FLEMINGTON, NJ – Anthony P. Kearns, III was sworn to his second, five-year term as Hunterdon County Prosecutor Tuesday morning.

In New Jersey, a county prosecutor is its highest-ranking law enforcement officer.

The ceremony was held at the old Historic Courthouse on Main Street here, and dignitaries and residents filled the seats.

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Freeholder Director John Lanza was the master of ceremonies for the event. Hunterdon County Chief of Detectives John Kuczynski conducted the Pledge of Allegiance.

The invocation was led by the Bishop of the Diocese of Metuchen, Rev. James F. Checchio.

Speakers included:

  • Jeffrey Chiesa, an attorney who served as U.S. Senator after the death of Sen. Frank Lautenberg.
  • State Sen. Michael Doherty
  • State Sen. Christopher “Kip” Bateman
  • State Supreme Court Justice Peter G. Verniero, (ret.)
  • Readington Police Chief Sebastian Donaruma.

The oath of office was administered by the Hon. Judge Yolanda Ciccone.

Attendees included police chiefs and mayors from across the state; Hunterdon freeholders, sheriff and Constitutional officers; many members of the State Police; local attorneys and judges; other current and former county prosecutors; and residents who consider Kearns a friend.

Parts of the service today were serious, with speakers noting Kearns’ leadership, integrity and commitment to service. Many of the speakers also noted that they considered Kearns a personal friend.

Other parts of the service were more light-hearted. When Lanza overlooked inviting Verniero to speak, the former state Supreme Court justice took comedic advantage.

Verniero observed that Hunterdon freeholders are disciplined and noted for “cutting wherever they can,” so Verniero joked that he could understand his being cut from the formalities.

Verniero also chided Kearns for the remarks he made when first appointed prosecutor, when Kearns thanked Verniero for his “fatherly advice.”

“Really?” Verniero asked. “Fatherly advice, not brotherly advice?”

In his remarks, Kearns thanked those who supported him, including his family, and he promised to continue the efforts he has undertaken.

In particular, Kearns is recognized for his faith-based One Voice initiative, and his outspoken approach to Hunterdon’s heroin epidemic.

Kearns observed that when he first took office, he’d been cautioned that it had become as a ship with tattered sails that had lost its course. “Those were not my words,” he said, and Kearns thanked those who helped him energize an office “that was looking for leadership.”

The closing benediction was led by Rabbi Eli Kornfeld of Chabad of Hunterdon.