

Hayden was named an administrative law judge by Gov. Christie Whitman in 1996, where she remained until her appointment to the Superior Court.

Mitchel E. OstrerOstrer was appointed to the bench in 2003 by Gov. James E. McGreevey. He began his judicial career in the civil division in the Mercer Vicinage, moving to the family division in 2004 and to the criminal division in 2007.  While on the bench, Ostrer has been a participant in the Advanced Science and Technology Adjudication Resource Center and has served on the Evidence Rules Committee.  As an attorney, he served on the District V-B Ethics Committee and the Model Civil Jury Charge Committee.

After receiving a bachelor’s degree from Hamilton College, Ostrer earned a master of public affairs degree from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. He attended Columbia University School of Law, receiving his law degree in 1979. He served as a law clerk to the late New Jersey Supreme Court Justice Sidney M. Schreiber.

Ostrer served as assistant counsel to Gov. Brendan T. Byrne before joining the political campaign and, later, the Washington, D.C. staff of Sen. Frank Lautenberg, where he became legislative director.  In 1992, he returned to New Jersey and became of counsel to the law firm of Sills Cummis & Gross in Newark, concentrating in commercial litigation.  He joined Gov. McGreevey’s administration in 2001, serving as his policy counselor before his appointment to the bench.

Appointed to the Superior Court in 2006 by Gov. Jon Corzine, St. John served in the criminal division in the Essex Vicinage until 2009, when he was transferred to the civil division. He returned to the criminal division last year and has remained there until his elevation to the Appellate Division.

Jerome M. St. JohnA graduate of Villanova University and Seton Hall School of Law, St. John began his legal career in private practice, first at the Newark firm of Kraft & Hughes, and later as a partner at St. John & Wayne in Newark and New York City.

St. John also served on the Essex Fells School Board, and the Essex Fells Town Council. He was mayor of Essex Fells from 1996 to 1998. From 2004 to 2005 he served as chairman of the Essex County Utilities Authority.

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