Judges are supposed to be neutral, detached and wholly impartial. Sometimes, they are not:
Former Mount Laurel judge reprimanded by N.J. Supreme Court
A former Mount Laurel municipal judge, who still presides over courts in Delanco and Palmyra, was reprimanded Friday by the New Jersey Supreme Court for being partial to the state in a 2008 drunken driving case.
Judge Gregory R. McCloskey was accused in an ethics complaint of having a conversation with a municipal prosecutor without the defense counsel present, and directing the prosecutor to ask questions of a witness that were critical of the defense.
The conversation, known as ex-parte communication, was captured on the record and discovered after McCloskey found the defendant guilty.
In the public reprimand published Friday, the Supreme Court found that the judge violated four canons of the code of judicial conduct, guidelines that govern the behavior of judges and attorneys.
“Such conduct greatly contravened (McCloskey’s) obligation to perform the duties of his judicial office impartially and fairly,” wrote retired Supreme Court Justice Alan B. Handler, who chaired the committee that recommended the reprimand in December. “We are concerned about the potential damage done to the judiciary’s reputation as a body of integrity and impartiality as a result of (McCloskey’s) actions.”
As a veteran judge, Justice McCloskey should have known better. Impartiality is one of tenets of a fair judicial system and these actions are in clear violation of this. In this case he was caught, but who knows for sure what’s going on in courts all across America?
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