Ted Bertucio -- energetic, sharp-edged and effective -- is part of the one-two punch of criminal-defense lawyers at the Eatontown firm of Hobbie, Corrigan, Bertucio & Tashjy. As with his partner Norman Hobbie, Bertucio has built a standout reputation as a criminal-defense trial attorney in central New Jersey, from Monmouth County to Mercer County, where he launched his career. Indeed, the 46-year-old New Jersey native has one of the strongest trial-law backgrounds among attorneys today. He spent 10 years in the Prosecutor's Office in Mercer County, where he handled scores of major prosecutions, from Capital murder cases, to major career criminal matters, and significant white collar and environmental law prosecutions. For Bertucio, the eldest of five children who always loved competitive sports growing up in Union County, N.J., trial law seemed suited to him. "I thought it fit my personality - I always had a competitive and aggressive side." Always industrious, he worked night jobs to get himself through college and law school. He attended the University of Maryland and went on to Rutgers Camden Law School, where he found appealing criminal law's demand for quick and insightful thinking. Bertucio clerked for Union County Superior Court Judge Lawrence Weiss, who was the presiding judge of the criminal part, where he got his first taste of criminal trials. In 1984 Bertucio joined the Mercer County Prosecutor's Office, where he served in several capacities, including as lead trial counsel in numerous capital and non-capital murder cases and chief of the Career Criminal, White Collar Crimes and Environment Prosecutions Unit. Preparing for private practice, Bertucio in 1995 earned a L.L.M. degree in trial advocacy from Temple University Law School, graduating with highest honors and in '95 joined Hobbie at a major Monmouth County law firm. Four years ago Hobbie, Bertucio and the rest of the personal injury/criminal-defense department left that firm on very amicable terms and launched their Eatontown firm. "It's been the greatest four years of my life; I'm part of a very energetic can-do group of attorneys," says Bertucio, who today handles a range of criminal cases, including homicides, white-collar prosecutions, major drug offenses, sexual offenses, computer crimes, and numerous matters in defense of law enforcement officers. Among his many highlights: Bertucio helped win the acquittal of an off-duty cop accused of assault in 2001 and recently gained acquittals in matters involving sexual assault and aggravated assault. Bertucio, trim and fit, stays in shape by cycling and keeping up with his three children; he and his family live in Millstone in West Monmouth.