The Hudson County judge whose rulings were instrumental in keeping the Keegan Landfill closed during a protracted battle between the Town of Kearny and the NJSEA will become the head of the Hudson County Courts in six weeks.

Chief Justice Stuart Rabner announced that Superior Court Judge Jeffrey R. Jablonski, of Kearny, will lead the Hudson Vicinage, effective April 1, 2021, succeeding Judge Peter F. Bariso Jr., who is retiring after 16 years on the bench, the last nine as assignment judge.

“Judge Jablonski is a wise and thoughtful jurist who is poised to continue the culture of excellence in the Hudson Vicinage fostered under Judge Bariso’s leadership. I am confident that Hudson County, and the judiciary as a whole, will be well served under his stewardship,” Rabner said.

Jablonski has served as presiding judge of the chancery division in the Hudson Vicinage since 2018. He was appointed to the bench on March 5, 2013, by Gov. Chris Christie, serving first in the civil division, where he was supervising judge of the special civil part, before being selected as the complex litigation judge.

He was reappointed by Gov. Phil Murphy and received tenure on the bench on Feb. 13, 2020.

Prior to his judicial career, Judge Jablonski was in private practice from 1997 to 2013, focusing on family law, real estate, civil litigation, as well as criminal trial and appellate defense.

He worked for the Office of the Public Defender from 1998 and was a municipal public defender in Kearny from 2001, leaving both positions when he joined the bench in 2013.

He began his law career as a clerk for the late Hudson County Superior Court Judge John A. McLaughlin.

He earned his bachelor’s degree from the  College of the Holy Cross and his law degree from Thomas M. Cooley Law School at Western Michigan University.

“I want to express my sincere gratitude to Chief Justice Rabner for placing his confidence in me to lead the Hudson Vicinage. I look forward to continuing Judge Bariso’s legacy and to working with all of the outstanding judges and staff for the residents of Hudson County,” Judge Jablonski said.

In the state of New Jersey, the assignment judge has a wealth of responsibilities. Among them, according to the State Judiciary, are:

  • Implementation of all court rules and regulations under the direction of the Chief Justice of the State Supreme Court.
  • Management of the finances of the vicinage.
  • Oversight on all court matters.
  • Administration of all court units in the vicinage.
  • Appointment and dismissal of the court’s administrative personnel.
  • A litany of other responsibilities as assigned by the Chief Justice or the Supreme Court of New Jersey as needed.

The St. Peter’s Prep alum and wife, Christine, have two sons.

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Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, an organization he has served since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on social media channels such as YouTube, Facebook, and X, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to Kearny to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.