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Margate native becomes Superior Court judge

A longtime Atlantic County criminal defense attorney was sworn in as the area’s newest judge Monday. In a ceremony attended only by family and friends, Joseph Levin became Superior Court Judge Joseph Levin.“I’m honored and humbled,” Levin said shortly before taking the oath. “I look forward to being the best judge I can be.”The Margate native is a perfect choice, those who have worked with him said.“I cannot think of a more deserving person than Joe Levin to receive such an honor,” said friend and fellow attorney James Leonard Jr. “Joe has always beensomeone I have looked up to and tried to emulate professionally and someone I admire and respect tremendously on a personal level. Joe is going to make an amazing judge.”This is something Levin has dreamed of before he even went to law school, said his wife, Kirsten Levin.Growing up in Margate, he was surrounded by great judges, she said.The son of teachers, he graduated from Atlantic City High School in 1988.Levin began clerking in San Francisco, where he graduated from the University of California’s Hastings College of Law in 1995.Later that year, he joined the public defenders office in Philadelphia.Then moved back home to become an associate with Jacobs & Barbone in Atlantic City in 2000.“He did a great job,” said attorney Ed Jacobs, calling the young attorney “smart creative and diligent.”“I believe he’ll be an even better judge than he was a lawyer,” he said. “That’s the natural progression for a guy like him.”Levin’s career has kept him in the city, where he opened his own law office in 2006. He most recently was managing partner at Levin Weinstock Levin, with his wife and defense attorney Ed Weinstock.“Joe was not only my partner, but also my mentor,” Weinstock said. “One of the first defense attorneys I met when I relocated to South Jersey, Joe was always professional, encouraging and kind. He quickly became one of my dearest friends. I could not be more proud od him on this first day of his judicial career.Levin, 50, will be assigned to the Criminal Division in Cape May County.Putting a criminal attorney on the bench in criminal court is a good move, said childhood friend and fellow attorney Darrin Lord.“I couldn’t be happier for our judicial system,” said Lord, who has known Levin since he was 5 years old.Even though Lord is two years older, he said Levin was a mentor to him starting out. He recalled help Levin gave him in a case while still at the Phildelphia Public Defenders Office.“He’s a fantastic candidate,” Lord said. “He writes well, so he’ll have well-written decisions and he’s open-minded.”

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