judge reprimanded for steamy emails

Ethics Charges Filed Against a N.J. Superior Court Judge Over Steamy E-mails to his Former Law Clerk

The Honorable Lawrence DeBello, age 51, a New Jersey Hudson County Superior Court Judge was unable to exercise any self restraint by continuing an inappropriate email relationship with his former law clerk. Judges are prohibited from using their judicial email account for personal use.

Judge DeBello was called to task by the Hudson County Assignment Judge and Trial Court Administrator; and instructed to cease and desist immediately.  Judge DeBello ignored these admonitions and continued his email communications. The judge also violated judicial guidelines in contacting the head of the Office of Law Guardian for the Northwest Region to recommend  his former clerk for a job.

Here’s my reaction. On a personal level, Judge DeBello needs help to overcome his obsession with his former law clerk. This should happen immediately. On a professional level, Judge DeBello violated a public trust. He is a Superior Court judge.  How would you feel walking into a courtroom and seeing Judge DeBello on the bench? Would you want your case decided by a judge who can’t control his own inappropriate behavior. Of course not.

Judges are properly held to the highest standard of conduct. They are the face of our system of laws. They are charged with the responsibility to administer thoughtful, impartial justice to all people who appear before them. On a positive note, very few judges violate this trust. When a judge crosses the bright line of appropriate  behavior, he is called to task.

Our first responsibility is to the justice system. But, let’s not lose sight of what this man has lost;  and give him all the help he needs to overcome his personal challenges.

What’s your reaction? Does it change the way you look at all judges? Would you remove Judge DeBello from the bench, pending the outcome of these ethics charges?

[Image courtesy of Gil Troitsa גיל טרויצה: Fast Sketch…]

Please comment. Your opinion matters

Please comment. Your opinion matters

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About Lawrence "Larry" Berezin

I retired from the private practice of law after a 35-year legal career and fight parking tickets for people like you and me. I love sharing valuable information and beating NYC parking tickets for the driving community

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