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For immediate release:March 11, 2004
For further information: contact:
Winnie Comfort
(609) 292-9580

Chief Justice Announces New Appellate Division Administrative Leader

Chief Justice Deborah T. Poritz today announced the appointment of Judge Edwin H. Stern as Presiding Judge for Administration of the Appellate Division of the Superior Court. He will assume the leadership role in the Appellate Division on June 1, 2004.

Judge Stern, 62, was appointed to the bench in 1981 by then-Gov. Brendan T. Byrne. He served in the Superior Court Law Division in Hudson County and the Superior Court Law and Criminal Divisions in Essex County before he was temporarily assigned to the Appellate Division in 1985. That assignment became permanent in 1986 and since then Judge Stern has served in the eight parts, or groups of judges, in the Appellate Division. He currently is the presiding judge of Part H. Over the course of his judicial career, Judge Stern has issued 305 signed, published opinions. He has been active in education and on many Supreme Court committees and currently chairs the Criminal Practice Committee.

"I am pleased that Judge Stern has agreed to accept the enormous responsibility of presiding over the administration of the Appellate Division, where more than 7,000 appeals are resolved in a year," the Chief Justice said. "His wealth of legal, judicial and management experience spans nearly 40 years. The citizens of New Jersey, the members of the Bar, and the entire Judiciary will benefit from his service in his new role," she added.

Judge Stern is a 1966 graduate of Columbia University Law School. He received his undergraduate degree from Rutgers University in 1963. Upon graduation from law school, the judge's first job in the legal profession was as law secretary, now called law clerk, to Appellate Division Judge Edward Gaulkin.

"As a young man just out of law school and clerking in the Appellate Division, I probably could not have imagined this. But today, I am ready for the challenge and look forward to working with the entire Appellate bench as we continue to keep New Jersey's Judiciary among the most respected in the nation," said Judge Stern.

"I am truly honored that Chief Justice Poritz has asked me to serve the Judiciary and my colleagues in the Appellate Division in this position and I am grateful to her for this opportunity. I am particularly honored to be chosen for a position that has been so well-handled by Judge Sylvia Pressler, one of the most outstanding judges we have been privileged to have in New Jersey," said Judge Stern.

Before he was appointed to the Superior Court, Judge Stern was in private practice (1967-70), and then served in the Hudson County prosecutor's office as first assistant (1970-73) and acting prosecutor (1973-74). Judge Stern continued his public service in the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) where he served as director of criminal practice (1974-77) and then moved to the Department of Law and Public Safety as a deputy attorney general (1977-80). In 1980 he rejoined the AOC as assistant director for legal services and it was from that position that he was nominated to the bench.

Judge Stern and his wife Beverly live in West Orange. They have three sons, Scott, 32, Mark, 29 and Paul, 28.

Judge Sylvia B. Pressler, who has overseen the management of the division since September 1997, will be retiring on April 10 and serving on recall until the end of the court term.

"Judge Pressler is a trail-blazer in the legal profession. She was one of the first women Superior Court judges in New Jersey, the second woman appointed to the Appellate Division and the first woman presiding judge in the division. She is an acknowledged legal scholar, a strong leader and a brilliant jurist who has made a difference in the administration of justice in New Jersey. We wish her a long, productive and healthy retirement," said Chief Justice Poritz.

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