Courts

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 […]

Judges side with transgender man in protecting privacy of name changes

BY: - February 17, 2022

An appeals court on Wednesday ruled in favor of a transgender man who sought to seal his name change from the public record, declaring transgender people deserve privacy and protection from the harms that could arise from publicizing their name changes. Superior Court Judge Michael J. Haas, writing for a unanimous three-judge appellate panel, overturned a lower […]

N.J. Supreme Court rejects bid to halt vaccine mandate for prison guards

BY: - February 14, 2022

The state’s top court has refused to intervene and stop Gov. Phil Murphy’s vaccine mandate for state and county correctional officers, leaving unvaccinated staff two days to get a shot — or get fired. Several police unions, led by the New Jersey State Policemen’s Benevolent Association, had asked the state Supreme Court Friday for an […]

Judges uphold Murphy’s vaccine mandate for jail guards

BY: - February 11, 2022

A New Jersey appeals court Friday upheld Gov. Phil Murphy’s vaccine mandate for correctional officers in a strongly worded smackdown of the police unions that sought to overturn the order. Superior Court Judge Clarkson S. Fisher, writing for the unanimous three-judge panel, said the unions unreasonably placed their “unexplained unwillingness to be vaccinated” above “the interests […]