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Bergen Judges Shift Assignments In January

Superior Court Judge Christopher Kazlau will move to the Superior Court Criminal Division in Bergen County in January. Photo Credit: Mary K. Miraglia
Judge Edward Jerejian will be moving to Chancery Courts replacing retiring Judge Gerald Escala. Photo Credit: Mary K. Miraglia

HACKENSACK, N.J. -- Bergen County judges will be shifting responsibilities in January to bring expertise to the criminal courts while filling a vacancy opened by the retirement of General Equity Judge Gerald C. Escala.

Superior Court Judge Edward A. Jerejian, who was appointed to the bench in 2006, is moving into the top spot of Civil and General Equity courts Jan. 4, replacing Escala.

Jerejian is being replaced in the Criminal Division by Superior Court Judge Christopher Kazlau, who is moving from the Family Division to cover the responsibility.

Kazlau has been a highly respected criminal attorney in Union and Bergen counties. He was appointed a judge in January, first assigned to criminal courts in Passaic County.

His assignment answers a concern that has been voiced in recent months that Jerejian’s move would leave the Criminal Division with no judge who had experience as a criminal trial attorney.

The moves continue major changes in judicial assignments that began last spring, when Superior Court Assignment Judge Bonnie Mizdol came from the Family Division to replace retiring Superior Court Judge Peter Doyne.

Superior Court Judge Susan Steele of the Civil Division was made presiding judge of criminal courts, while two other Family Division judges, Frances A. McGrogan and Margaret M. Foti, filled criminal vacancies.

Previously a Municipal Court judge in Englewood, Escala has been extended past the mandatory retirement age of 70 for 10 years, retiring at age 80.

Jerejian obtained tenured status in early 2013 and can serve until 2030, when he turns 70.

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