For immediate release: February 10, 2006
For further information: contact: Winnie Comfort - Tammy Kendig
New Jersey Courts Elevate First African American Woman to Appellate Division
Superior Court Judge Paulette Sapp-Peterson has been named to the Appellate Division effective Mar. 1, today announced Chief Justice Deborah T. Poritz. She is the first African American woman to serve in this role.
"Our appellate bench continues to be one of the best in the country," said Chief Justice Poritz. “Judge Sapp-Peterson will further strengthen this excellent group.”
Judge Sapp-Peterson holds a B.A. from Douglass College and a J.D. from Rutgers School of Law-Camden. She began her legal career as a deputy attorney general, then served as a special assistant to the adjutant general for the New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans' Affairs. In 1980 she joined the New Jersey Air National Guard where she served as a Staff Judge Advocate for the 170 th Air Refueling Group and later the 108 th Air Refueling Wing until her retirement in 1994.
Judge Sapp-Peterson became a municipal court judge in 1981 and served in that capacity until her appointment to Superior Court by Gov. Thomas H. Kean in 1989. She has served in the Family, Criminal and Civil Divisions of Superior Court in the Mercer Vicinage. In 2001 she was appointed Presiding Judge of the Civil Division. She served a temporary assignment to the Appellate Division in the fall of 2005.
Judge Sapp-Peterson is a former member of the Supreme Court Task Force on Minority Concerns and the Committee on Model Civil Jury Charges. She currently is a member of the Civil Practice Committee and the Statewide Bench-Bar Liaison Committee on Civil Standardization.
The Appellate Division of Superior Court is the state’s intermediate appellate court. Appellate Division judges are named by the chief justice from among the judges of the Superior Court. The 35 appellate judges are divided into eight parts; each case is heard by a two- or three-judge panel formed by members of one part.
"I am both honored and humbled by this appointment. I am extremely grateful to the Chief Justice for her continued recognition of my professional abilities. During my temporary assignment to the Appellate Division I had the opportunity to work with judges and staff who not only demonstrated the highest level of intellectual prowess, but who also created a welcoming and encouraging environment. I look forward to working with them again and to serving the citizens of New Jersey in this new capacity," said Judge Sapp-Peterson.
Judge Sapp-Peterson resides in Pennington with her husband, Rocky Peterson, Esq. They have three children, Malik, Danita and Corrie and three grandsons, Marcus, Tremain and Devon.