Judge Dismissed Her Buddy’s Ticket in Chambers: ACJC – In re Elias

In a formal complaint released yesterday, the Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct (ACJC) has charged that Municipal Court Judge Sybil Elias of the East Orange Municipal Court presided over a traffic case involving a close, personal friend. Prior to the beginning of the session, the friend met with the municipal prosecutor and negotiated a dismissal of her case with court costs. However, the friend then met with Judge Elias in chambers on an ex parte basis and discussed the ticket in the absence of the prosecutor. Following the discussion, the judge dismissed the ticket in chambers and did not assess the court costs, contrary to the agreement with the prosecutor.

The ACJC complaint maintains that Judge Elias should have disqualified herself from hearing her friend’s case, based upon their relationship. Moreover, by dismissing the case privately, in chambers, the judge violated the provisions of Rule 2:15-8(a)(1) and Rule 2:15-8(a)(6) as well as several canons of the Code of Judicial Conduct.

Judge Elias will be required to file an answer to the complaint and will thereafter be entitled to a full evidentiary hearing before the ACJC. The final discipline in these cases must come from the Supreme Court.

Download a copy of Elias Formal Complaint.

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