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Prosecutor Still Active, Successor Remains in Limbo

Judiciary committee has not yet ruled on governor's nomination, Florham Park attorney Fredric Knapp, to replace Robert Bianchi.

Even though Morris County Prosecutor Robert Bianchi's term technically ended more than five months ago, he is prepared to personally handle the prosecution of a man

Referring to the fact his five-year appointment officially ended June 22, Bianchi told a judge Monday his status as prosecutor is "tenuous" and he will work to have a contingency plan for if he is replaced near the time of the defendant, Michael Cassella's, trial, according to reports by the Daily Record and The Star-Ledger.

Bianchi's involvement in the case comes amid the departure of an assistant prosecutor who is leaving for a job with a private firm, and a spate of homicides in 2011, the reports said.

Gov. Chris Christie nominated Florham Park attorney Fredric Knapp in June to be the next county prosecutor, but the the Senate Judiciary Committee, which has a Democratic majority, has not yet held a hearing on the nomination.

Sen. Raymond J. Lesniak, a member of the Judiciary Committee, told the Daily Record he's not expecting the committee to meet this month, which would mean the governor would have to reappoint Knapp next year. Lesniak, a Democrat, also said he sees Bianchi as far more qualified for the job.

Gov. Jon Corzine appointed Bianchi to his five-year term in 2007.

Bianchi, who successfully prosecuted Jose Feliciano, found guilty last year of murdering the Rev. Edward Hinds of Chatham, has said he will do everything needed to ensure an orderly transition.

Messages were not returned Monday from the governor's office, Bianchi, Knapp, Lesniak and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Nicholas Scutari.

clyde donovan December 04, 2012 at 05:55 PM
If Lesniak wants to be governor and appoint prosecutors, let him run for governor. Otherwise, stop obstructing the operation of New Jersey government and let Chris Christie put his own choice in the prosecutor's position.
Tracy Tobin December 05, 2012 at 02:55 PM
Kevin Totally off the subject, but I saw a Coast Guard Petty Officer was killed, and another injured, in what appears to be a "drug interception operation " off the coast of California. I think it is a shame that the USCG operations in the USA and around the world get so little recognition, and relatively small appropriations, even as their National Security role has expanded. Please send me your contact information to my home, as I have a number of questions re the USCG operations and funding over past few years.
HistorianWT December 05, 2012 at 06:03 PM
Oh gawd. I just threw up a little in my mouth. Tobin, as a republican you are what the Seals call a "Whiskey Delta". This clown is trying to get the your fellow republican mayor recalled for delegating to you. Have you no pride?

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