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Ex-County Prosecutor Sues to Be Reinstated

Complaint claims law that allowed Attorney General to take over Morris County Prosecutor's Office at Gov. Chris Christie's request is unconstitutional.

Former Morris County Prosecutor Robert Bianchi is suing to try to have the courts overturn a law that allowed the Attorney General to take over the Morris County Prosecutor's Office on Friday at Gov. Chris Christie's request, according to The Star-Ledger.

Bianchi's father filed the lawsuit Monday on his son's behalf, claiming the law that allowed the Attorney General's Office "supersession" on Friday is unconstitutional because it conflicts with another state law that says a governor can only remove a county prosecutor after showing cause and holding a public hearing, the report says.

Christie said in a news conference Friday uncertainty about the status of the position hurts office morale, according to reports.

Christie requested the move in order "to promote an orderly and speedy transition to Prosecutor Bianchi's successor, and to ensure uniform and efficient criminal law enforcement in Morris County," an Attorney General's Office spokesman said Friday.

Bianchi, a Morris Plains resident since 2005, was appointed to a five-year term by Democratic Gov. Jon S. Corzine. The term expired on June 22, but the Democratic-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee has never considered Knapp, the Florham Park attorney nominated by Christie, a Republican, more than six months ago.

Attorney General spokesman Leland Moore said "the Governor is acting on the basis of long-standing powers granted him by the Legislature, and his action is consistent with all Constitutional and statutory authority."

The Daily Record reported that in 2005 the state Supreme Court issued a ruling that said “Supersession must occur when the Governor requests it, and the Governor has wide discretion in the exercise of that power," including if it is “in furtherance of the interests of the state.”

chatham7 December 19, 2012 at 01:17 PM
"..term expired on June 22, but the Democratic-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee has never considered Knapp..." His term expired months ago and because of the inactivity of the Democratic Senate he should just stay in the position for ever?? Another Democrate with a arrogant sense of entitlement. Now wasting tax payer money with a law suit.
clyde donovan December 19, 2012 at 06:06 PM
Bianchi should move on and get a job instead of being the political pawn of state Sen. Lesniak.
clyde donovan December 19, 2012 at 06:07 PM
You're 100 percent correct.
A. Drahos December 19, 2012 at 10:55 PM
R. Bianchi has done an excellent job as Morris County Prosecutor. Let's look past politics and just consider results.
Curlyq December 20, 2012 at 03:10 AM
The federal government should look in to that state senators client list at his law firm.
MTSO December 20, 2012 at 04:39 AM
He was appointed for 5 years and his term is over..... Move on.
Robbie December 21, 2012 at 10:28 PM
People, Bianchi and Knapp are being used as political pawns, so it's really neither here or there between them. But the Governor said that Bianchi was removed because as a holdover he was affecting 'office morale', due to the fact that the office didn't know their boss's future in the office. Was there a poll taken by the office's employees? We're they interviewed? Did anyone of them complain to the AG's office saying they're afraid? The instant Bianchi announced he was trying 2 new cases, Christie had him removed. Fact is, if I was the family of the victims, I would want Bianchi in my corner. He was superb as the lead prosecutor in the Jose Feliciano case. So Christie, as much as I admire your work in our fine state, don't just assume things, like weak office morale, without speaking to members of that said office first. You don't work with them, you don't speak for them.
Just Desserts December 23, 2012 at 07:35 PM
This whole system of "appointments" smacks of political country club cronyism. That being said, it's pretty much an unspoken rule that the new regime will out with the old to install their own picks for these positions. Without a doubt, Bianchi is very well qualified and did a superb job as Morris County Prosecutor. Here's what: aside from judges whom have lifetime appointments, even United States Presidents are prevented from holding the office for more than two terms, and with good reason! We need checks and balances. IMHO, Bianchi is destroying what, up to now, has been a sterling reputation. Though I understand where he's coming from, he really needs to play by the rules and give the next guy his turn at bat. This law suit has taken all the shine off the apple for me. It's already too late for him to go gracefully. About the best thing he can do now is not waste any more of the court's time and tax payer's money. If he is entertaining holding any other political office in the future, he's already done himself a great disservice. Mr. Bianchi comes off as a spoiled daddy's boy who stomps his foot and demands that papa fix it for him. Very bad form, indeed!
Dan Grant December 24, 2012 at 04:02 AM
Mr. Bianchi was himself a political appointment coming from Hudson County. That doesn't mean that he didn't do a good job. He did. I found it odd that there was no Democratic Lawyer in Morris County when he was appointed but that said let's not pretend that all of these appointment are in fact not political including Judges. Fred Knapp has no experience that I am aware of. Christie himself was a political appointment with no experience who was appointed by Bush as U,S. Attorney not because of his legal abilities but rather for his fund raising as a Bush Pioneer. This is the system we have in the top levels of law enforcement so let's not pretend it is a suprise. We are just lucky that Mr. Bianchi knew what he was doing in the job. Over the years I have seen them come and go but one of the most frustrating parts is that because these jobs are political there is a reluctance to even investigate local corruption.

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