New municipal judge in Cherry Hill first woman to hold post

Posted: July 01, 2014

She has been practicing law in South Jersey for three decades, much of that time as a prosecutor in Cherry Hill municipal court. Next month, she will preside over the courtroom.

Judith Charny, appointed a municipal judge in Cherry Hill, will be the first woman to serve in that position in the township.

A colleague who has known her for decades says Charny brings the right experience and temperament to her new assignment. Charny will be one of three judges to hold the part-time position in the township.

"I think she has a very good demeanor, which I think is very important for judges, whether they're municipal court judges or any other kind of judge," said Nancy Gold, who is of counsel at Charny's law firm. "She will be able to bring, first and foremost, I think, a lot of experience."

Gold has known Charny for 20 years, going back to their days working in the Camden County Prosecutor's Office, where Charny was an assistant prosecutor.

There she gained experience with family and abuse cases that led to her specialization in family law, according to a news release from Cherry Hill Mayor Chuck Cahn's office announcing her appointment.

Charny "has an outstanding reputation in Cherry Hill and throughout the legal community in South Jersey," Cahn said.

Before her time as an assistant prosecutor, Charny clerked for Mercer County Superior Court Judge Judith A. Yaskin.

Charny was not available for an interview, but in the news release from the township she said she was "honored to continue to serve the people of Cherry Hill in this capacity and am eager to begin in my new role."

For the last 14 years, along with working as township prosecutor, Charny and her husband have operated their own law firm. She and her firm won't be able to litigate in Cherry Hill as long as she is municipal judge there, Gold said.

Outside the courtroom, some know her better as a volunteer.

"She's truly a pillar of our community. She's always been involved," Andi Loew, the director of volunteers at Samost Jewish Family and Children's Services.

Charny has worked with Jewish Family and Children's Services doing pro bono work for people grappling with domestic issues such as divorces or abuse. She would show up at night, after work, when she had free time to help, Loew said.

Loew, who also has known Charny for years sees the judgeship as an understandable payoff for hard work.

"She was a stay-at-home mom for a little bit and then decided it was time to go back to work," Loew said. "She went back to work and put 100 percent into it - 150 percent into it - and succeeded, and that brought her to where she is today."

Municipal judges in Cherry Hill split up casework among the three of them. Charny will mostly be hearing cases concerning traffic violations and offenses of similar magnitude.

Her term will expire at the end of 2016.


cmindock@phillynews.com

867-779-3237    @clarkmindock

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