Joseph E. Krakora

Joseph E. Krakora was originally sworn in as Public Defender in 2011 and is currently serving his second five year term. Under his leadership, the New Jersey State Office of the Public Defender has built a reputation as one of the best offices in the country. Mr. Krakora has recruited talented attorneys from diverse backgrounds, expanded the office’s training programs, and upgraded the agency’s technology and facilities. He has become an influential stakeholder in the NJ’s justice system on many issues, having spearheaded NJ’s pretrial release reform that eliminated monetary bail, advocated for sentencing reform on NJ.s Sentencing Commission, and directed the filing of three successful Orders to Show Cause in the Supreme Court for release of jail and prison inmates during the pandemic.

Mr. Krakora joined the NJOPD in 1986 and has held numerous positions in the agency since that time. He served as an Assistant Public Defender and Director of Capital and Special Litigation from 2002 until 2010. As Director of Capital Litigation, Mr. Krakora handled numerous death penalty cases until the abolition of the death penalty in December 2007. He served on the Death Penalty Study Commission as a strong advocate for its abolition. He spent a number of years as both a staff attorney and a manager in the Essex Region where he developed his reputation as one of the top criminal defense attorneys in New Jersey. He has gained recognition for obtaining acquittals in high profile cases. Mr. Krakora is a graduate of Princeton University and Cornell University School of Law.