Noriega, a Highly Accomplished Criminal Defense and Immigration Law Attorney, Would Be the First Former Public Defender to Serve on the Court
TRENTON – Governor Phil Murphy today announced his intention to nominate Michael Noriega to the New Jersey Supreme Court to fill the seat of Associate Justice Barry Albin, who reached the mandatory retirement age of 70 on July 7, 2022. The nomination will first be sent to the New Jersey State Bar Association’s Judicial and Prosecutorial Appointments Committee for approval. The Governor will then proceed with a formal nomination, subject to advice and consent in the Senate.
“I know that the individuals who are selected to serve on the New Jersey Supreme Court will shape our state for decades to come,” said Governor Murphy. “As a former public defender and one of New Jersey’s most highly respected criminal defense and immigration law attorneys, Michael Noriega will bring extensive trial experience and a history of practice across our legal system to the judiciary. 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.”
“Michael has dedicated his professional life to serving some of our most vulnerable members of society — especially immigrants with little familiarity navigating our complex legal system,” said Lieutenant Governor Sheila Oliver. “The New Jersey Supreme Court holds a sacred responsibility as the ultimate layer of protection of the rights of New Jersey residents. I know Michael will bring his unique perspective and experiences to build on that storied tradition.”
"There are no words that can fully capture the tremendous privilege of being nominated to serve on the New Jersey Supreme Court," said Michael Noriega. "Our Supreme Court has received national recognition for its intellectual rigor and forward-thinking decisions and I promise to do everything in my power to continue that long and storied tradition. I would like to thank Governor Murphy for this incredible honor, as well as my family, friends, and colleagues who have shaped my life and career. I am also deeply grateful to Senator Bramnick for his supportive words at today's announcement, and to the whole Senate for their time and consideration of my nomination."
“Michael is a person of the highest integrity. Whoever meets him comes away with a great feeling,” said Senator Jon Bramnick. “He is extremely sincere, kind, and generous. He has every quality we would want as a Supreme Court Justice.”
Noriega currently serves as a Partner at the law firm Bramnick, Rodriguez, Grabas, Arnold, & Mangan, LLC, where he has worked since 2014. He is a highly accomplished immigration and criminal defense lawyer who has fought for the rights of both documented and undocumented residents living in New Jersey, helping them navigate the complex maze of federal immigration law and its interplay with state and municipal laws. At the firm, he handles cases involving deportation defense, asylum, non-immigrant visas, Green Card applications, and Temporary Protected Status, as well as cases involving the intersection of immigration law with criminal, employment, business, and family law. Noriega also handles personal injury cases for the firm.
Prior to joining Bramnick, Rodriguez, Grabas, Arnold & Mangan, LLC, Noriega ran his own law firm, Noriega & Associates, for six years, where he practiced immigration and criminal law. During that time, he served clients in towns such as Newark, Plainfield, Paterson, Elizabeth, Jersey City, Union City, and Camden. He also provided pro bono counsel to Kids in Need of Defense, an organization that represents indigent, underage clients who have been subject to human trafficking and are facing removal proceedings.
Before starting his own law firm, Noriega served as an Assistant Deputy Public Defender in the Essex County Adult Trial Region from 2003 to 2008. During his time as a public defender, he handled hundreds of cases involving a range of criminal defense charges, and tried more than 25 jury trials. Since leaving the Office of the Public Defender, Noriega has argued over half a dozen cases before the Appellate Division and two cases before the New Jersey Supreme Court.
Noriega is licensed to practice law in New Jersey and New York, as well as the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, and the U.S. Supreme Court. He is trilingual (fluent in English, Spanish, and Portuguese) and has years of experience assisting non-English speaking clients with legal matters.
Outside of his legal practice, Noriega served as an adjunct professor at Seton Hall University School of Law for eight years. He is a member of the New Jersey State Bar Association, New Jersey Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, the Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey, and the Union County Bar Association.
Noriega currently serves as the President-elect for the Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers of New Jersey. In 2019, he was honored by the New Jersey State Bar Association as its Professional Lawyer of the Year. That same year, Noriega also received the ACLU-NJ Legal Leadership Award. In 2023, the New Jersey State Bar Association awarded him with the Distinguished Legislative Service Award.
Born in Weehawken to Peruvian immigrants and raised in Union City, Noriega is a 1995 graduate of St. Peter’s Prep, a 1999 graduate of Rutgers University with a Bachelor of Science in American Studies, and a 2002 graduate of Seton Hall University School of Law. Following law school, he served as a law clerk for the Hon. Camille M. Kenny, Judge of the Superior Court, Civil Division, in Hudson County.
Michael lives in Fanwood with his wife, Melissa, and their four daughters, Emma, Abigail, Rebecca, and Kathryn. He currently serves as the board president for the Sanar Wellness Institute, a non-profit organization in Newark that provides care and support to individuals who have suffered traumatic events of interpersonal violence.
For a high-resolution headshot of Michael, please click here.