Police & Fire

Kearns Sworn to Second Term as Hunterdon Prosecutor

Anthony P. Kearns, III was surrounded by his family. Credits: Curtis Leeds
Credits: Curtis Leeds
Hunterdon Freeholder Director John Lanza. Credits: Curtis Leeds
Attendees at today's event packed the old Historic Courthouse. Credits: Curtis Leeds
The invocation was conducted by the Bishop of the Diocese of Metuchen, Rev. James Checchio. Credits: Curtis Leeds
Many members of the State Police were in attendance. Credits: Curtis Leeds
Former U.S. Senator Jeffrey Chiesa. Credits: Curtis Leeds
State Sen. Michael Doherty Credits: Curtis Leeds
State Sen. Christopher 'Kip' Bateman. Credits: Curtis Leeds
Readington Police Chief Sebastian Donaruma. Credits: Curtis Leeds
State Supreme Court Justice Peter Verniero (ret.) Credits: Curtis Leeds
The Hon. Judge Yolanda Ciccone administered Kearns' oath of office. Credits: Curtis Leeds
Credits: Curtis Leeds
Anthony P. Kearns, III. Credits: Curtis Leeds
Credits: Curtis Leeds
The mostly-serious ceremony had its light-hearted moments. Credits: Curtis Leeds
Rabbi Eli Kornfeld of Chabad of Hunterdon offered the closing bendiction, using both English and Hebrew. Credits: Curtis Leeds
Credits: Curtis Leeds
Credits: Curtis Leeds

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.

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