Deborah Cummis Sandlaufer, 56, of West Orange died June 3, 2016. She was born in Orange and grew up in Maplewood and South Orange before moving to West Orange in 1994.
An attorney, Ms. Sandlaufer was licensed in both New Jersey and California for more than 20 years. She served as an Assistant Prosecutor in Union County from 1994 to 1998, where she prosecuted more than 1,000 domestic violence cases, including the groundbreaking case State v. Washington, where the court accepted her argument that domestic violence restraining orders were still valid even when the parties had reconciled. From 2003 through 2007 she served as a Deputy Attorney General for the State of New Jersey, largely prosecuting hate crimes and Medicaid fraud. Her work included writing the Prosecutor’s Manual for hate crimes as well as training materials for police and community groups. Her final years in practice included criminal defense, civil litigation, and representing children in the foster care system as a law guardian. She also acted as a foster parent for New Jersey children.
She graduated from Columbia High School in Maplewood in 1977 and Brandeis University in 1980 with a bachelor of arts in English and American literature. She earned her master’s degree at night from New York University in 1988 in Liberal Studies and Interdisciplinary Thought. In 1991 she earned her JD from Seton Hall University.
She worked in sales and marketing in the entertainment industry in New York for several years, including for ABC Radio Networks on the 1984 summer and winter Olympics.
Diagnosed with ovarian cancer four years ago, she educated many about the disease through her cancer blog, “Guess I don’t have to color my hair anymore.” She also wrote a blog post for CNN, and acted as a test subject in medical trials to improve overall survival and treatment options for other women.
She also wrote a travel blog, “J’adore France”; a book of poetry, Early and Late; and a satire of motherhood, The Mommy Handbook.
Predeceased by her father, Clive S. Cummis, she is survived by her son, Samuel B. Klein; her mother, Ann Denburg Cummis of West Orange; and three sisters, Jessica of Charlotte, NC, Andrea of Roseland, and Cynthia of Bethesda, Md.
Services were held June 6 with arrangements by J.L. Apter Memorial Chapels of Dover. Memorial contributions may be made to Carol G. Simon Cancer Center at Morristown Memorial Hospital.