State judge who told parties he had ‘no expertise in family law’ faces discipline

BY: - April 20, 2022

A Camden County Superior Court judge is in hot water over a temporary assignment in the vicinage’s family division. The Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct filed a formal complaint Tuesday against Judge Michael J. Kassel, saying he violated court rules and impinged on the judiciary’s integrity by failing to familiarize himself with family law, complaining about […]

Solving N.J.’s judicial vacancy problem would be giant task for Governor Murphy

BY: - April 19, 2022

Judiciary leaders have warned about an overtaxed stable of judges as they work to clear a staggering case backlog, but if Gov. Phil Murphy wants to give the courts a full cohort this year, he’d have to get more judges confirmed than he has since taking office in January 2018. Seventy-three seats on the Superior […]

The unwritten Senate rule blocking Governor Murphy’s nominees

BY: - April 13, 2022

The article is published through a collaboration between Bolts and the New Jersey Monitor. An unwritten rule that gives state senators virtual veto powers over gubernatorial nominees has stalled the confirmation for months or longer of top state officials nominated by Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy. Tahesha Way was renominated as secretary of state in January […]

Censure, disqualification recommended for ex-judge accused of groping woman

BY: - April 11, 2022

A state panel on Friday recommended a retired municipal judge accused of groping a woman in his law office be censured and permanently disqualified from judicial office. The Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct also referred ex-Judge Nino F. Falcone to the state Supreme Court’s Office of Attorney Ethics for possible discipline, the panel said Friday. […]

Immigration warning not needed in police questioning of undocumented suspects, court rules

BY: - April 8, 2022

Police do not have to — and should not — advise crime suspects that their cooperation could impact their immigration status, a New Jersey appeals court ruled Friday. Superior Court Judge Richard J. Geiger, writing for a three-judge appellate panel, agreed with a lower court’s ruling that a Miranda warning, in which police advise suspects of their rights to […]

Authorities don’t need wiretap order to get some Facebook messages, court rules

BY: - April 7, 2022

An appellate panel ruled this week authorities do not need a wiretap order to obtain some Facebook messages and communications, overturning the rulings of two lower court judges. But the court handed the social media giant a limited win after it found warrants drafted in two drug cases failed to comply with time restrictions imposed […]

Appeals court reinstates bribery indictment of ex-assemblyman

BY: - April 4, 2022

A New Jersey appellate court on Monday reinstated the dismissed indictment of former Assemblyman Jason O’Donnell, who state investigators say took a $10,000 cash bribe from an attorney during his unsuccessful 2018 bid for Bayonne mayor. Superior Court Judge Clarkson Fisher, writing for a three-judge panel, rejected O’Donnell’s argument that he can’t be charged with […]

Fifth confirmed federal judge could help end ‘judicial emergency’ in N.J.

BY: - April 1, 2022

The U.S. Senate on Thursday confirmed Cherry Hill attorney Georgette F. Castner as a federal judge in the District of New Jersey, the latest in a flurry of confirmations intended to eliminate longstanding vacancies that caused a “judicial emergency.” Castner was confirmed by a 52-47 vote. She’s the fifth Biden nominee since last May to […]

Police do not have an automatic right to qualified immunity, court rules

BY: - March 30, 2022

The New Jersey Supreme Court unanimously agreed Wednesday to allow a wrongful arrest and imprisonment lawsuit against two Newark police officers to proceed, rejecting the city’s repeated efforts to shield the officers from liability. Reformers welcomed the ruling as a small step toward advancing their battle to end qualified immunity, a legal defense municipalities use […]

Second hitman pleads guilty in N.J. political murder-for-hire plot

BY: - March 24, 2022

The second hitman charged in the 2014 murder-for-hire scheme that involves a New Jersey political operative pleaded guilty in federal court Thursday. George John Bratsenis, 73, appeared by video from a federal prison in Brooklyn to answer charges that he and a second hitman stabbed Michael Galdieri to death in his Jersey City apartment at the […]

Court ruling on police records a win for transparency, advocates say

BY: - March 14, 2022

Public officials must release police disciplinary records in New Jersey when the public’s interest in them outweighs an officer’s confidentiality concerns, the state’s top court ruled Monday. Reformers, who have been fighting to open police records for years to increase accountability for misconduct, hailed the decision as a significant win for transparency. New Jersey Supreme […]

N.J.’s top court delivers transparency win in records fight over jail guard’s retirement

BY: - March 7, 2022

The New Jersey Supreme Court has ordered Cumberland County to publicly release a settlement agreement that allowed a correctional officer to retire in good standing, despite his admission he had “inappropriate relationships” with two inmates and brought contraband into the county jail. Monday’s ruling will protect public access to all settlement agreements involving public agencies, advocates […]