Joseph J. Russo

Joseph J. Russo was appointed to the Public Defender Management position of Assistant Public Defender in July 2019. Joe also serves as the Appellate Deputy Public Defender, supervising a staff of over 70, and supervises the Conviction Integrity Unit. Prior to this appointment, Joe served as the Deputy Public Defender in the Hudson Trial Region for 7 years, and spent approximately 7 years in the Somerset and Warren Trial Regions, which included serving as the Deputy Public Defender.

Joe successfully argued State v. S.S. before the N.J. Supreme Court. He also litigated the first Frye Hearing in U.S. history involving the Child Sexual Abuse Accommodation Syndrome resulting in the gutting of CSAAS expert testimony in New Jersey. Joe recently argued and won the first case in New Jersey before the Appellate Division, State v. R.G., related to whether the State can forcibly medicate an incompetent defendant to restore competency.

The Hudson County Bar Association named Joe the 2017 Criminal Lawyer of the Year. The Public Defender has named him Attorney of the Month and appointed him to co-chair the Forensic Science Workgroup. He serves on the Board of Trustees of the Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers of New Jersey (ACDL-NJ) and is a member of the National ACDL, and the N.J. Supreme Court Model Criminal Jury Charge Committee.  Joe received his JD from Antioch School of Law, a B.A. in Sociology from Montclair State University, with a minor in social work, and completed graduate courses at Rutgers University School of Criminal Justice. He clerked for the Honorable Rufus King III in the District of Columbia Superior Court. Joe is admitted to practice law in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia.