FLEMINGTON, NJ - Prosecutor Anthony P. Kearns, III announced today his plans to resign his position as the Hunterdon County Prosecutor. The effective date of his resignation will be April 12.

Prosecutor Kearns was first sworn into office in 2010. He is now in his ninth year serving Hunterdon County as its Prosecutor.

Kearns is the longest serving prosecutor for the county and the only one appointed to two terms since the prosecutor’s job became a full-time position in the early 1970s.

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“It has been my privilege and honor to serve the people of Hunterdon County as their Chief Law Enforcement Officer,” Kearns said in a press release. “Nothing has brought me more satisfaction as a professional than serving the people as the Hunterdon County Prosecutor. The mission of truth and justice has been pure and one that I have fought for each day of my tenure.”

Kearns notified Gov. Murphy, Attorney General Grewal, and Sens. Michael Doherty, Kip Bateman and Shirley Turner of his plan to resign prior to making the announcement to his office.

Kearns will be resigning his post to assume the position of Chancellor for the Diocese of Metuchen and to return to the private practice of law.

Kearns said, “It is only after the Most Rev. James F. Checchio, JCD, MBA, Bishop of the Metuchen Diocese, asked me to serve the Diocese and its people did I make the decision to resign my post as prosecutor.”

As Chancellor. Kearns will be the third highest ranking official in the Diocese and will advise Bishop Checchio as a member of his Curia.

“I believe Bishop Checchio to be a strong leader and visionary and more importantly I believe him to be a man of strong faith, character and conviction,” Kearns said. “I am looking forward to working hard to fulfill the mission of the Catholic Church and supporting Bishop Checchio in his role as the leader and shepherd of the Diocese of Metuchen.”

Upon his resignation, Kearns will also return to practicing law in his own law firm.

“I have had over 12 years in public service, including almost four years as a Deputy Attorney General,” Kearns said. “I practiced law as a member and partner in a law firm for over eight years and a counselor and therapist in the field of mental health for over seven years before and during law school. I believe these varied experiences, with the grace of God, will serve me well as I serve my clients in the private practice of law and serve my Bishop and the people of my Church as Chancellor.”

Prosecutor Kearns said, “As I look back on my years in the Prosecutor’s Office, I am most proud of the office I leave behind and of the many partnerships and programs we introduced to help preserve the quality of life we enjoy throughout Hunterdon. Many of those efforts were accomplished through our partnership with Prevention Resources, including our Law Enforcement Adolescent Program, our One Voice faith-based initiative and Operation Helping Hand, to name a few. But there are many other partnerships as well: the Hunterdon Medical Center, Hunterdon Drug Awareness, Crime Stoppers, Hunterdon County educators, Hunterdon Chamber of Commerce, The 200 Club, Rotary, Partnership for Health, NAMI, Friendly Sons of Saint Patrick, and countless others.”

“I would like to thank Gov. Christie, for nominating me twice, and the Senate for its unanimous support on both appointments, particularly my local Senators Doherty, Bateman and Turner. I would also like to thank the Attorneys General Dow, Chiesa, Hoffman, Lougy, Porrino, and Grewal; Assignment Judge Yolanda Ciccone and the Judiciary and staff of Vicinage 13; each of the 16 municipal police departments that serve Hunterdon County and their chiefs; Col. Callahan and the members of the NJ State Police; Sheriff Brown, Under Sheriffs Smith, Della Serra and Cordero and their officers; the Hunterdon County Fire Departments and Rescue Squads; the Hunterdon County Department of Public Safety; my fellow constitutional officers; the Board of Chosen Freeholders; the Superintendents of schools and their administrators and teachers; the faith-based community throughout Hunterdon; my colleagues and fellow prosecutors; and the residents and workers throughout Hunterdon County.”

 “Much of my thanks is to my office and the people who staff it. They are an extraordinary group of people. It has been my pleasure and honor to serve the people of Hunterdon with them. I have had the privilege to be the face of the office while most of them remain unknown, but no great endeavor has ever been accomplished alone. It is the sum total of the efforts of all in our office that has led to our success. The Hunterdon County Prosecutor’s Office is comprised of selfless individuals with a vision of a greater reality and the betterment of all. I am proud to have led them. I believe in working together we created the ability to be looked upon and given the trust that we would do the right thing. I will miss working side by side with them, but, I shall continue to applaud them from the outside.”

“Mostly I would like to thank my wife Paula and our four children: Anthony, Joseph, Francesca, and Sofia, as well as my extended family and friends. My youngest daughter was only two when this whole process began and now she is eleven years old. This is what my children have known growing up. I appreciate the love and support of my wife and children, and their willingness to sacrifice much to allow me the ability to fully serve as Hunterdon’s Prosecutor.”

“As I look back I hope that I have served and lived up to the expectations of the good people of Hunterdon County in accordance with the words of Justice Robert H. Jackson: ‘A sensitiveness to fair play and sportsmanship is perhaps the best protection against the abuse of power, and the citizen’s safety lies in the prosecutor who tempers zeal with human kindness, who seeks truth and not victims, who serves the law and not factional purposes, and who approaches his task with humility.’ I leave to serve in other roles with other missions. However, in these new roles of private attorney and in service to the Diocese of Metuchen, my purpose and resolve remain the same - truth and justice.”