New Hoboken Chief Municipal Court Judge Benjamin Choi and Municipal Judge Scott Pennington took their oaths of office Tuesday ahead of starting their latest gigs tomorrow.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
“The appointments of Mr. Choi and Mr. Pennington mark a pivotal moment in our Mile Square,” Mayor Ravi Bhalla said in a statement, indicating that they were the first Asian and African American appointees to hold their respective posts.
“Not only will Hoboken’s court system now reflect the increasing diversity of our city and state, but will also elevate public servants with the experience and dedication to ensure equal justice for all. I’m proud to welcome them to their new positions.”
As chief municipal judge, Choi will be responsible for all supervisory and administrative functions of the municipal court.
From 2009 until today, he served the city as the Alcohol Beverage and Control Board’s prosecutor, later as the ABC Board attorney, municipal prosecutor, and municipal court judge.
“I am deeply honored to be appointed as the Chief Municipal Court Judge for the City of Hoboken. In my new position as the Chief Judge, I look forward to working with the Court Administrator, our excellent Court Staff and our newly appointed Municipal Court Judge, Judge Scott Pennington,” Choi stated.
“Together, we will work to ensure that all court participants will be given an opportunity to be heard and will be treated respectfully, fairly and justly.”
As municipal court judge, Pennington will adjudicate all complaints brought before the municipal court including disorderly persons and petty disorderly persons offenses, DUI offenses, traffic citations, and city code violations, among others.
Pennington is a partner at Bennet Pennington LLC and has served on the New Jersey Supreme Court’s Committee on Municipal Court Practice and the local Attorney Ethics Committee.
“I am honored and eager to begin my role as Municipal Court Judge, dedicated to upholding the principles of fairness and justice within our community,” he noted.
“I look forward to serving Hoboken and working diligently to ensure a just legal process for all individuals who come before the court.”
Both judges were approved by a close 4-3 vote at the July 12th City Council meeting, with some council members questioning why now Chief Municipal Court Judge Cataldo Fazio wasn’t reappointed.
However, the vote was largely overshadowed by remarks from a resident that many electeds immediately denounced as anti-Semitic.