Union County Juggles Judges

UNION COUNTY—When Union County Assignment Judge Walter R. Barisonek retires at the end of the month, he will be succeeded by Superior Court Judge Karen M. Cassidy, Chief Justice Stuart Rabner announced earlier this month. Judge Katherine R. Dupuis will replace Cassidy as presiding judge of the county’s family division.

The Chief Justice praised Judge Barisonek for his long and distinguished career on the bench. “Since he was first appointed in 1984, Judge Barisonek has set a standard for fairness, wisdom and excellence in serving the residents of Union County. We will greatly miss his leadership and counsel and wish him a healthy and happy retirement,” Rabner said.

Cassidy and Dupuis will begin their new assignments on Feb. 1.

Cassidy was appointed to the bench in April 2000 by then-Gov. Christie Whitman. She has served in the Union Vicinage since her appointment, first in the Family Division, then in the Civil Division from September 2002 until September 2005. She went back to the Family Division in 2005 to serve as presiding judge.

“Judge Cassidy has proven herself to be a dedicated jurist and leader in the judiciary,” Rabner said. “She has presided over the Family Division in Union County with distinction and overseen a demanding caseload with skill and grace. She will no doubt serve the entire Union County justice system well as assignment judge,” he added.

Cassidy holds a bachelor’s degree from American University and a law degree from George Washington University. She is admitted to the bar of the U.S. Supreme Court, the District Court of New Jersey and the state of New Jersey. She has been a certified civil trial attorney, an arbitrator, a master at the Richard J. Hughes Inn of Court and a lecturer for the New Jersey Institute of Continuing Legal Education.

“Judge Dupuis has served in all three divisions of Superior Court and has accumulated a wealth of experience on the bench,” said Barisonek. “She is an experienced and highly respected judge whom I have enjoyed working with over the years.”

Presiding judges are responsible for the day-to-day management of their divisions, in conjunction with the division manager and under the direction of the assignment judge. This includes assigning calendars, prioritizing cases, and making recommendations to the assignment judge regarding the allocation of judicial resources. In addition, presiding judges serve on statewide conferences in their respective practice areas to consider and recommend policies and procedures to the administrative director of the courts.

Dupuis was named to the bench in 1993 by Gov. Jim Florio. First assigned to the civil bench in the Hunterdon/Warren/Somerset Vicinage, Judge Dupuis came to the Union Vicinage in 1995. She first served in the civil division, and then in the family division. She was reassigned to the criminal division in 1999, returning to the civil bench in 2004.

A graduate of Chestnut Hill College and Seton Hall University School of Law, Judge Dupuis began her legal career as a law clerk to U.S. District Judge Vincent P. Biunno. She joined the Union County Prosecutor’s Office in 1980 as an assistant prosecutor, leaving in 1982 to go into private practice. She served on the District XII Ethics Committee from 1983 to 1986, holding the position of vice chair in 1986. She also served on the Supreme Court Criminal Practice Committee. She serves on the Supreme Court Committee on Outside Activities.

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