Passaic County Commissioners said goodbye to Superior Court-appointed Judge Ernest Capocella.
In a proclamation, the county governing body praised Caposela, who will retire at the end of May after more than eight years as mayor of the Passaic district. Still, Capocella’s departure is more of a relocation than a retirement.
In early May, state Supreme Court officials preemptively summoned Mr. Caposela to a two-year provisional sentence to mitigate pending lawsuits, according to a May 8 announcement. His new role includes temporary appointments to superior courts statewide to help implement, maintain and improve criminal justice reform. Launched in 2017, the program introduced risk-based bail reform as part of a revised pretrial framework.
New Jersey Chief Justice Stuart Rabner said, “Judge Capocella played a valuable role in the early success of New Jersey’s criminal justice reform, spearheading the first pilot program and inspiring both fellow judges and the public.” It helped me see the benefits,” he said in an April statement about Judge Caposela. Pending his retirement.
Meet northjersey.com reporter Hannan Addery at the Palestine Way Festival on Sunday
In 1973, the New Jersey legislature passed a law allowing the appointment of retired judges under the state’s judicial retirement age of 70. Two years later, it updated the law to include judges past retirement age to reduce state court backlogs. The recalled retirees earn $300 a day and can work until age 80.
On Mother’s Day, grieving mothers in North Jersey will trust signs from above
Capocella, who turns 70 on May 31, was appointed as a Passaic County judge in 1999 after being nominated by Gov. Christine Todd Whitman. Initially assigned to the court’s Family Division, the longtime Passaic County resident was transferred to the criminal bench in 2003. One of his first cases there involved a Patterson contractor who allegedly stole nearly $1 million from more than 60 local victims.
Capocella, who earned a law degree from the University of Louisville’s Brandeis Law School, returned to the court’s family division in 2010 as presiding judge. In 2014, he became a resident judge of the court, succeeding Donald Volkert, Jr., who also retired. Due to state age-based obligations.
Prior to becoming a judge, Caposella served privately as an attorney for the Passaic City Council and an attorney for the Paterson Library Commission.
Capocella will be replaced by Superior Court Judge Rudolf Filko as the Judge of Passaic Vicinage. Filko, a graduate of Seton Hall Law School and a former assistant U.S. attorney based in Newark, has presided over the court’s Family Division since June 2016, according to records.
High Court Judge Yolanda Adrianzen, who has been assigned to the family division of the court since 2015, will replace Filko as the division’s presiding judge.