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Chief Justice Deborah T. Poritz  Announced  Appointments of Superior Court Judge Michael Winkelstein and Superior Court Judge Robert Passero

For Release: June 28, 1999
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Patricia Shukis Fraser
(609) 292-9580

Chief Justice Deborah T. Poritz today announced the appointments of Superior Court Judge Michael Winkelstein as the new Assignment Judge for the Atlantic/Cape May Vicinage and Superior Court Judge Robert Passero as the new Assignment Judge for the Passaic Vicinage.

Judge Winkelstein will replace the current Assignment Judge, Richard J. Williams who will become the Acting Administrative Director of the Courts on August 1, 1999. Judge Passero will replace Judge Joseph Falcone who will become the Essex Vicinage Assignment Judge on August 13, 1999.

The Chief Justice said, "Judge Winkelstein follows in a long tradition of talented judges who have served as Assignment Judges in the Atlantic/Cape May Vicinage. He has the legal and management skills to carry on the work of his predecessors. I know that under Judge Winkelstein, the Vicinage will continue to be a leader in court administration."

Judge Winkelstein, 52, of Margate, was appointed to the Superior Court by Governor Thomas Kean on May 11, 1989. He was assigned to the Atlantic County Family Division until October of 1991 when he was moved to the Civil Division. In September of 1997, Judge Winkelstein was named the Atlantic/Cape May Vicinage Civil Division Presiding Judge, his current assignment.

Prior to his appointment to the bench, Judge Winkelstein served as Attorney/Advisor to the Board of Veteran's Appeals in Washington, D.C., was in the private practice of law in both Pennsylvania, and New Jersey and ultimately became Atlantic County Counsel in 1986.

Judge Winkelstein is a 1968 graduate of American University and a 1973 graduate of the Temple University School of Law. He is married and the father of three children.

Of Judge Passero, the Chief Justice said, "Judge Passero has for the last eleven years, served with distinction as a Superior Court Judge. His experience in all three trial divisions provides a breadth of understanding that will serve him well in carrying out the responsibilities of an Assignment Judge. Judge Passero will provide the strong leadership skills that have been the hallmark of his predecessors in Passaic County."

Judge Passero, 61, of Hawthorne, became a Superior Court judge on November 1, 1988 when he was appointed by Governor Thomas Kean. He served in the Criminal Division until January 2, 1991, when he was assigned to the Family Division. In September of 1994 he returned to the Criminal Division until his assignment to the Civil Division in January 1995, where he is currently assigned.

Before becoming a Superior Court judge, Judge Passero was in the private practice of law and was Municipal Attorney for the Borough of Haledon, and later the Planning Board Attorney for the Borough of Haledon. In 1984 and 1985 he served as the Judge of the Haledon Municipal Court.

Judge Passero is a 1960 graduate of Rutgers University and a 1962 graduate of New York University School of Law. He and his wife, Phyllis are the parents of three daughters, Juliet, Karen and Susan.

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