On June 8, 2009, Joseph L. Bocchini Jr. became the first full-time prosecutor in Mercer County history to be sworn in to a second five-year term. As the county’s chief law enforcement officer, he leads the 170-member prosecutor’s office. Prior to becoming prosecutor on August 8, 2003, Mr. Bocchini served as a municipal court judge in Hamilton Township for two and a half years.
Mr. Bocchini’s professional career spans more than 30 years. From 1974 to 1975, he was an assistant Mercer County counsel and also served as municipal prosecutor for East Windsor and Washington townships. Mr. Bocchini represented the 14th District in the state’s General Assembly from 1982 to 1988 and during his tenure from 1985 to 1986, he was chairman of the Assembly Law, Public Safety & Defense Committee. He is also a former assistant counsel for the State Senate Democratic Minority.
As prosecutor, Mr. Bocchini has been at the forefront of the anti-gang initiative in Mercer County. His office has boasted consistent conviction rates over 90 percent including the conviction of high-ranking gang members. During his tenure, the Mercer County Police Academy was founded in cooperation with the county executive, the county sheriff, the Chiefs of Police Association, Mercer County Community College and the Board of Chosen Freeholders. Mr. Bocchini has spearheaded landmark investigations such as Operation Weeping Willow, the largest investigative narcotics seizure in Mercer County history.
Mr. Bocchini is a graduate of Murray State University in Kentucky and the University of Baltimore School of Law where he was a member of the Law Review staff. He was admitted to the New Jersey Bar in 1974. Before beginning his legal career, Mr. Bocchini taught for two years in the Hamilton Township School District.
Over the years, Mr. Bocchini has been the recipient of many honors for his service to the community including the Legislator of the Year award from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the Trenton Police Athletic League Outstanding Individual award and the Michael Nizolak award from the Mercer County Bar Foundation for service to the bar. He was also named Legislator of the Year by the Vietnam Veterans American Legion Post 512 of Marlton, New Jersey.
An avid outdoorsman, Mr. Bocchini is involved in numerous civic and charitable organizations. He is a long-time supporter of numerous youth sports organizations including the Steinert High School and Hamilton Post 31 baseball programs and the Nottingham Little League.
A lifelong resident of Mercer County, Mr. Bocchini was raised in Trenton’s Villa Park/Wilbur area and graduated from Trenton Central High School in 1962. He moved to Hamilton in 1974 and still resides there today.