New Public Defender Joins Team at New Brunswick Municipal Court

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—James Harding has joined Richard Vietch as one of two municipal public defenders, after being approved by City Council on January 16. 

Harding, a resident of Hillsborough Township who opened his own law practice on Morris Street in 2012, replaces the late James Rollyson, who passed away in 2015.

Public defenders are not paid very much, and the work, representing the poor who can't afford their own lawyer, is not easy.

According to public records, Vietch made $14,363 annual salary as of January 2015.

"I lived in the city for many years and I'm honroed to come back and work for the people there," said Harding in a phone interview with New Brunswick Today.

Born and raised in New Brunswick, Harding is the son former Judge J. Norris Harding.  He attended St. Peter's Elementary School in New Brunswick and St. Joseph's High School in Metuchen, graduating in 1991.

His undergraduate studies were at Loyola University Maryland (1995), where he majored in political science.  He went the Widener University School of Law in Wilmington, Delaware, finishing in 1998.

After a clerkship in Middlesex County, Harding served as a Calendar Coordinator in the Civil Division and an Adminstrative Specialist and Team Leader in the Civil Division-Special Civil Part.

In 2006, Mr. Harding left the Judiciary to accept a position as an associate at the Warren-based law firm of DiFrancesco, Bateman, Coley, Yospin, Kunzman, Davis, Lehrer, and Flaum, P.C.

During his time at the politically-connected firm, Harding served as the Assistant Township Attorney for the Township of Edison, where he also represented the public library and the Fair Rent Control Board.

He has served as a public defender in Piscataway since 2009, and played the same role in South Bound Brook from 2010 to 2012.

Editor at New Brunswick Today | 732-993-9697 |

Charlie is the founder and editor of New Brunswick Today, and the winner of the Awbrey Award for Community-Oriented Local Journalism. He is a proud Rutgers University journalism graduate and a community organizer, and was an independent candidate for Mayor of New Brunswick in 2018.