Judge’s Nazi Joke Stokes Ethics Complaint

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STATE—The state Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct has accused Union County Superior Court Judge William L’E. Wertheimer of improper behavior for the third time, after he allegedly made a joke referring to an organization that supported Nazi Germany during the 1930s.

Wertheimer has received two prior punishments from the state judicial conduct committee. In 2001 he received a letter of admonishment for not recusing himself from a case where he had a conflict and in 2007 a letter of caution for making racially insensitive comments to an attorney.

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In 2007, the committee found, he told a prosecutor after a hung jury she might have gotten a guilty verdict if she hadn’t let two “lower-class blacks” on the jury.

Also in 2007, he told a prosecutor of Nigerian descent he was a “crappy attorney” and that most Nigerians who come into the court are in handcuffs.
Wertheimer will have a chance to respond to the latest complaint before the committee decides on any disciplinary measures.

Wertheimer was appointed to the bench in 1984 by former Gov. Tom Kean and reappointed to a tenured term in 1991 by former Gov. Jim Florio. He must step down when he turns 70 in 2012.


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