N.J. Senate confirms Paula Dow for judgeship

Paula Dow, on her way to Superior Court, still faces allegations in a lawsuit. AP
Paula Dow, on her way to Superior Court, still faces allegations in a lawsuit. AP
Posted: June 30, 2012

TRENTON - Despite a few questions about her role in the firing of a prosecutor, Gov. Christie's former attorney general, Paula Dow, cruised through her judicial confirmation Thursday in the New Jersey Senate.

Dow, who said she recently moved from Essex County to Willingboro, will serve on Superior Court in Burlington County. The Senate voted to confirm her by 38-0 with two abstentions.

Dow originally was nominated by Christie to serve in Essex County, but an apparent dispute between Christie and senators there held up her hearing. She then moved to Willingboro, which upset some attorneys in Burlington County, who had hoped a local lawyer would fill one of the two vacant seats on that court.

In a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Thursday morning, before the full Senate voted, Chairman Nicholas Scutari (D., Union) asked a few questions about a lawsuit filed against Dow by a former assistant prosecutor in Hunterdon County.

Bennett Barlyn alleged that Dow had political motives in dismissing a corruption indictment against county officials with ties to Christie. After Barlyn complained about the dismissal, he said, he was fired by one of Dow's underlings.

Christie's office has denied any involvement in the case. Dow on Thursday rejected allegations of wrongdoing.

"With respect to the allegations, I deny them and believe they will not be substantiated," she said.

Dow noted that the attorney she had appointed to run the Hunterdon County Prosecutor's Office made employment decisions, and acknowledged that Barlyn's firing must have been "very difficult and stressful" for him.

In an interview Thursday, Barlyn said: "The fight will continue in the courtroom. The evidence will be presented in another forum where this matter will be explored in great detail, as opposed to the Senate hearing."


Contact Matt Katz at 609-217-8355

or mkatz@phillynews.com, or follow

on Twitter @mattkatz00. Read his blog, "Christie Chronicles," at www.philly.com/ChristieChronicles.

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