Given that Hudson County has been without a prosecutor for 30 months, 10 advocacy groups, mostly from law enforcement, are urging Governor Chris Christie to appoint North Bergen Public Defender Julio Morejon to the post.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
Statewide and National Latino Law enforcement, as well as non-law enforcement, organizations (that total 50,000 members across the state), are urging Christie – as well as Hudson County state Senators Nick Sacco (D-32), Brian Stack (D-33) and Sandra Cunningham (D-31) – to agree on Morejon as Hudson County Prosecutor.
Morejon would be the first Latino to serve as Hudson County Prosecutor, which has the largest number of Latinos among counties in New Jersey.
“The New Jersey Police Community Affairs Officers Association enthusiastically supports its own member, Julio Morejon, to serve as the Hudson County Prosecutor. Mr. Morejon is independent and has a vision for a community policing strategy to reduce crime,” said NJPCAOA President William Schievella in a statement.
Antonio Hernandez, a spokesman for the Coalition and President of the National Coalition of Latino Officers told Hudson County View, “As crime continues to trend up and trial statistics become more problematic, it is important now more than ever that Mr. Morejon be nominated to this position.”
“We are urging Senator Sacco, Senator Cunningham, as well as Senator Stack, to follow through on their fiduciary responsibility by collectively supporting Mr. Morejon’s nomination. Senatorial Courtesy should be used to facilitate immediate consent on this highly qualified candidate to best serve Hudson County.”
According to the NCLO, the Governor’s Office officially vetted Morejon as Hudson County Prosecutor back in March 2013, as well as the New Jersey State Bar Association in June 2013 and the Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey in April 2013.
Morejon, who also has a law office in Guttenberg, is a former municipal court judge, and additionally, has been a prosecutor in Union City, Bloomfield and West New York.
One week ago, the Hudson County Board of Chosen Freeholders unanimously approved a resolution urging Christie to appoint a new county prosecutor – a position that has been void since June 30, 2012.
“The resolution was done in an effort to get the governor to proceed on naming a new prosecutor, so our interest is to see someone there so the office is acting at 100 percent,” said Freeholder Chairman E. Junior Maldonado, who clarified that he believes Acting Prosecutor Gaetano Gregory is doing a good job.
“Morejon is extremely capable and would be a welcome addition to the office, as would be Esther Suarez. We don’t care who it is, but we need someone immediately. I would also personally urge the governor to appoint someone Hispanic to the post, since the county is 42 percent Hispanic.”
Suarez, a Passaic County Superior Court judge, has been rumored for Hudson County prosecutor in recent weeks, though her residency in Wayne has come into question, according to multiple sources.
District 5 Freeholder Anthony Romano, a former Hoboken Police Captain, agreed that immediate action is necessary in this matter.
“It’s not fair to the staff, it’s not fair to Gregory, we need a new Hudson County Prosecutor as soon as possible,” said Romano, who chairs the freeholders’ public safety committee.
“All the candidates, including the acting prosecutor, are qualified and hopefully one one will be picked in the near future.”
Gaetano “Guy” Gregory has served as Hudson County’s acting prosecutor since Edward DeFazio left the position to become a state Superior Court judge.
Senators Sacco, Stack and Cunningham did not return requests for comment, while a spokesman from Governor Christie’s Office declined to comment.
Here is the full list of the organizations supporting Morejon for Hudson County Prosecutor:
National Coalition of Latino Officers
The National Organization of Black Women in Law Enforcement Newark Chapter
The NJ Police Community Affairs Officers Association
Surge the Brown-out.org
National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives Northern NJ Chapter National Asian Peace Officers Association
Italian American Police Society of New Jersey
National Council of Columbia Associations in Civil Service
Utility Workers Union of America
National Coalition Of Latino Clergy and Christian Leaders
Dominican American National Roundtable Latino Leadership Alliance of New Jersey