TRENTON — The New Jersey Senate on Monday confirmed Scott A. Coffina, a high-ranking lawyer in Gov. Christie's office, to be Burlington County's next prosecutor.
Coffina, 49, of Marlton, is Christie's senior deputy chief counsel, the number-two lawyer in the governor's office. He will replace Robert D. Bernardi, prosecutor since 1999. Bernardi's most recent five-year term expired in December.
Coffina is a veteran of the George W. Bush and Reagan administrations, and also served as an assistant U.S. attorney in Philadelphia from 1997 to 2001.
"The job of a prosecutor is to seek justice, not merely to bring cases," Coffina, a Republican, told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday.
The Senate is controlled by Democrats.
Working in Washington and Trenton, Coffina said, he has "maintained a steady hand in heavily scrutinized environments where there was no room for error."
He identified five priorities he would address as prosecutor: a "rash of violent crime" in certain areas; the opioid epidemic; developing and recruiting talent for the Prosecutor's Office; protecting witnesses and victims; and implementing the 2014 criminal justice overhaul that changed New Jersey's bail laws.
Coffina joined the Christie administration in the governor's second term after working as a white-collar criminal defense lawyer for Drinker Biddle Reath LLP.
Earlier this month, Christie announced that chief counsel Thomas Scrivo, Coffina's superior, would return to private practice.