By order dated September 22, 2008, the New Jersey Supreme Court has publicly admonished Judge Xavier Rodriguez, the Chief Judge of the City of Passaic Municipal Court. The admonishment, the lowest level of public judicial discipline, came about as a result of the judge’s attendance at the home of the local mayor following the mayor’s arrest on charges of bribery. A photograph of the judge and several others at the residence was subsequently published in a local newspaper. The judge maintained he had come to the house only to console the mayor’s wife in a time of family crisis.
In a presentment returned by the Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct (ACJC), the conduct by the respondent judge was found to have violated several Canons of Judicial Conduct, including the prohibition on political involvement and neglecting to act in a way that would promote public confidence in the integrity in the judiciary. On the other hand, based upon the judge’s otherwise impeccable record and his expressed regret for a lack of judgment on this occasion, both the ACJC and the Supreme Court determined that only minor public discipline was needed in this case.
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