New Jersey’s top federal judge going into ‘semi-retirement’ |

CAMDEN, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey’s chief federal judge is stepping down.

Chief Judge Jerome Simandle is assuming senior status and going into a “semi-retirement” and will be replaced by U.S. District Judge Jose Linares, reports (

Simandle, who will see a reduced number of cases, graduated from Princeton and the University of Pennsylvania Law School. He worked in the U.S. Attorney’s office before becoming a federal magistrate in 1983.

The 68-year-old Binghamton native was nominated as a federal district judge by former President George H.W. Bush after serving as a magistrate judge for nine years. Simandle became chief judge of New Jersey in 2012.

U.S. District Judge Jose Linares will succeed Simandle. Linares, who sits in Newark, will make history as New Jersey’s first Hispanic chief federal judge.

“If you told me this was going to happen — look, just becoming a federal judge was unimaginable,” said the 63-year-old Cuban native.

Linares was nominated for the federal court in 2002 by President George W. Bush and has presided over a series of major political corruption cases.

Unlike appointed positions, the chief judge of a district is based on seniority. Linares will be tasked with overseeing the court’s budget, managing court staff and other administrative responsibilities.

New Jersey is one of the busiest districts in the country. Last year, the state’s judges had a weighted caseload of 545 on average. The national average was 487.

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