Wertheimer Judicial Misconduct Hearing Set

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UNION COUNTY—The Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct (ACJC) will hold a hearing to consider misconduct charges against Superior Court Judge William L’E. Wertheimer on Thursday, Feb. 18, at 10:30 a.m., in the main conference room of the New Jersey Law Center, 1 Constitution Way, New Brunswick.

Wertheimer, 67, was charged with violating ethics canons by creating the impression of religious and ethnic bias with a crude remark in court he allegedly made to two lawyers.

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When attorney William Gold told Wertheimer he had to leave court early to attend a Passover seder, the judge allegedly made a comment about a pro-Nazi German-American organization that existed in the 1930s and supported Adolf Hitler.

A formal complaint was filed in the matter by the ACJC on Aug. 11 and answer was filed on Sept. 15 by Wertheimer’s attorney, Marc Wolin.

The tenured judge will not reach the mandatory requirement age of 70 until 2012, although Wertheimer has a record of past ethics infractions and has twice been sanctioned by the ACJC for misconduct.

On Dec. 19, 2001, the ACJC admonished Wertheimer for a conflict of interest after he heard motions in a case where his impartiality might reasonably be questioned.

The ACJC issued Wertheimer a letter of caution for inappropriate conduct on June 5, 2007, finding that in three instances his remarks had the potential to demonstrate bias.

In November 2005, Wertheimer told an assistant prosecutor of Nigerian descent, that most Nigerians passing through the court are in handcuffs.
Then in October 2006, Wertheimer told an assistant prosecutor that a jury included two “lower class blacks.”

Finally, in a colloquy on Oct. 10, 2006, he called the attorney of Nigerian descent a “crappy attorney” and he said that most Nigerians who come through his court are in handcuffs.

Wertheimer presides over civil cases in Elizabeth.  The complaint and answer can be found at njcourtsonline.com.


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