Superior Court Judge Joseph P. Donohue, who is the brother-in-law of Assemblyman Joseph Cryan, a top deputy to Union County Sheriff Ralph Froehlich and a political power broker, cannot ethically sit in judgment of Genarro Mirabella, who is the brother of Freeholder Alexander Mirabella and son of former Elizabeth Police Chief Gene Mirabella.
Donohue is reportedly scheduled to hear arguments at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 16 on whether records of a criminal investigation should be expunged so that the disgraced ex-cop can return to the public payroll and preserve his pension benefits at taxpayer expense.
Clearly the Canons of Judicial Ethics require that the case be moved out of Union County to avoid political influence and family connections that constitute the appearance of a conflict of interest.
Donohue could face serious sanctions if the state Supreme Court responds to complaints that will almost certainly be lodged if he proceeds with the matter.
Court Rules dictate that a judge must recuse himself when there is even an appearance of unethical conflicts—and in corruption-plagued Union County, the incestuous political web surrounding this case looks and smells bad enough to kick it to another jurisdiction.
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