Three new municipal judges have been appointed by mayor Jose “Joey” Torres. The mayor has also reappointed two longtime judges.
Torres appointed Abdelmageid “John” Abdelhadi, Giuseppe Randazzao, and Cecilia Guzman to judgeships in the city’s municipal court which handles minor criminal offenses, ordinance violations, and traffic tickets.
Abdelhadi, who currently works in the city’s law department as assistant corporation counsel, is the incumbent municipal prosecutor in nearby Haledon. Abdelhadi holds a juris doctorate from Seton Hall University and has a Main Street law firm bearing his name which deals in criminal, real estate, and family court matters.
Randazzao currently serves as municipal prosecutor for Hackensack and Garfield. He also has a practice of his own out of Passaic Street in Garfield. Randazzao, who holds a law degree from Florida Coastal School of Law, is a borough attorney in Elmwood Park.
The third appointment: Guzman has worked in the Morris County Prosecutor’s office before becoming one of the Guzmans of Guzman and Guzman law firm in Totowa. Guzman has a law degree from Western New England College School of Law.
“We’re authorized to have up to six judges,” said court director Manuel Quiles. “We lost judges [Karole] Graves, [Philip] Fenster, and [Karen] Brown.”
Quiles said with the retirement of Graves, Fenster, and the resignation of Brown the court was left with half the number of judges at the bench. When asked if the reduced number of judges resulted in a backlog, the director said the city will always have a backlog being the 3rd largest municipal court in the state, but that with more court sessions the backlogs can be controlled and better managed.
Torres is also reappointing Joaquin Calcines and Gerald Keegan. Both Calcines and Keegan were appointed to the court in 2003.
Keegan serves as the school board attorney for the Passaic County Technical Institute and has a private practice. Keegan has a law degree from the New England School of Law.
Calcines has been a real estate and business transaction lawyer since 1985. He has a law degree from Rutgers University.
Salary of the reappointed judges stand at $58,592 each; the new appointments will see a salary of $45,000, according to city documents. Each appointment is for a three-year term. The judges are not are not full-time or part-time employees, but each is required to hold four court sessions per week.
Quiles said each court session can run up to approximately four hours.
The new appointments and the re-appointments must be confirmed by the city council. The city’s code and state law require the council’s advice and consent before the appointments are finalized.
The council is set to discuss the appointments during its next meeting.
Updated: 2:17 p.m. Tuesday. Correction: The original article stated Guzman’s law firm was located on Madison Avenue when in fact her office is in Union Boulevard in Totowa.