Weehawken-born and a graduate of both Rutgers and Seton Hall, a Fanwood father of four could become the first former public defender to serve on New Jersey's highest court.

Gov. Phil Murphy on Monday announced his intentions to nominate Michael Noriega to the New Jersey Supreme Court.

If confirmed by the New Jersey Senate, Noriega would fill the seat of Barry Albin, who reached the mandatory retirement age of 70 in July 2022.

Noriega, the son of Peruvian immigrants, currently handles immigration and personal injury cases as a partner in a law firm that's led by Republican Sen. Jon Bramnick.

He is president-elect for the Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers of New Jersey, and he serves as the board president for the Sanar Wellness Institute, a nonprofit that helps victims of interpersonal violence such as human trafficking and domestic abuse.

"I wanted to be a judge from the beginning of my legal career," Noriega said during his nomination announcement. "Today, I vow to work harder than I have ever worked before."

Prior to joining Bramnick's team, Noriega ran his own law firm six years, specializing in immigration and criminal law.

Noriega, 45, served as a public defender in Essex County from 2003 to 2008.

"In addition to his qualifications, Michael's character, integrity, and commitment to serving the cause of justice make him ideally-suited to serve on our state's highest court," Murphy said.

Noriega graduated St. Peter's Prep in 1995, earned a bachelor's degree from Rutgers in 1999, and graduated Seton Hall University School of Law in 2002.

He lives in Fanwood with his wife and four daughters.

Noriega is Murphy's fourth pick for the Supreme Court.

Dino Flammia is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at dino.flammia@townsquaremedia.com

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