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For immediate release: June 11, 2007
For further information contact: Winnie Comfort or Tammy Kendig

Judge Vincent J. Grasso Named Ocean Assignment Judge

Chief Justice James R. Zazzali has named Superior Court judge and Ocean County resident Vincent J. Grasso as assignment judge of the Ocean Vicinage Superior Court. The appointment will become effective on July 4 upon the retirement of Judge Eugene Serpentelli, who has served as assignment judge since February 1985, the longest term of any assignment judge in the modern Judiciary's history.

"Unfortunately, the time has come, under our Constitution, to say good-bye to Judge Serpentelli. We thank him for his extraordinary service to the Judiciary and wish him good health and great happiness in his retirement," said Chief Justice Zazzali.

In announcing the new assignment judge, the Chief Justice said, "Judge Grasso is a seasoned manager and a respected jurist. His dedication to the rule of law and to the effective operation of the courts makes him the ideal candidate for the role of assignment judge. His colleagues, attorneys, staff and the citizens of Ocean County will be well served by his experience and commitment."

Judge Grasso, 56, has served in the Ocean Vicinage since his appointment to the bench on July 14, 1989 by Gov. Thomas Kean. He was reappointed with tenure by Gov. Christie Whitman on July 14, 1996 and currently is the presiding judge of the General Equity Division and a member of the Conference of Presiding General Equity Judges. He previously had been assigned to the Family Division, including six years as the presiding judge, and to the Criminal Division. He was a member of the "best practices" visitation team in the Family Division and chaired a committee that revised a procedures manual that is used by judges and law enforcement officers throughout New Jersey for domestic violence cases.

"I have worked in the Ocean County courthouse my entire legal career, first as a young attorney and for nearly 20 years as a judge. I am both honored and humbled that the Chief Justice has selected me to lead the work of the dedicated judges and staff here.

"As I prepare to take the reins from my friend and mentor Judge Serpentelli, I am both sad to see the end of an era and ready to face the challenges ahead," said Judge Grasso.

Judge Grasso received his bachelor's degree from Columbia University and his juris doctor degree from Vermont Law School. He was admitted to the bar in 1977 and was in private practice until his judicial appointment. He and his wife Laura live in Toms River with their two daughters.

New Jersey's Superior Court has 15 vicinages, or regions, each headed by an assignment judge who is the chief administrator and judge. Assignment judges hear cases and oversee the day-to-day management of court operations, budgets and staffing. All assignment judges are members of the Judicial Council, a statewide body of leaders who meet monthly to share information and strategies on efficient and effective court management and who make policy recommendations on programs and practices to the Supreme Court.

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