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Past Iota Phi Theta Grand Polaris Theodore N. Stephens II Sworn in as Essex County Prosecutor

Photo Credit: A.C. Mitchell

Theodore N. Stephens II, Esq. formerly the Grand Polaris (National President) of Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc., has assumed a historic role as prosecutor in Essex County, NJ.

After more than five years as the interim Essex County Prosecutor, Stephens officially took office as the Essex County Prosecutor on Friday, Feb. 16, following a swearing-in ceremony presided over by Superior Court Judge Mark Ali. Appointed by Governor Philip D. Murphy, Stephens had been serving as acting prosecutor since Sept. 4, 2018.

Photo Credit: A.C. Mitchell

In his new capacity, Stephens serves as the chief law enforcement officer for the County, leading a department comprised of over 420 Assistant Prosecutors, investigators, and support staff. Prior to his appointment as Prosecutor, Stephens held the position of Essex County Surrogate, a role to which he was elected in 2011. As Surrogate, he presided over the County court responsible for probating wills and administering non-will estates, guardianships, and adoptions.

Stephens’ journey in public service began as Corporation Counsel for the City of East Orange. Subsequently, he served as a judge of the East Orange Municipal Court and the City of Orange Township Municipal Court for 17 years. Concurrently, while on the municipal bench, Stephens maintained a private law practice in Maplewood and served as an adjunct professor at Fairleigh Dickinson University and Essex County College in the Paralegal Studies Department.

A graduate of Glassboro State College (now Rowan University) with a B.A. in Political Science/Economics, Stephens furthered his education at Seton Hall University Law School, earning his Juris Doctor Degree in 1980.

Moreover, Essex County Prosecutor Theodore N. Stephens, II, holds a pivotal role in the formation of the Divine Nine. During his tenure as the Grand Polaris of Iota Phi Theta from 1990 to 1995, the organization made significant strides toward joining the National Pan Hellenic Council. Stephens, who became a member of the fraternity in 1975 as a charter member of his undergraduate chapter, Phi Chapter at Rowan University, continues to be an active member, now as a charter member of Phi Omega in North Jersey.

Iota Phi Theta brothers from across the state came to celebrate at his swearing in ceremony including the fraternity’s International Grand Vice Polaris Myron J. Covington.

Photo Credit: A.C. Mitchell

In assuming the role of Essex County Prosecutor, Theodore N. Stephens, II underscores his enduring commitment to public service and community empowerment. His extensive background in law, coupled with his leadership within Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc., highlights a career dedicated to both justice and fraternity. As he embarks on this new chapter, Stephens brings with him a wealth of experience and a profound understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing Essex County.