Municipal Court Judge Censured for Improper Ticket Dismissal – In re Elias

By order dated June 16, 2008, the New Jersey Supreme Court has censured Municipal Court Judge Sybil Elias. The Court’s disciplinary order was based upon a report from the Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct (ACJC) that was issued at the end of May. In its report, the ACJC found that the judge had violated the Canons of Judicial Conduct and the Rules of Court by engaging in an improper ex parte conference with a litigant in her chambers. The litigant, who was an extremely close friend of the judge, was the defendant in a minor traffic case scheduled in the judge’s court. After discussing the case with the judge in chambers, the litigant was permitted to leave the court house while the judge dismissed the ticket without costs off the record. Although the ticket was to have been dismissed in any event on motion of the state, the municipal prosecutor did not participate in the discussions in chambers or in the actions of the judge of dismissing the ticket off the record and excusing the defendant from attending court.

Download a copy of ACJC Presentment in In re Elias.

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