WILENTZ, ROBERT N. (1927–1996), U.S. jurist. Born in Perth Amboy, New Jersey, Wilentz attended Princeton University, received his B.A. from Harvard, and his law degree from Columbia. He joined his father's law firm in Perth Amboy and practiced from 1952 to 1979. He was elected to the New Jersey legislature in 1966 and served until 1969. He was in the U.S. Navy in World War II. In 1979 he was appointed chief justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court for a seven-year term, and his appointment was made permanent in 1986. Under his administration, the New Jersey Supreme Court achieved a reputation for not being reluctant to move creatively towards adjudication in areas previously untouched by judicial action.
DAVID WILENTZ (1896–1988), father of the chief justice, was the attorney general of New Jersey who prosecuted Bruno Richard Hauptmann in 1932 for the kidnapping-murder of the twenty-month-old son of Charles A. Lindbergh. In 1919 he founded the law firm Wilentz, Goldman, and Spitzer, which grew to become the largest law firm in Central New Jersey.