Compassion for Family Earns retired Judge a Reprimand

[10/13/09 – 10:14 am] The New Jersey Supreme Court has issued a reprimand for a retired Superior Court judge. In an order dated October 8, 2009, the Justices reprimanded retired Judge Charles Delehey for an incident where the judge conducted a brief, in-chambers conference with family members of a defendant who had a case pending before the judge. During the conference, the judge expressed compassion for the hurt the family was feeling and suggested that the plea agreement that had been offered by the State was a good one. Further, the judge stated that, although the defendant had rejected the offer, “maybe you can convince him otherwise, but if there is one thing I have learned, it is that people make decisions for their own reasons, not for mine.” The judge went on to explain, “[I]t would seem to me its in your brother’s best interest to take it because if he is convicted at a later date, even if he gets a concurrent sentence, it will be so [sic] along in his first sentence that it’ll be….the effect of it will be a consecutive sentence.” The judge then added, “Maybe you could make some sense to him.” The Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct (ACJC) considered the judge’s explanation that he made the communication to the family based upon sympathy but recommended that he be reprimanded.

Simply click to download a copy of the ACJC presentment and Supreme Court order.

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